By: Vingky Putera

One of the greatest stories ever told to me did not begin with “Once upon a time…” It began with the words, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” To those who do not understand the reference, it is a homage to the famous crawl intro by Star Wars. I like Star Wars franchise, starting from the first episode up until the eighth even Rogue One too.I do like other franchise as well such as, the epic Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, the entire series of Pirates of the Caribbean, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, the amazing wizarding world Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and last but not least, the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Aside from sci-fi, epic, fiction novels, I also happened to like videogame story franchise like, The Elder Scrolls series, the nostalgic Warcraft, Diablo series, and so many others. The point is, I love all of them because I see something in common. They all have epic, massive, potential, and interesting story to keep the franchise going.

          I spend most of my spare time in home playing games, but I also use it to design my own story. Every time I watch those movies or playing those games, I have this inspiration to create a story that is similar in such way it resembles their story. When an idea strikes, I usually try to picture my randomly hatched story in my brain but sometimes I also try to draw it in my notebook. Coincidentally, I have this powerful programming tool that allows me to design a custom scenario to be played in a specific video game. Henceforth, I immediately change my lifestyle from playing games into story-making. I consider this activity more productive rather than wasting a lot of my time repeating a game that has already been finished.

          Sadly, my mother does not quite understand the difference between playing video game and building a story inside a videogame. I do not expect her to understand though, as it is easier to just do it than to explain what I am doing. Every time I sit in front of mydesk with a 17-inch wide monitor displaying a 3D-modeled world map, moving my mouse around the table like a wild typhoon, shifting and clicking buttons for countless times, my mother simply sees it as playing videogame activity which she considers a non-productive activity. “I am not playing, Mom. I am working!”, I answered deliberately.

Two weeks ago,she complained to me as to why I always waste my time in home playing ridiculous videogames rather than to really focus on my job and study. “For the 100th times, I am not playing anymore, Mom. I am figuring out my newly found activity.”

“What kind of new activity? You just sit there and do the same thing over and over again without making any progress. Why don’t you use that time of yours to work on your job instead of looking at your monitor for God knows how long.”, rant Mom.

“I will do it later, Mom. Don’t worry about that. Besides, the job doesn’t feel interesting at all. It can wait.”

          I am an eighteen years old boy, currently studying in a private university and at the same time working in a part-time job as an online shop reseller. It is a pretty flexible job, where I can start working from anywhere and anytime, as long as there are internet connection and phone battery of course, a perfect job opportunity for a university student like me. I have been in this particular job for three months and a half since last year. I work for 2-3 hours a day, depending on the situation. The only challenging aspect with the job is the income rate in which it is not a fixed one, but a variable income. That means the income rate depends on whether how many customers who have purchased my merchandise. In order to have a huge salary or at the very least a sufficient income to pay for my semester fee by myself, I have to make sure that many people buy my items. Now of course, I can’t force someone to purchase the product, can I? If I could, I will be Tony Stark. However, money is not a big issue for me. I never consider lack of money as a critical matter. The only problem I have with my job is that somehow, I feel quite uneasy with it. I don’t mean that the job is not appropriate or illegal. I just feel unmotivated to do it, and lack of motivation can be crucial. Without proper motivation, you would not do your best to do the things that you do. You will be a mediocre. That is how I feel about doing this kind of job.

          “If it is not interesting for you to do, then why decide to take it in the first place?”, asked Mom.

          “I didn’t know it was not going to be interesting at first hand. If I did, I wouldn’t have taken it.”

          “How many times have I told you? You have to follow your passion. Don’t go around and accepting everything given to you, but you also need to think about the outcomes. Think outward instead of inward.”

          And there she goes again. I never feel bored about her lecturing me. I somehow think that what she said was right.  Follow my passion, she said. I asked her again, “Mom, you always say about passion. What is passion, exactly?” She answered it with a silent nod, without answering my question as if she didn’t hear anything at all. I took it as a sign of relief and continue to meddle with my own affairs. I never felt tired with working on my story. As time went on, so did I. I kept wanting to do more, creating another different story than what I am currently building, and ultimately combining those stories into one big crossover series where every individual character that I made could eventually meet each other. I couldn’t help myself to think that if I am able to do that, it will be the greatest achievement in my life. I felt like I was way more than just building a fictional world. No, it was beyond that. I was creating a gigantic, fantasy universe here, and to think that all of these wonderful thoughts happened so quickly in my mind, it terrified me. Not because I wasdying from happiness, but I was actually afraid that I couldn’t manage to make it all a reality.

          The next day, I went to college like usual. Riding motorcycle, breathing lots of polluted air, and facing horrendous traffic jams, are all like my daily food prescription. Inside the class, I asked one of my friend the same question that I had asked my mother. “What do you think the meaning of passion?” You probably think that he elaborated the meaning so detailed and careful until I fully comprehend. Lecturing in such a long paragraph manner that it eventually became pretty boring and bland, and the worst thing is that it was not even halfway yet to being finished. However, the unexpected came. Much to my surprise, he answered with a very simple recommendation. Instead of explaining the definition of passion, he told me to watch a particular movie titled “3 Idiots”.

          “It is a pretty good film, I am sure you’re going to like it. By the end of the movie, I guarantee you will get what ask.” Said my friend.

          “3 Idiots”. You might want to google it up in case you haven’t seen the movie. Fortunately, I already knew the film since I first watched it during my senior high school time. It is a comedy genre film where it portrays the life of three university students who struggle to keep up with their college life. However, the manner in which they tackle their mental pressure and college problems are sometimes regarded as embarrassing, inappropriate, stupid, but somehow brilliant, hence the nickname 3 idiots. I didn’t pay much attention to the movie back then, as I watched it only for pleasure and laughter. Nevertheless, I had to re-watch the film again in order to find the meaning of passion.

          Now, watching a movie is a baby step. I could just skip over some boring parts and finish it within an hour even if the film is two hours long, but watching the same movie and trying to figure out the moral value in it, is excruciatingly painful. It is not because the value is hard to find, but whether it is the correct one or just based on our assumption which the latter could lead to a misunderstanding. It took me several times to watch the entire movie over and over again. I watched it, studied it, researched it, memorized it, embedded it into my mind, but I still can’t seem to get what I came for. I knew that the three idiots had to undergo several life-threatening processes that eventually changed their way of thinking into more filled with enthusiasm and optimism. They literally had to go through hell and emerged back into a different, better individual. There is no doubt that sometimes in our life, we too had to face a huge crisis in order for us to change into a better person. A small trouble isn’t sufficient for us to develop. We need to be hammered over and over again until our shape isn’t the same anymore. That is the life-changing sequence. Yet, I still didn’t find the connection between the moral value with the meaning of passion! It was a lie! My friend guaranteed me that I will find the answer at the end of the movie, but right now I still hadn’t found it yet!A monstrous betrayal!

          A week later, I approached him again in the class. I wanted to ask him in person and expected him to answer it with his own definition. “Last week I asked you about passion, and you told me to watch the movie 3 idiots to find the answer. I watched it 5 times already but I still hadn’t found the answer. I want my money back!” I sued my friend for his false guarantee.

          “Seriously, dude? Geez, you are either a slow-learner or you didn’t understand the movie at all. And don’t ask for my money, I never guarantee a money for you.”

          “Whatever. Why don’t you just answer it by yourself? Or don’t tell me that you don’t even know the meaning too?”

          “Alright, alright, alright, let me tell you the shorter one because I doubt you will understand the longer one if you can’t even get the meaning from the movie.” There goes my answer. The answer that I have been waiting for ages. He said that passion can be everything. It can be your love for someone, your belongings, your car, your career, your family, but the most thing in common is that passion is the intense feeling of something that you always crave for it no matter how hard it seems.

          “There you go. Why don’t you just tell me before? It is much simpler this way.”

          “Well that would eliminate the challenge, wouldn’t it? There is no such thing as instantaneous. Learn to go along with the process. After all, passion comes with a process.

          I have to admit, I was a bit shocked by his answer. He didn’t just give me the answer that I wanted, but he also showed me an essential part of it. After that, I felt quite disturbed throughout the class session. Not because I was afraid or feeling annoyed, but I was in a midst of confusion with what I should do. I finally knew the meaning of passion, yet I still can’t figure out what my passion is. After I went home from college, I spent the next 2 hours surfing endlessly through my computer, looking for clues. I ransacked my entire folder, editing program, hundreds of files and documents, and after a tireless effort of searching, I caught a glimpse of clarity. It was an old novel document that I had written when I was still sitting in the second grade of senior high school. I reluctantly opened it, and once the Microsoft loading screen had disappeared, I only saw a golden treasure.

          An old, dusty, fantasy story consisting of more than four hundred pages. Looking at it, made me realize how I wasted such a potential story for years. I remembered that I had already finished the novel long ago, and I even published it through online publisher. The moment I first received my own printed novel book, tears were running down to my face. The feeling can’t be described by words. It was already the greatest achievement I have in my life. The only downside was that nobody purchased a single copy of my book at that time. I realized that it was MY mistake though. I didn’t promote the book as I should have, but I was too scared to blame for myself. I put the blame on the novel instead, saying that the story was not good enough for people to read. That single mistake made me bury the novel deep inside my past, trying to forget about it and moving on.

I reflected back on what I was doing this entire time, and I also found out that despite my failure, I had always wanted to create more and more story. It doesn’t matter how many times I tried to stop it, inspiration just kept flowing through like a river stream, and I couldn’t help but followed it. Combining what I just found with the meaning of passion, I finally realized that my passion is composing stories.

The next morning, I came to my mother and asked her again about the meaning of passion. Although I already knew the answer first hand, I actually wanted to surprise her with my response. As she was still preparing for morning breakfast, I sat in the dining chair with my notebook on the table. “Mom, do you realize that you still haven’t answered my question?” I asked her.

“Which question? You asked hundreds of them per day, I don’t even remember one of them.”

“Hrgh…” I grunted, “ It is the one asking about passion. What does passion mean?”

“Passion means pursuing the things that you like to do. It is that simple. I can’t believe you still haven’t realized it yet.”

“What about if I like to eat chicken? Is that my passion, mom?”

“What do you… Heck, no! It doesn’t work like that!”

“You said that passion is the thing that I like to do. I like to eat chicken, mom. The crispy, tasty, warm textures of its meat, are the eighth wonders of the world.”

“Stop it, you are being gross. It doesn’t work like that, son. You can’t define it only one way, you have to…”

“… think outward and not inward. Yeah, I get it, mom. Well, the truth is I have decided what my passion is! I am going to create many stories of my own!”I intercepted before she continued her lecture

“What? Story making? Are you sure that is not one of your hobby aside playing games?”

“Of course, it isn’t, mom. This time is different. Playing videogame is my hobby, but designing story is my life. I have learned the difference between the two.”

          I could tell by looking that her face was like a mix between confused and astonished. “Well, I couldn’t stop you. If you have truly learned of your passion, then you should pursue it. My only question is what are you going to do with it?” asked my mother with her deep, interrogative voice.

          “I actually haven’t thought that much, but my feeling tells me that I have to share my story to others, mom.” I answered spontaneously.

After watching all those huge, epic movie franchises whether it is on film or by reading its book, I learned that stories are created to be read not by oneself, but by everyone. After all, what is the point of story if not as a means to teach a lesson? A story can contain many thingsincluding failures, and as Master Yoda once said, the greatest teacher, failure is. This is how I come to realize about my extraordinary abilities. It is not simply my hobby, my favorite thing, or my career, but it is my superpower. It doesn’t matter whether the writing is bad or the grammar is grievously horrible although you do need to pay attention to the grammar in order for everyone could understand the story accurately. A story is a story and it is MEANT to be read, heard, and spoken by EVERYONE.