“Family first, then, Manchester United, then, everything else in the world.”
When I had just moved to Chicago, I knew the challenge that was in front of me. I knew that I would have had to fight to get the most out of the opportunity; in fact, I even labelled it as an adventure and I was ready.
In general, my first impression of Chicago was that it was a city which would demand a lot out of me and my biggest fight would have to be with myself; in fact, I was convinced that the city was going to make me run ragged but I was ready.
I believed that Chicago would teach me a ton but at the same time, it would all come at a cost, in fact, I promised myself to stand up against anything that stood in my way and I was ready.
I thought the city would want me to dodge a couple of tackles, play a little one-two, cut inside, then, take it outside and expect me to curl it into the top corner, in fact, I was sure of it and I was ready. At least, I believed so.
…and I was correct.
The Windy City demands a lot out of you. In fact, it wants you to get lost within itself but it does give you an opportunity to make it bigger than yourself. And it tests you (if you want to call it that) and brings the best out of you.
I was in India a couple of months ago and as I was walking over to board the plane for Chicago, I couldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t that I didn’t love what I did or I had any problem; in fact, for once, everything was perfect: I had a cool job that I loved, I had made a few good friends, and I was living the biggest city that I had ever lived in and working in the heart of its downtown for a company that had some of the top soccer teams as clients, but I was crying.
It was a cry out of love, desire and for the task because for the first time, I had realized everything that I was sacrificing to live in America – to fight to achieve a dream called Manchester United. Most things that I have done in the past seven years – whether it’s related to jobs, certifications or in general, the decisions that I have taken – it’s always been about making it to United. And now, that the opportunity is in front of me; now, that I can – although distant – can see the goal, I cannot stop.
I wrote earlier about ‘making it’.
What is ‘making it’? Me making it has always been to make it for myself. If I give my 100%, I would win for me and I would make it for me, and if I make it for me, I would make it. I know. But what is giving my 100%? It is the realization that no matter what anybody says, I couldn’t have given any more…not even 0.0000001% more.
But to make it, one must give his 100% and for me, that’s learning. If I learn what I think there is to learn, I will be the best that the world has ever seen and I would make it. And so, I have been constantly repeating and blindly following a verse written by Muhammad Iqbal’s almost a century ago,
“Khudi ko k
ar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle
Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai.”
(translating to “Raise thyself to such heights that God Himself may ask, ‘what do you wish for me to write as your fate.’”)
I am very spiritual but I am not religious (get the difference), and I believe in God but I wouldn’t give him a name and fight with someone who calls him somethings else. He is an energy that gives us everything that we need, whenever we need (not want) it. At times, he teaches us a lesson too, and it’s important and so worth it in the longer run.
So, all I have been trying to do is raise myself to an unparalleled height, comparing myself to me and not to anybody else, and I feel strong – stronger than I have ever felt before.
As of now, I am nothing but for some reason, I don’t fear anything. For once, it seems as though I am closer to the dream than it ever was. For once, I feel that I am currently in my greatest fight, the greatest battle which I will ever live to see and unsurprisingly, it is with myself.
For once, I am ready to risk all the money that I have earned to learn…to make it. For once, I feel that Manchester United is my destiny!
…but only if I learn everything that there is to learn.
I don’t believe in miracles; I rely on them.
- Kratik Malhotra