My Story: Don’t Write The Obituaries Of Your Dreams, Simply ‘Play Big’- Payal Kumar

Each of us has, at some point in time in our lives, received life advice from our personal life coaches – parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, kids, the vegetable vendor or the stranger sitting on the adjacent seat on the flight. Something that moved you, changed you or made a difference to your perspective forever. India Pages brings to you these slices of life, shared by people from all walks of life … Writers, Photographers, Artists, Television Producers, Hands-on mommies, Entrepreneurs, and Engineers …. Meet Payal Kumar

The Best Teachers are the ones who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see

 I once read a quote that said ” The Best Teachers are the ones who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see. I am very fortunate to be blessed by the presence of my spiritual master who has been in my life for the last 10 years. He has moulded me to become who I am today. And I surely am proud to be in the space I am, still learning and evolving each day.

This story dates back to 2009 when I had this urge to write articles and hoped to get them published. I had no knowledge or professional qualification to write. I had a lot of ideas however I didn’t  think I was good with grammar and language. Yet the urge to write was growing, I did start writing a personal blog on life, lessons and my experiences. However, I wanted to share my experiences and get them published to reach out to more and more people who could perhaps benefit from it.

So in one of our Leadership Training seminars, I walked up to my master and expressed my desire to write ” small ” articles in the Times of India – The Speaking tree or something of that sort, give it a try and see if they would accept it. I told him I was afraid and didn’t know anything about professional writing but, still had this urge.

He looked at me straight faced and said: ” Write Obituaries !”

My jaw dropped and I was like ” WHATTT??” Did I hear that right! In my head, I felt angry too and thought, how rude of him to say this. Here I was looking for some encouragement and he was discouraging me. Why would he do that?

However, he was my master and I had great respect for his words. So I stood there looking at him confused, seeking more clarity. There he was laughing out loud seeing the misery on my face and then he said, “You only said, you wanted to write something “small” didn’t you? Well, an obituary is the smallest thing one can write in a newspaper! ” And he laughed again.

I stood there shocked, still not clear of where he was headed with this suggestion. Yet I waited patiently to seek more clarity. And then he said ” If u have a dream or an urge to create something why don’t u muster the courage to play BIG as well, why would you think so small, how would you even go far enough if your initial thought itself is so small and unworthy”

WOW ! I was blown out with what he had said. And it wasn’t just about the urge to write, In that moment I  realized  I had not been playing Big in any aspect of my life at all. While its almost 8-9 years since that incident, each time my mind thinks small I hear his words ringing in my head ” Write an Obituary! ” I laugh at myself and I shake myself out of that silly unworthy thought and muster the courage to think and Play Big.

It’s nothing less than a miracle that a couple of months after this incident, I  received a mail from a friend sharing how the editor of the ” Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul at Work ” was looking for real life, heartfelt stories at the workplace.  I gathered the courage to play big and submitted a couple of stories I had penned down from my life. And guess what, 2 of my stories were shortlisted amongst the 100 that got published in that special edition. I still dream of someday soon publishing many inspiring books culled from stories from real life – mine and other people’s as well.

Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul at Work

Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul at Work

I’ve continued to play big ever since and thanks to that in 2011 I quit my well-paying Advertising Career of 13 years and began my journey as a Destination Wedding Photographer which again I had absolutely no knowledge of. I had not even dreamed that my hobby would take me so far and get me so much acknowledgement. But it happened.

The journey continues, so do my urges to explore and play big at multiple new endeavours and dreams that keep coming forth. All thanks to the grace and encouragement of my dearest master. So get out there my friends, don’t write the obituaries of your dreams, simply “PLAY BIG! ”

About Payal Kumar

Payal Kumar is a sensitive soul who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s driven by passion, an avid traveller, a Reiki practitioner, always seeking for new adventures and is on an eternal quest to discover who she really is. Since 2008, seeing through her lens has opened up a spiritual journey of self-discovery and expression. In 2011, she quit her fast-paced Advertising Career after 13 years of specializing in Relationship marketing and embarked on a new path of  Destination Wedding Photography.  She loves to explore any new creative avenues that give her a platform for expressing in inspiring ways, how she see’s the brighter side of life around her. An eternal optimist, she has a storyteller within her heart who loves telling real-life stories be it, by writing short stories where ever she gets an opportunity or even using visual mediums like photography and film to express them. You can see her Wedding photography work of art at , her inspiring storytelling new initiative at or just follow her to get to know her. 

My Story: Embrace your world – Gauri Misra-Deshpande

About the Author

Suhana Bhatia
Suhana Bhatia
Features Editor