“In my small town of Gwalior, the only two options children had were to become engineers or doctors — no one understood that I didn’t want to be either. I had this craving for something more but I could never explain what it was. So at 16, I decided to run away.
But before I did, I went to my dad — and instead of stopping me, he handed me a 100 Rupee note and left me to go live my life. I caught the first train to Delhi — I had no contacts, no valuables, and my only objective was to find my next meal. So I went to a mess and offered to serve food there in exchange for a roof — that’s where I slept for the first few weeks.
Eventually, I got a job at a call center and I could finally afford to get my own room — my salary was 4400 Rupees. I paid 2300 Rupees for rent, got a McDonalds strawberry milkshake for 60 Rupees, and a Jovan Musk perfume for 120 Rupees. I had some really tough days, but I was still happy. I didn’t want to go back home — I wanted to keep exploring and find my purpose.
I went from job to job — I sold DVDs, worked as a DJ’s Assistant and saved up enough money to move to Bombay in 2006 with my ex. I wanted to experience as much as possible, so when I heard about an acting audition — I didn’t think too much and just went! I ended up in the wrong audition room and somehow managed to get a role in a Telugu film — finally, I found it! In cinema you can switch off your mind from the outside world — and I loved it.
That’s how randomly it all began!
Today, people who used to judge me in Gwalior, call me up and say ‘Harshu beta, humein toh pehle hi pata tha.’ I’m not angry with them — I respect their opinions and try to forgive, forget and move on. But this is what I’ve learned — Stop listening to what others say.
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The advice others give you, comes from their stories — they don’t know yours! They don’t know your dreams, hopes, and capabilities. For them, everything is wrong – running away to chase your dreams, living with your ex, becoming an actor. But, ‘kuch toh log kahenge, logo ka kaam hai kehna.’ So shut them out and believe in YOUR story — it’s the only one YOU can write.”