Deepak Ramola is the founder and artistic director of Project FUEL. A TED Talks speaker and UN Action Plan Executor, he serves as the Kindness Ambassador for UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. His methodology has been recognized among the world's top 100 innovations in education by the Finland-based organization HundreED, and has also been adopted by the education board of Antwerp in Belgium. Ramola is
also a celebrated lyricist in Hindi cinema, and his songs have been voiced by Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar and Rekha Bhardwaj, among others. His first collection of Hindi poetry, titled Itna Toh Main Samajh Gaya Hoon, received the prestigious Dwarka Prasad Aggarwal Young Writer Award in 2020.
50 Toughest Questions of Life invites people to have a conversation about themselves with themselves. Deepak Ramola's quest began after he was inspired by the life lesson of a young girl who said, 'Life is not about giving easy answers, but answering tough questions.' Over the years, Ramola has amassed life lessons from inspirational sources across the world: from the women of the Maasai tribe to young girls in Afghanistan and sex workers in Kamathipura; from the lessons of earthquake survivors in Nepal to Syrian refugees in Europe, among many more.
This book is a collection of fifty such questions that made him pause, along with a bouquet of answers, anecdotes, stories and notes from his journey of teaching human wisdom for a decade. Strikingly fresh, tender, yet searing, these questions will make you reflect and inspire you to push beyond your boundaries.
What is your life lesson?
It is not a quote you have read in a book or heard in a movie, or the lyrics of a song, which somehow define your life to a T. It is a lesson your life taught you. You may have learnt it the hard way or the easy way, the long way or the short way, the crystal clear way, the discovering-in-a-haze way, but the only words that matter here are 'you' and 'learnt'. You learnt it. You extracted it out of the way(s) life was trying to teach it to you. You pulled it out, examined it and made it your own. Your life lesson can come to you in one sudden experience, or gradually with introspection, or in hindsight, over months and years. But the fact remains that you learn it all by yourself. Your life lesson is a gift to your soul by your being. In its DNA is the story of your existence. Make it count.
Did you not always know you would end up here?
I have never been surer of the 'I don't belong here' feeling than when I was preparing for the Indian Institute of Technology and electrical and electronics engineering exams. My house was an hour and a half away from school, and the coaching institute was somewhere midway between the two, so to save some effort, on most days, I would get off my school bus, dressed in my school uniform, and head straight to a four-hour mind marathon after a ten-hour school day. I was miserable. As miserable, emotionally and socially, as I can remember myself ever being. After two years of slogging at that coaching institute, I acknowledged that I was at the wrong place, at the wrong time and doing the wrong thing. And that never in my life would I allow all those three probabilities to align again.
We all are constructing our lives by laying the brick of one decision over another. It always helps to ponder whether or not your life today is a sum total of all the choices you have made so far. And whether or not you knew all along you'll end up exactly where you are.
|50 Toughest Questions of Life