Before & After by Indu Balakrishnan

The above pictures tell a story. A story of wanting to be better. A story of a transformation. To some, it may seem like they went through a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering to make superficial changes. For others, the ends do justify the means and that a plastic surgery is just that. Who has the right to judge whom, yes? But these pejorative opinions are endless. 

Now’ let’s take a look at these before-after scenarios.

They are really inspiring stories that make you realize that if you have belief, motivation and a purpose, you can always get where you want to be. The before and after define what you have to do to travel in the journey in between them. 

Be it rags to riches tale, or the beast to beauty; the before to after journeys always make for a good conversation, don’t they? The thing about these tales is that the beauty pretty much lies in the eyes of the beholder. While some might understand what they go through, some are open to cruel and insensitive judgement. The reason being that one’s journey is truly one’s own. 

When Annamalai transforms from a jovial aimless milkman into a shrewd multi-business owner, everyone was in awe of the journey. Of course, it must be noted that the transformation was completed in one song. But the impact has lasted a lifetime. But Rajini Kanth’s story is one to love and behold as well. 

All jokes apart, the other two examples are true motivational stories. As a writer, JK Rowling’s journey tugs at my heart strings and gives me goosebumps. For starters, how could a book like Harry Potter be rejected by anyone? By 12 publishers at that. And then when she was recognized and appreciated by Bloomsbury, it was a win-win situation for both of them. Fame and fortune found their way to the well-deserved. She worked really hard to get where she is today. 

From poverty to a $3 billion fortune — the incredible rags-to-riches story of Oprah Winfrey is talked about by the world. Oprah Winfrey is the only black woman on the Forbes list of the 400 richest people in America. And that’s just one of her many achievements. Her journey would make your heart ache and jump with joy. A story worth reading again and again. They were not stopped by strident voices or dashed hopes. They got up and kept going. 

Annamalai was probably inspired by Walmart’s Samuel Walton. And we love both stories all the same. We have such incredible stories in India and in real life. Shahrukh Khan’s the first man that comes to my mind. A middle-class Delhi boy, high on hopes and dreams turned up in Mumbai with just Rs 1,500 in his pocket and more than 20 years later, became the King of all he desired. Dhirubai Ambani’s school teacher to Reliance Founder is another such journey. 

A humble beginning, a phase of intense struggle and achieving the long-lived-dream is the common story of these not-so-common personalities. Once in a while, when you feel low on luck, or get bogged down by ennui and need some inspiration to keep you going, these before and after stories are what you need to read. These indomitable people can make you smile, bring tears to your eyes and tell you that you are not alone. And what better feeling before you close your eyes and look forward to a hopeful dawn? 

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