A collection of anecdotes by individuals, just like us, doing what they love
His guiding principle through his professional journey, from Chennai to New York, has been "If you're not uncomfortable nor challenging yourself, you're not learning." Jumping into his profession with full gusto, Naren talks to us about his transition from a sportsman to an artist:
"Sports and acting — there's a direct parallel. You get in there and you're there with your team, your ensemble. You're trying to win but you're trying to be competitive and you're trying to put on a show.
I'm half American, half Indian, so, when I was 12, my family moved us to India. I was doing sports for a long time and I decided to make the switch into acting. I knew I couldn't do both at the same time and at the same pace. So I just jumped in while I was in school. And, it took off in a big way. I was doing theatre and I was a VJ in Chennai as well, a video jockey for a TV channel and it was going, well. It was going really well.
I saw this career trajectory for myself. I think I was 20 or 21 at the time. I just saw myself peaking at 25, I saw myself hitting the top of my own game. I didn't want that. I was morbidly afraid of hitting the top and then never being able to challenge myself further or grow further. I had no game plan, no idea what I was going to do. As I would go along, it started figuring itself out for me. I thought, 'Alright, if I want to do this, I should probably do this well. I should probably be trained in it. I should probably go and experience other theatre, other art, other acting, other things like that, elsewhere.' So I decided to apply to school in New York City. I got accepted into a graduate program over here, got a Masters in Acting. I was planning on going back to India immediately but things still started taking off. So I figured why walk away from a good thing and I stuck it out.
Every now and then I still sit down and go, 'Man, what if? What if?' But, at the end of the day I'm happy that I took that decision because I treat acting like a sport. I still have that athlete's mentality when I approach acting and art which has really helped me travel this really long journey and also helped me keep in mind that this profession is a marathon, it's not a sprint. I never would have known that unless I had come into this from an athletic background."
Follow your heart and find the right opportunity in fields you're passionate about — in the arts, writing, design, music and more.
(Video produced by Gayatri Kaul)