These days, I see numerous young achievers finding success in distinct fields. I have come across many articles covering ‘Youngest Digital Marketers,’ ‘Youngest Sarpanch,’ ‘Youngest Environmentalist,’ Forbes 30 Under 30 Nominees, and they have flooded Social Media Platforms. The terms ‘first,’ ‘youngest,’ ‘best-selling,’ and ‘inspiring story’ are omnipresent.
Whether you’re an engineer, a dropout, struggling to find a job, an investor, or a poet, I am sure you all may have had an incredible journey, and I have nothing but respect for you. You all inspire me. Keep hustling, and chase your dreams.
However, take this article as a word of caution for everyone who found success at a relatively young age.
I have been a writer, a storyteller all my life. I started at the tender age of 17, alone, a little lost yet ambitious. I took up electronics engineering because of my affinity towards science, but things started to change quickly once I realized I am not made for it! I dropped out from engineering after failing, and life began!
I took a pen and a paper, and my journey as a writer started. I published my debut novel at the age of 17; I wrote around eleven more books, handled a few columns, scripted a couple of shows working as a scriptwriter for Mystic Wanderer Innovative Media who were producing shows for major travel networks, spoke at numerous guest lecture forums, taught communication skills, produced a feature film Nadi ki Beti- Sundari which was sold to MX Player, and now I run an entrepreneurship platform, NYK Daily.
This journey seems inspiring, right? But let’s go to the specifics and understand the pain.
Around eleven years ago, I was one Novel old, and things were bright and promising. I was confused about what to do next, so I decided to perhaps write for different platforms. My first work as a writer was writing a short story for Underground Magazine, a U.S.-based platform for fiction writers.
The media covered me as a young author/columnist.
Things have changed drastically for me since then.
After the word of an 18-year old young author spread, I started getting surrounded by numerous agencies, NGOs, award-presenting bureaus, and media platforms. Every month I’d receive emails from award-presenting agencies and other event management startups, who would send me a nomination letter. I would jump out of my seat, feel privileged and wait for the results.
It was then when I won my Global Indian Award from Nagpur First, Genius Indian of the Year from Genius Foundation, Rashtriya Gaurav Award from Golden Era at an event which happened at Delhi’s Press Club and American Literary Honor.
Later, since I was making decent money via my ‘script writing’ and ‘ghost screenplay writing’ ventures, and I used that money to produce a Hindi Feature Film at 20.
Next, I received a call and an official invitee to be presented with an honorary Ph.D. after being branded the ‘youngest Bollywood Film Producer.’ I was shocked, and I embraced everything with open arms. I was also ‘nominated’ for Padma Shri, and those things became an add-on in the articles that covered my books & businesses.
I spoke at TED(x) Platforms due to my author profile, and I was also chosen to create a freelancing syllabus for a few institutes. Am I bragging about the achievements here?
No, everything was cursed.
The great fall of morale and mental health started in 2016 when one of the articles highlighting my achievement from a media platform went viral. It had my fat face on it with a double chin, and the comment section included hundreds of people trolling me for looking older than what was claimed. In the next two years that followed, I’d be subjected to interrogation, cross-examination, and there would be people questioning the ‘awards’ I won or the ‘movie I produced.’ The movie took much time to release, and everyone thought it is over for me.
I felt it was Me Vs. the world, and I was forced to prove my steps every possible day. It felt like a bunch of unknown assassins trying hard to slaughter me.
I was subjected to apparent blackmail, accusations, abuses, and whatnot. People would reach my Facebook/Twitter inbox, accuse me of falsifying ‘awards,’ and block me without giving me a chance to respond. Although time and again, I’ve clarified everything, ignored the trolls, and even in this article above, I’ve mentioned the agencies/award-presenting firm’s name, I would still be questioned over and over and again and again.
A few ‘press releases’ given by PR agencies when I was 19-20 had called me ‘World’s First Literary All-rounder,’ ‘The Man of Letters,’ and some other tags. Those tags became the joke of the town, and I feel pained even writing about this.
This silenced me. The young achiever at 18-22 was now a silent spectator. It felt like life had ended for me. I stopped going out and giving public speeches. I would not respond to emails nominating me for awards. I stopped writing new books. I stopped chasing distributors and reading those trolls on social media platforms; I stopped getting up from bed. The same social media platforms that helped me sell books and reach a wider audience became a tumor.
That’s when I started mentoring writers’ via my Writers’ Rescue Center initiative.
I picked up anyone and everyone who felt directionless in life, and I believe ‘writing’ can save everyone. Mentoring people became my favorite thing to do, and I would spend hours trying to help a lost soul. There are many before-to-after stories from writers’ rescue center that is available on google.
I started maintaining columns on big and small news platforms, giving my opinions via different articles, and sharing my heart out. This was perhaps the first time in my life that I took concrete steps in presenting whatever little knowledge I acquired in life. This is when, for the first time, I was not someone who was perceived as someone who was winning awards, but someone who is trying to add value to others via mentorship and writing articles, stories, and poetry for people to read free of cost on my columns. No writer went back without a story to tell, and there are many heartfelt Writers’ Rescue Center stories. I fell in love with my co-founder, Arushi Sana, and I was not a lone wolf disguised as a crying puppy anymore.
Finally, I felt I have finally started making friends in my life.
This is the message I have for young achievers. Whether you are the best dancer in town, a promising cricketer, or a world-renowned writer, your achievements will attract haters. You would be hated for selling your art; you would be shunned for winning awards, your ‘youtube’ views will be considered dubious, and you will be subjected to witch-hunting.
The only way you can avoid this is by a simple act of trying to serve others. You don’t have to donate thousands of dollars; you don’t have to social work every day; all you have to do is genuinely and passionately mentor others whenever you find the time. People will know you for the accomplishments you achieve, but people will respect, like, appreciate and recognize you for the value you add to their lives. Share your experience, help and encourage talented people, spend time with someone who has hit rock bottom, and you will never feel lonely anymore.
No one cares about your achievements, and it will remain questionable for life. However, people care about and respect your contributions in their life. It’s okay if you couldn’t make it to the top, it’s okay if you are being trolled, and it’s totally alright if someone is branding you as an imposter, scammer, or ugly. If you are true to yourself, and if you acknowledge you are not either of those tags, don’t lose hope. Help others, spend time guiding people, and they will always defend you.
What happened next for me when I had this awakening?
After learning the basics of writing, I wrote many more books. I focused my time and energy on acquiring knowledge (I am an engineering dropout, remember?).
My platform, NYK Daily that I co-founded with Arushi Sana, is my happy source of revenue where I edit articles, news, and nonnews features from around the world, and I spend my weekends writing articles, short stories, and poems on Instagram (swipe right to read articles). I spend my remaining time mentoring new writers from around the world, and I try pushing them to express more, write more, and speak more. I don’t use a ‘Dr.’ in front of my name anymore as my degree was an honorary in nature; however, I am now pursuing my education in History from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), where I plan to complete my Ph.D. formally in the subject, after a few years. I still don’t respond to ‘award presenting agencies’ anymore because I am done proving everything. I started going out more often and lost around ten kgs. I write free-to-read content and enjoy gleaming debates regarding different aspects of history, religion, and science via my posts. People still come even after seven-eight years and accuse me of being a ‘verified goose’ who was once a media buffoon, but I know how to brush them aside now.
I will turn 28 on 22nd September.