Finding life at the edge

Megan Drury recounts how Hrithik’s story motivated her to craft a life true to herself.

 

I first encountered Hrithik in 2012 when my boyfriend at the time suggested that we go see Agneepath in the theater. When we arrived, the theater was packed, so we had to take our seats in the second row, directly under the massive screen. I had no idea what this movie was about, so I waited patiently as the opening credits rolled.  An hour later, I was a sobbing mess.

Agneepath

Agneepath, we all know, it’s pure revenge. That’s the whole heart and meat of it, there’s nothing else. When I sat down in that theater, I was struggling with my own revenge story of sorts. I had just discovered that my loved one had betrayed me, and I couldn’t decide how to work with that knowledge. Stay or go? Yell and accuse, or extend compassion and forgive? Something about Vijay’s struggle to project an image as a strong man who betrays no feeling, juxtaposed with a face that shows every ripple of emotion, resonated with me, and I broke down crying.

A few minutes later, I looked over at my boyfriend, and he had put his feet up on the seat in front of him, was curled over in the fetal position, hand pressed to forehead, and he was sobbing.  “Why are you crying?” I asked, thinking maybe he was feeling some remorse for how he’d hurt me.

“I…have…no…daddy!”  He almost choked on the words.  He was that desperate with grief.  He was instantly transported back to that three-year-old baby whose daddy went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back.

And that’s the genius of Hrithik.  It’s his performance that has that power, that is vibrating at all of these different frequencies, that draws people into a deeper emotional experience of themselves, regardless of whatever private sorrows they may be nursing.

My relationship didn’t last, and the year that followed was a lot of darkness and confusion.  When you’ve lived so long as one half to a whole, it’s a bit of an earth shock to realize that now you have only your own internal compass to guide you. Maybe it’s been years since you had a sense of your own true north. Maybe you never had it to begin with. So it takes a lot of bravery, a lot of patience, and a little playfulness to begin to know yourself again.

I gained a lot of weight that year, and the year that followed. I tried to rush into relationships, only to be hurt again. I finally found some professional success, but my job at an investment bank did little to feed my soul.  I wasn’t happy.

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Then Bang Bang was released.  I don’t know what compelled me to see it – I certainly hadn’t been a diehard Hrithik fan in the intervening years. But I know I had another transformative experience, this time every bit as life-affirming as the previous experience was heart-wrenching.  There’s something about the character of Rajveer – he’s like a promise, like if you could just believe in your own possibility, if you could just be brave and start, start moving toward something, then you too might find that such a person lives within you.

I don’t know why I chose to believe in that promise. I guess I was just curious. Like, what if? I walked out of that theater thinking, what if I really just lived the life I wanted?  What if I jumped off the ledge without knowing how or whether I’d land in one piece?

So I closed my eyes and I jumped.  I quit my job at the investment bank. I tracked down an entrepreneur I’d always wanted to work with.  He had just sold one company and was looking to start another, but was looking for an idea. What does the world need?

What if there was an app that let you catch bad guys?

That’s how Trustify was born.  We let you hire a private investigator on demand, by the hour, confidentially and at low cost. Most of our work is protecting women and children, or tracking down criminals, or reuniting families. Somehow I’ve stumbled into this life where I literally get to be a superhero every day.

workout

I’m not going to lie, Hrithik’s body has been every bit as much an inspiration as his acting. I started working out. I lost the weight. I’d always wanted to dance, so one day I signed up for pole dance classes at a local studio. Now my dance is central to helping me express myself and grow stronger in my body and my soul.

As I felt my mind grow sharper and my body more powerful, I realized that I was still missing one piece to complete the entire puzzle. I needed to use this new vitality to help bring hope to my community. So I founded two non-profits – Get It Girl! Workshop, which trains women in the art of salary negotiation, and Sprouts ‘n’ Shouts, where we teach kids and families in low-income neighborhoods how to cook healthy meals and provide fun interactive fitness classes for all.  My teaching days are my favorite. I am fortunate to have work that enriches my soul, but it’s the days when I take no profit at all that I end up the wealthiest.

I had no idea that a community of Hrithikians even existed, but a few weeks ago I joined Twitter with the thought that it would be a good way to promote my charities.  On a whim, I decided to follow @iHrithik and found the @HrithikRules fan club.  And so the circle closes.

You know, most of us have been touched by the words of another.  And for 99.999% of us, that person who has touched you is some sort of religious leader or maybe a poet, is no longer alive, has been gone for maybe hundreds or even thousands of years. So if you’re fortunate enough to be one of the 0.001% who has found some light in the words of a person who still wakes up every day, has breakfast, laughs and cries, then I think you almost owe it to the universe to realize your great good fortune and use it for good.  And if that person has a life that is dedicated to telling you stories that put you in deeper connection with human experience, then really, what are you waiting for? All you have to do is open your heart, allow yourself to be moved, and act.  So I guess you could say I think of “fan” as an action verb.

My life today is very different from that girl who cried in a dark movie theater. Every moment, from waking to sleep, is devoted to living on the edge of what I believe is possible. Every thought is trying to reach a higher height or a deeper truth. It’s a lot to juggle, but the juggle is a sort of dance too, and I think if I weren’t buried so deeply into so many projects, I wouldn’t feel so much joy.  It’s a constant source of wonder to me that I was able to push the needle on my own life. I hope I can always live every moment on the edge of what is possible.  For giving me the courage to take that first step, I have only one person to thank.

Thank you, Hrithik.

Contributed by : Megan (https://twitter.com/HappyDance)

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