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‘Every person’s life story is a lesson’

Actor-lyricist-author Deepak Ramola, the founder of Project Fuel that collects life lessons from people, was recently in Kolkata. In an interaction with Swati Gautam, Ramola spoke about his book Itna Toh Main Samaj Gaya Hoon and also his life journey. IBNS brings excerpts of the conversation Tell us about your relationship with Kolkata. I never say no to coming to Kolkata. And this is because of two reasons. Firstly, I find myself in the city and secondly, people here are very open-hearted. In last eight years, when I had asked my parents to travel with me, they had chosen Kolkata. You have repeatedly mentioned relationships and water (rivers) in your poems. Why so? There is a connection. We are born out of the relationship between mountains and water. I was told by an elderly person during my travel that unexpressed sorrows pile up to become mountains. Too many sorrows make a strong mountain. She also said one should also float the sorrow if one finds it difficult to understand. So mountains and water have so much strength that they can give relief to people suffering from sorrows. You have also written for films. How did you get such an opportunity? I am writing since Class VII. At one point of time I had developed the desire to write songs. I was not sure whether I wanted to write songs for films or people or theatre. I had no such context. I am fortunate to have written several songs for films. My first film in which I had worked was Manjhi — The Mountain Man which starred Nawazuddin Siddiqui. I was 18 then. I was in Mumbai for my education and then I used to act in films. There I came across Sandesh Shandilya who was working in the film. He introduced me to Gulzar saab who is my favourite lyricist. I spent my first evening as a lyricist with Gulzar saab. Then I met filmmaker Ketan Mehta who had described the protagonist in the film. How did you get to know so many languages? Firstly I have a love for languages. I am curious to know languages and poems. I have been teaching in various schools in different cities since 17 years of my age. How did you get into teaching? My mother studied till Class V, which is equal to nursery in remote villages. But my mother never seems to be uneducated. She manages the entire finance of our family. On one fine day when I was 14, I asked her how she knows so many things despite not going through formal education. Then my mother replied that she has learnt from life. Then I started looking for other people’s stories. Later, I started my campaign ‘Project Fuel’ which accumulates stories of different people across the world. How do you get the knowledge? It depends from place to place. But we all will get knowledge simply by interacting with people. The thing is we don’t talk about lessons from life nowadays on dinner table. If we interact with people, we will get to know a gist of their life lessons. Every person is able to teach a lesson. I have so far interacted with people belonging to different age groups. (IBNS-TWF)

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