Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Just Be, For Once!

There are many ways to dissect my current frame of mind, both positively and negatively. But for once, I choose not to put a name to it, try and find meaning to it or even for look for a solution. I choose instead, to revel in it and let nature take its course.

Ever since I put my feet into a pair of flip-flops and went to college, my life took a new course. As things began to take shape, I jumped into it and charged ahead... filling my days, weeks, months and years with all of the things I wished to complete within a span of one year. In a certain sense, it was exhausting... being a Superman wearing flip-flops with a coffee cup in one hand and a totally packed schedule in the other. Don't get me wrong... I loved every single moment of it, but somewhere every momet of my life was accounted for, never allowing me to be spontaneous!

And then suddenly for the past few weeks... I just let go! I wanted to just BE... to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I also wanted to NOT to do things that I was expected to do. In a sense, I was breaking all the walls and the compartments I built in my head over the past few years. And what a feeling it has been... indescribable in many ways... almost like an out of body experience, where you have left your physical self behind and every floating free above that binds you!

It has been wonderful, even more so, because I found a way to fit this into the needs of my everyday life. I'm prepping for the new play by Mahesh Dattani which has been delayed. So, I also rack my brains for studying really hard. So, life continues... irrespective of my frame of mind!

The one thing I have learnt from all this is that it's ok, once in a while, to give into yourself... to have those moments of true freedom away from your responsibilities. It will recharge your batteries in a way that you may never have experienced before. ''Just be'' my friends... till the time we meet again!

Friday, 23 April 2010


If you read the large print at the top, you know I'm back. Missed reading my blog? Those of you who did not, why were you reading the blog in the first place? Stop now. I took a break for a while, because I just didn't have the kind of time I needed to write a halfway decently write-up on the blog. The Bangalore schedule was hectic and maddening, followed by a family function, so I figured rather than write something I wasn't happy with, I'd time some time off. And now, I'm back.

Spent the last month of April in Bangalore. It's a beautiful place and the big thing I did there was honing my new found passion for photography. I'd made up my mind before I even got there that I was going to do railfanning (or trainspotting, in simpler terms). It's something I've wanted to do for a long time and I kept doing it in and around Mumbai but not to the extent I should have. The night before my railfanning session, someone asked me why I wanted to do it. I'd never really thought about it before, it was just something I knew that gave me satisfaction and I knew I wanted to do. So I thought for a minute, and it came to me; I wanted to do this, because to me, it is the representative of what makes photographers great beings.

From the dawn of our era, we have always been driven by a need to store images, climb higher and do more than we should be able to. The human philosophy is to stretch our limits. We cannot fly, but we wanted to. So, we built machines and equipment that would help us. We cannot breathe underwater, but we wanted to. We found a way to do that too. Why do we climb the highest mountains, or venture deeper into uncharted places that no one has ever been before? It is the spirit of human discovery, the desire to explore and it's beautiful.

Well, I completed my target of clicking photographs and I couldn't begin to tell you how amazing it is to be with trains, getting to be a part of their world. That's why I wanted to reach Bangalore and spend a few intimate moments with the timeless Indian trains for the adrenaline rush or the fear of being caught. But so that I could feel something I shouldn't be able to feel. What it feels like to be a part of the big maze called INDIA.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Truth Shall Set You Free

I was very embarrassed when my cousin told me about a community on Facebook which read, "A lion would never cheat his wife, but a Tiger Wood". I was deeply offended by this name. His marriage has duly been scrutinized by the media, his intentions have been weighed and his apology dissected from left, right and centre. As the world awaited to see whether the second longest sabbatical from golf in his career will affect his game, I was just as eager to see the public reaction when he returns to the turf.

Is everyone going to be forgiving and happy to see the face of golf back? As I watched him being an interview two weeks back, in a no holds bar interview, he appeared contrite, sorry and extremely honest. I think what I saw on his face was a sign of relief. The truth was finally all out there. There was no fear of being judged by the world anymore. It was almost as though the truth had set him free.

It happens to most of us, especially dancers like me who are in the limelight. I believe that we do have a public image that once built must be protected at all costs. But what is that image? Is it truly who we are? Are we brave enough ourselves? All our faults laid bare, all our vulnerabilities being splashed in the newspapers as though it's entertainment. I understand that we are role models and therefore, we do have a certain responsibility to fulfil by doing the right thing. But we are also human at the end of the day and human beings err and in the event of that, we have a duty to be honest to the public at large. That was precisely what I saw on Tiger Wood's face during his interview.

Maybe, he was told what cards to play but they sure were the right cards! It takes a lot of courage to be honest, but once you do, it creates within you a calm, because you know that nothing can haunt you. It liberates you! I haven't had the opportunity to meet Tiger Woods but going by whatever I have read about him in the newspapers, he comes across as a shy, well-spoken man who was very attached to his parents and was extremely courteous. Yes, I still root for him. I hope he sorts his life and does the right thing for his family. I hope he can find peace and stability in his life and I hope he goes back to being the amazing golfer that he is, because frankly, golf hasn't been the same without Woods.

Hope you have a great weekend ahead and I leave it at this point with the hope that you will read my next column and I pray that the truth will set you free!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Second Best Options

Somebody asked me a rather pertinent question recently, "Divya, what would you have been if you were not a dancer?" Wow!! That was a question that got me thinking and for what seemed like the longest time, I drew a blank (pun unintended). Odd, how it took a while to even get the whole thought process in motion! It crossed my mind to say something inane like "Probably, I'd have been employed with the United Nations working towards world peace." Actually, I had absolutely no idea what I should have said. Dance has consumed me for as long as I can remember. The obsessive manner with which, I have pursued this passion, really has not left me with the opportunity of doing too much else.

Of course, I would have had to find an alternate talent. I doubt my parents would have patiently stood by all my trials and tribulations in the absence of any real focus! Clearly a more conventional attempt at securing my livelihood? I feel blessed to have had the chance to follow my dreams and also manage to yield some promising returns.

Along with the banalities of earning livelihood, I am almost certain I would have further explored and developed some other interests. Art for instance? Perhaps been a part-time artist? I do paint, but sadly I do a rather lousy job at it. I am not self deprecatory. None of my works have ever elicited any spontaneous looks of awe from even my dearest and closest ones. It's always a very studied gaiety and a choked, "Wow! I never knew you paint so badly." Clearly art would not have helped me earn my bread and butter.

A singer perhaps? Being a dancer involves being in constant touch with singers. My passion for singing may have come to the fore had I pursued singing on a full-time basis. Giving up singing to pursue dance is a decision I've always regretted. (Who knows I could have been the next Lata Mangeshkar or K.S. Chithra lending my voice to the innumerable actresses in films hopefully working with different music composers). What ever may have been or what ever shall be... would probably not be as challenging as what I presently do! Ironically, despite medals and awards, you never quite have your performance figured out!

I guess this mystery and the desire to constantly raise my bar is what keeps me going. But then, it's like that for everyone in varying degrees, no matter what they opt to do and that's the beauty of it all! So to answer that question... I still don't know!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Homeward Bound

It's almost like my internal fuel tank is running on reserve. With only a few litres of energy left, I'm hoping that God and good luck will see me through the next 24 hours! After that, the world will change for me... because, starting Monday morning, I'm taking my first real holiday in over one-and-a-half years!

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go and I'm excited that if there's a chance I'll ask the motorman to let me drive the train so I can get home faster! I get back home to Bangalore this Monday morning after being away for more than one-and-a-half years and I just cannot wait to get back there. I have an action-packed vacation in Bangalore that begins almost the minute I board the train. But, there are a few things I want to do before I get to Bangalore.

I want to give my mom a big hug and spend some quality time catching up. I'll really miss her. I want to call my closest friends and give them a hug as well because I missed them too. I wish to catch up with my aunt and cousins and give them a hug because I missed them and also because they are all waiting with big lists of things I HAVE to do now that I'm back. Then, there's Nakul, my brother, who will get a tight hug because I heard he's missed me the most! Heck... I think I'm just going there to hug everyone I see.. I'm that excited to be going back home! At this rate, they'll probably throw me off the train (forget rescuing me!)

Common sense took over (not to forget some very apprehensive parents and friends) and the plans for the holiday were magically put together. And now suddenly... I will have days where every minute, hour and day is mine... to do what I please! The anticipation is highly infectious and I can honestly admit that no matter how much I loved every moment of what I was doing, I needed this and more importantly, I owed myself this!!

My last week in Mumbai has been a lot of fun and a lot of work as well. I had to make sure I visited a relative as planned and also the sultry weather was making it a bit difficult. But I managed it and that ladies and gentlemen is a temporary wrap of my blogging for now. I needed this and more importantly, I owed myself this! So, adios amigos... for now... see you on the other side... refreshed and renewed!!! I'll sign off for now and head to the railway station.... home is calling!!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

First Crushes

"Why don't you be my girlfriend?
I'll treat you good
I know you hear your friends when they say
You should coz if you were my girlfriend
I'd be your shining star
The one who'll show you where you are
Girl, you should be my girlfriend."

Sighh! I am getting nostalgic while listening to the N*Sync sing this song. The words have instantly transported me to a time when I was four feet tall, five years of age and an absolute brat. As cliched as it might sound, my first crush happened in the community park and it literally crushed me! Yes, community park! He ran for the same swing on which I had set my eyes on, tackled me to the ground and sat on me! Even though his face is a mere wisp of a memory now, it was a true-blue crushworthy moment for me!

From that day on, we would routinely fight and bruise each other! I don't think I've looked forward to anything more than going to the park and getting beaten up by that little rascal! At the age of 10, I was a little more civilized and crushing on a boy took on other forms that didn't include getting my long hair pulled and getting my arms pinched. It meant doing someone's homework and letting him win in a football match.

At the age of 13, boys began to gain a wee bit of personality and feelings began to get a little more complicated. Butterflies in the stomach were a natural 24/7 state and notebooks were scribbled with heart doodles and the legendary FLAME game. The phone was the best invention for me at that time and I'm blushing pink and laughing hard as I recollect the insane number of prank calls me and my friends made to all the cute guys in our school.

But of course, I was the recipient of tonnes of calls too! I vividly remember this one boy called me up on my landline. When I answered the phone, he promptly proceeded to sing "Quit playing games with my heart". What more can I say? I was flattered to the point of letting him tunelessly sing the whole song for me!

Then came the sweet 16! At 16, crushes are as important as food, water, clothes and the air you breathe. Sleepless nights, furtive glances and dressing up right just so you bump into your crush by chance! What a heady feeling! What a rush! At 16, you're seeing the world with those rose-tinted glasses. At 16, boys begin to notice that the girl is beautiful and their eyes meet yours for a minute longer than is actually necessary. Coffee shops become your second home. This was the time when I got two really amazing gifts from my crush--my first bouquet of red roses and an audiotape of my favourite songs!

At 20, you are on top of the world. You are confident, ambitious, desirable and likable. You are capable of saying, "Oh! I like him because he likes the same movies that I do and I can talk to him all night long!" instead of just giggling and confessing, "I like him because he's cute!" At 20, crushes take form and have the potential to transform into love. And when love comes around, it knocks you down! :).