The Inspiration Next Door

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At the New Year party 10 days ago, a bunch of us decided to warm up with a game titled “Looking Back”. Emotions ran high, albeit in a good way, and the room echoed with laughter and good-natured ribbing as we answered fun questions like:

“Best song of the year”
“Hardest you laughed last year”
“Worst video of the year”
“Most embarrassing moment”

And then there were the introspective ones:

“Your best holiday memory”
“The happiest moment of the year gone by”
“Your greatest achievement”

Among these was a question that has prompted me to look carefully at the people in my life, the names stored in my phone book, the ‘friends’ in my social media. That question was…

“Person who inspired you the most”

Does ‘inspirational’ have to be specific?

I’m sure almost everyone has written an essay or two on ‘The Most Inspiring Person’ during their school days; pages have been filled in praises of dignitaries, world leaders, sports stars or actors.

Growing up, my idea of ‘inspiring people’ would keep changing. But it was apparently not a good thing. I was called flippant and indecisive for the indecisiveness. That criticism stayed with me and until recently, stopped me from being vocal about choices.

Sometimes I even wondered if there is a criterion for ‘inspiring people’. Was it only the rich, famous, powerful or super-intelligent who were inspirational?

I could laugh at my naiveté. Because over a decade later, I say it was not just one person that motivated me. I have been inspired in various ways by several people.

And none of them is rich, famous, powerful, etc. They are the little girl next door, a childhood friend, a book club member, a former co-worker or the woman whose life unfolded before my eyes through an Instagram account. My ‘inspirations’ are the blue-eyed boy from the corporate office who turned publishing expert, a book club of people of different nationalities, a hardcore non-vegetarian turned vegan, an ardent traveller, an architect turned food-stylist and photographer or the architect who took a sabbatical to learn a language and wrote a play in the newly-learned language!

At first glance, there is nothing special about them. But each of them, in their own way, has created a different story with grit, determination, dedication, sense of humour, patience, courage, assertiveness, creativity and passion. They are not path-breakers, but for me, they are the #bomb.

I’ve always wanted to share stories of people like you and me. From The Corner Table is my space to do just this.