DANGAL: Four Lessons the Female Wrestlers taught me about Life
Recently I watched an Indian movie titled DANGAL which took over 2hours of my precious time but I can say it was worth it and that is why I have chosen to share some of the lessons here hoping it would inspire someone.
It is the story of a man who was a former wrestler but was unable to pursue his dream of representing his country in international matches. Due to his failed dream, he decided that he was going to pass that dream across to his children.
After 5 failed attempts of trying to conceive a son to carry on his wrestling dream, he stopped trying and stayed with his daughters until one day when he saw the possibilities of his daughters wrestling. He started a forced task which the daughters did not like and greatly resisted it but after a while, they changed and embraced the sport.
You may wonder why they changed all of a sudden despite the great discomfort it caused them? They realized the tradition in India where most fathers marry off their daughters and see no value in them. Even though their fathers dream was not theirs, at least it meant that their father saw them greater than house chores and cared for them enough to carry on his dreams of becoming a global champion.
With a renewed interest, they started pursuing that dream. As usual, movies have up and down moments where it was not all rosy for them and they did not win all matches (if not it would not have been realistic), but here are some lessons I was able to pick out from different excerpts of the movie and I would try and relate it to how it can positively shape your life.
Embrace ideas and allow ‘Life’ lead you
One thing that stood out for me which many ‘woke’ people may draw out from that movie is that wrestling was not initially their passion. It was more of a transferred and forced passion. Whilst I agree that this may not always work in the modern day, I also feel that these ladies would have most likely ended up the same way most of their peers did (unhappy in a strange husband’s house) without anything to dream for and hope in.
Sometimes ‘Life’ has plans for you which you may be oblivious to because you have been misinformed about that path. For those still struggling to find their purpose, I feel you should just set yourself free by being OPEN to various things before deciding.
These ladies were open and even after getting so deep into wrestling, they could have chosen to give up after winning the medal but today, they are a source of inspiration to thousands of ladies in India.
Don’t forget your roots
This was one of the parts I found really interesting. The senior daughter (Geeta) moved into national champions bootcamp, learned new things and became more independent. When she came home for the holidays, she got into a conflict with her Father (her first coach) on how his methods were old and contested with him (in a minifight) and eventually won him.
This made her proud of her ways and mini-enemies with her dad but it later backfired and she came back to beg her father who eventually coached her towards winning her first commonwealth games.
You may think this is the typical way films are plotted (I also felt that way) to make you scared never to go against your parents because you would end up doomed! That’s not the point I am trying to make here.
The point is this: Her Father trained her from a young age and knew her strength and weakness even more than the ‘experienced’ coach so he was able to position her better than her coach. Your roots are the people around you that always give you feedback. The moment you feel you are too big to listen to anyone or to take feedback, then you are on your way down. If you are at this stage in your life where you are struggling, then you need to check that you have good roots (friends, mentors, parents, siblings and other positive influence). They may be the one to help you find that thing you have been looking for.
Be deaf to detractors
When they started getting initiated to their fathers dream of wrestling, there were a lot of talks here and there. I wonder how they were able to block all the noise. The whole village talked about them, even schooling became difficult for them. They were made fun of because of their haircut and life was seemingly made more difficult.
However, they were able to shut out those negative noise, mockery and distraction by converting it to something meaningful. It may not be easy but one thing you need to realize is that “Not everyone can see what you are seeing”. Only listen to people you are sure understand your vision and are willing to support you.
Lazz Lazz, You would be alright
Hahaha, people that know me can testify to the fact that this is one of my best phrase. Let me relate it to the movie. When they wanted to go into wrestling, one of the fears from the ladies and even their mother was that no one would want to marry them (which looks like stating the obvious because female wrestlers are not seen as attractive to men). One thing their father said which struck me was that when they become successful, men would come for them.
Immediately after watching the movie when I realized it was a real-life story, I googled them and realized they are now both married (they got married before 30) to fellow wrestlers.
My point is this: Sometimes the things you greatly fear when you are led to pursue your dream may just be a minority in the big picture of things. When I am in a cross road and I begin to start bothering about an uncertainty that has not even happened yet, I just say “Lazz Lazz, I would be alright” and I keep on at it without letting anything hinder me
At the end, they became alright, they got the international medal they wanted and still got their husbands and even kids.
I hope this life lessons would not only inspire you but help you take this first step that you have been delaying for such a long time.
P.s: The movie, Dangal is available on Netflix. I would love to hear about what you learned from the movie. firstname.lastname@example.org