Chetan Arvind Rao, Actor

I am Chetan Arvind Rao and I am a Full time theatre professional. I am also a Learning and Development Consultant. So when I am not on stage performing, I conduct workshops or act in playshops. Theatre and acting to me, are like the highest form of meditation. It's the trip of being someone else in a completely different world, and a high by itself. I don't think words will do justice for how theatre makes me feel.

I come from a family of artists. For me, being on stage came naturally. I did my first play when I was in the 4th grade and acted in a Kannada TV series during my 5th grade. I feel art is a unique entity by itself which chooses you, not the other way around.

Choosing theatre as a profession in our country means very little to no pay at all. All I want to say for now is  that it is not easy to follow your passion and it's not all hunky dory. But my struggles may not be applicable to everyone who has chosen it. But anyone following their passion do face a fare amount of struggles and hurdles along the way. I don't really want to talk about my struggles as it may discourage people who want to choose art as a profession. The struggles teach us a lot and the end result makes all the hardships worthwhile.

There is a common misconception that there is just one single moment that changes your life. I personally feel there can be more than one moment. Most recently 'Training Sideways' has been kind of a life changing experience because of the financial crutch it has provided me. From having absolutely no money in my pocket to even buy myself a tiny trinket at the time to not having to think twice about spending on something now, has relieved me of a lot of tension in life and helped me focus more on my art form. I've also seen myself improve as a performer. Although, the real life changer will be when I make a grand entry onto the silver screen!

When it comes to inspiration, I think I’m very lucky as I don't have to look too far. The women in my life are my biggest inspiration. My grandmother almost lost her life in a terrible accident! She lost an arm to it and just a couple of years later, she got back and acted in a really successful TV series! My Mother is the epitome of patience and tolerance. In her case life has always dealt her terrible cards but she never folds. Rather, she goes all in with a smile and wins it all. My partner Shalini Mohan is another inspiration. I can't emphasise enough about her musicianship and the animal welfare work that she does. She channels her past struggles into music by playing her bass guitar, which never fails to leave me in awe every single time. When I look at these women and the kinda things that they've gone through, I feel my struggles are minuscule and makes me wanna achieve more.

All in all, all that matters while following our passion is whether we take the easy road or the road less traveled. I’d like to conclude with the words of Robert Frost, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference

Edited by Vidya Ram

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