Lose Your Opinions, Start Acting Instead - Common Sense Living Newsletter
Common Sense Living India

Lose Your Opinions, Start Acting Instead

Nov 22, 2016

Lose Your Opinions, Start Acting Instead 

I attended a series of discussions and seminars last week... These were on topics as far ranging as the harmful effects of growing air pollution in Mumbai, to whether India and Pakistan can ever be friends, to how citizens can help municipal schools function better, to what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and even one on the changing definition of feminism.

Whew! That was quite some mental stimulation... And all these talks were deeply invigorating and educative. Every speaker had a distinct view and every audience had a unique set of responses and questions.

After listening to so many voices, one realization struck me: We can no longer be a race of people who only have opinions, we have to soon start finding ideas and solutions to the problems we are facing...and we have to start finding them quickly...

Whether it's the problem of low-functioning lungs, or schools that lack skill development programs, or redefining the term feminism, or tackling hostility between two nations, each problem needs a clear manifesto - a set of bullet points stating what needs to be done, how, by whom and by when.

The only way to address change is by actually changing. And this needs a plan of action and then the ability to take steps toward that action... As conscious responsible citizens of different countries and the world at large, we each must act... An opinion by itself is not going to suffice anymore...

We also need solution providers, those who immerse themselves in the problem and come up with unique and innovative ways of tackling it. And that's probably the reason why we are witnessing an age of innovators, entrepreneurs and creatives who are experimenting like never before.

This brings me to the highlight of my last week - a play by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour titled White Rabbit Red Rabbit which was narrated and enacted by director Anurag Kashyap at the Tata Litfest in Mumbai. The playwright wrote this piece at a time when he was prohibited from leaving his native Iran as he had objected to taking part in the military service mandatory for all Iranian men.

Trapped in his country, Soleimanpour's creative mind found a solution to connect with the world through theatre. This led him to write a revolutionary play which broke all rules - a play that needs no sets, where the audience can keep their cellphones on, and where the actor comes completely unprepared, and there's a new actor who performs it each time... Because the actor here is purely a 'medium' for the playwright's message.

During the play, the audience receives various instructions, making it interactive and engaging. They can also click pictures of the performance and email them to Soleimanpour at that moment itself. Through these techniques, the audience constantly feels Soleimanpour's presence, even though they don't know where he is, and in what state - dead or alive - at that point in time.

He wrote the play in 2010 at a time when he was unable to leave his country... Several years later, a free man, Soleimanpour witnessed the play for himself in Mumbai.

For me the underlying message he drove home was to urge people to act - act when you are called upon to act, act when we don't know the script, and act not just to keep old traditions and systems alive, but to question them to make a better tomorrow.

Thus, more than anything, today's problems don't just need solution providers, they need doers - people who are willing to take the stage without knowing what it holds in store for them. We need people who are willing to try out something new, fail at it, and then get up and dust themselves off again... Those who can take bold and courageous steps for change and transformation...

As an actor, you may fumble on your words, miss a few lines and connect, or not connect, with your audience. But till you don't decide to take that first step and get onto the stage, you will not realise what the task involves.

I'm taking that first step of change today, I'm moving from being only a writer to getting my hands dirty as an entrepreneur and change agent once again. Common Sense Living has given you readers plenty of ideas to ponder on for a long time... We've tried not to give you just opinions but tools to help you think differently and audaciously too.

The time has come now to go beyond being wordsmiths to creating mini revolutions of our own. As I set out on a new path of being a change agent, I take this opportunity to thank you for all the appreciation and love you've shown over the last few years. Your comments and encouragement have helped me push my boundaries as a writer and a person.

Of course I continue being a writer, as it has become second skin... And of course I hope that you will always read me, wherever I may be... you might even catch a glimpse of my writing on Equitymaster, but for now it's time for me to bid adieu... To take a bow and leave this stage of words, to write a new story for a new life. Goodbye dear reader!

Image Source: Sheikoevgeniya/Shutterstock


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9 Responses to "Lose Your Opinions, Start Acting Instead"

Col S S Sahrawat

02 Jun, 2017

Sure of getting exciting news from the new venture that great motivator Riitika undertakes. Grateful for your elevating thoughts.

Hiten kapadia

27 Nov, 2016

Oh my god ....that is so shocking....always looked forward to articles coming from you as they were always so interesting and gave good insights to various topics written by you.....change is anyways inevitable  and so it's time for you to move on I guess ....a big loss to common sense living I suppose but wish you all the best for your future endeavors.

Like (1)


24 Nov, 2016

What??? no..... Really loved reading your articles.. Anyway change is inevitable and needed !! This is the first time I am commenting on your article and on your last one !!! ??? I hope not... Would love to meet / speak to you sometime when our paths crossed... Wish you all the best for your future endeavours.. Good luck Ritika !!

Like (1)

Alok Kumar Jha

23 Nov, 2016

Thank you.  Appreciated all through your writings and memoirs.  Your spiritual leaning is what gives them special charm.  My heartfelt wishes - may you succeed in all your future endeavors.  Hope to get some more write-ups from wherever you intend to go and ACT.  You write really good.

Like (1)

keerthi apparao

23 Nov, 2016

This is really a great speech. I like it very much. Thanks to Ritika Bajaj. We have to act without knowing the response of the audience, without knowing the script, without knowing the result . As an actor, you may fumble on your words, miss a few lines and connect, or not connect, with your audience. But till you don't decide to take that first step and get onto the stage, you will not realise what the task involves. Really wonderful words. We have to act. . . act . . . act.. Life is like a stage where we have to play our roles whether it is good or bad. But we struggle to make it good. Once again thank you.

Like (1)

Nazir Alibhai

22 Nov, 2016

Hello Ritika - ever I was introduced to Common Sense Living I have enjoyed all the articles I have read  it is creativity at its best.  Thank you for sharing your wit and wisdom.  I will continue to read this newsletter everytime I get something but will miss yours in future  Good luck in your future endeavours

Like (3)

Chittranjan Bhatia

22 Nov, 2016

Wishing you all the best, and success as a "change agent". Please keep sharing your experiences and frustrations. How you are going to quantitatively measure the change? The real outcome of your efforts.

Like (1)


22 Nov, 2016

Thank you Ritika for this inspiring article. I can say I have been following your articles on entrepreneurship. I am going to miss those practical ideas that came out from your writings, they were quite beneficial to me, as an entrepreneur. Navigating into this world of business was getting clearer from your advice. Thanks Ritika, wish you the best. God bless you...

Like (1)

Rajan K Thalappilly

22 Nov, 2016

A good article.Thanks

Like (1)

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