Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg once said “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” This quote fits in well for Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi, who has a new feather in his cap with the launch of his book ‘The Kiss of Life’.
The book encapsulates his son’s heart wrenching battle with cancer but also traces his journey as a first-time writer. With the nervousness of debuting as a writer, the 37-year-old actor faces similar challenges that a start-up or an entrepreneur would do. At the core, he wants an experience well-shared and a story well-told.
Never say no!
Recalling an instance from his son’s journey, Hashmi said that his son was just recovering from chemotherapy when he insisted on participating in his school’s sports day. “I was against the idea as my son was feeble because of the chemo sessions. However, he insisted and fell three to four times but finished the race. As he reached the finish line, he looked at me and winked. He went on to tell those who didn’t win, that participating was more important.
The only thing that kept me going was will, the will to live for my son.” What 10 wise men couldn’t teach the 37-year-old actor, his son recuperating from cancer did – all in that one moment, never say no!
Accepting a certain situation and working towards resolving issues with perseverance were some of the key lessons he learnt during this emotional phase. In his case, Emraan had to research about the disease, get to know facts associated with it and form an action plan to help his son get out of it. He not only resorted to conventional treatment but also natural therapies to help his ailing son. “You are not sick because you get cancer. You get cancer because you are sick.”
Post his experience, Emraan said he swears by the ‘eat healthy, live healthy’ way of life. The mantra for his success is positive thinking and good eating habits.
The will to never let go, rise when you are at your lowest and hope against hope are some of the things the actor says he learnt from the experience. “My son has been cancer free for the last two years. There is this impending fear that it might come back, but the will to live for my son makes me get up and fight that fear every day. Talking through his experience, Emraan said that it was important for him to have a survivor’s mindset.
Every day was a struggle but it taught him to embrace dejection but wake up stronger the next day. Talking about his mindset, the 37-year-old actor said that he relied on his son’s positivity to ‘remain normal’ even in trying times. “He was a normal child, jumping, hyperactive even when we would go for doctor visits or chemo sessions.”
Professional & personal balance
Maintaining professional and personal balance was one of the toughest situations for the actor. In 2013, Emraan was on the top of his game, doing successful films when tragedy struck his family. His 4-year-old son was detected with cancer (Wilms Tumour). Though the last few years have been a rollercoaster ride for Emraan, the lessons learnt have added new dimensions for him as a father.
He not only got help from his wife but also from acting, which motivated him to polish his craft each day on set. The book gets its title from Emraan’s infamous reel-life image of the ‘kissing star’. With an interesting marketing strategy as this, he surely has a creative nerve to get him going as an entrepreneur.
This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (May 2016 Issue).