Archive | March 2012

achingly beautiful story..

Natasha Metzler

I think of it as the summer I learned love. My move to the little house with the apple tree and lilac bushes was marked in my mind for a reason far deeper than a change of residence. It was the summer the doctor looked at me sadly and said that children would never be mine. It was the summer my mother-heart broke and bled and dreams crumbled in heaps around my feet. It was the summer life grew and blossomed and the inside-me finally understood.

I met them one afternoon. My feet were aching from hours in heels and my eyes were tired from working at a computer screen. A knock at the door and I looked down into the purest chocolate eyes I had ever seen. Not just one pair but three. Stepping stones of little girl smiles.

They walked into my kitchen and into my heart. I…

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LET THERE BE LIGHT

It happened this Tuesday night. We(meaning my husband and me) were away and our daughter was ‘Home Alone’. BTW she’s 17 so that’s not such a big thing really. In fact, that’s usually the norm. She hates to go anywhere out with us unless its for Pizza, a movie or a trip to the mall. We were on our way back when we received a call from her informing us that there has been a power failure in our area of the city. That got me a tad bit worried. Why?  YOU would ask. There was no worry about her safety as we live in a multi-storey building and all the neighbors on our floor are very nice and friendly.

The reason was that we live in Gujarat, one of the few states in our country that’s power surplus. That means we very rarely face a power failure. As a result, my daughter, ever since she was a little girl has been afraid of power failures (Power failures and not necessarily the dark as she sleeps with all lights turned off). As she grew older she would try to put up a brave face whenever such a situation arose but I knew the fear was there as she would hover around me, touch me on some pretext or the other.

But this Tuesday she was all alone and I knew she would not be enjoying the situation she was in. So I urged my husband to drive faster and on reaching home I nearly ran up the 8 floors to our apartment( no electricity,remember? so no elevators). The sight that greeted me on reaching home was wondrous. Our whole home was lighted up. She had used every candle, every earthen lamp,she could lay hands on and lit them up. My home seemed to be celebrating an early Diwali.

LESSONS I LEARNT AT THE DANCE CLASS

I loved Saturday nights at my boarding school. Saturday evenings after supper was the “recreation time”. All the girls (8th std onwards) got together in the school hall or the “rec. hall” as we called it on Saturday evenings, music would be turned on and we would spend the next two hours swinging and grooving to the music. We jived, waltzed and discoed, invented our own versions of fox-trot and cha-cha, copied the moves of dancing stars and later when MJ and his ‘Thriller’ arrived on the scene he had all of us girls walking backwards. That was a period of my romance with ‘Dance’.

Time moved on. I went to the college, completed my education and then got married and became a part of a large joint family. My life was now centered around my husband, my family and my home. I thought my dancing days were over.

But then I got lucky and got a chance to put on my dancing shoes once again. My husband and I decided to take some dance lessons. Only now I was in my late thirties and not shaken a leg for over a decade and a half. On the first day of my class I was filled with apprehension and very conscious of my now overweight status amidst the slimmer ones. I was very sure that I wouldn’t be able to move let alone dance. Then they turned on the MUSIC…

That was 5 years ago. Now my class days are the high points of my week. No matter how tired I may be I always find the energy to dance. Have learnt a lot of dance moves over the years but some of the best lessons I got went beyond the dancing-

LESSON 1- Be comfortable with the person that YOU are

As I mentioned earlier when I joined the class I was one of the oldest and the roundest persons in my batch.( I still am). I was deeply conscious about the way I looked and constantly compared myself to the other women/girls in the class. That prevented me from completely letting go and enjoy doing what I loved. After giving a great deal of thought I decided to come to terms with the person that I was- physically and in my heart. I sort of ‘liberated’ myself from the burden of being the person I seemingly wanted to be.  And without that burden I began to truly enjoy myself and I believe made me a better performer. I was able to look at my mistakes and weaknesses more rationally and work on them comparing myself with only my former self.

LESSON 2- “Let’s Try”-

Sometimes when our instructors demonstrated steps that seemed (to me) impossible to perform or tried my hand …errr …legs at a new dance form, I would be filled with self doubt and my first reaction would be “how the hell am I going to do that?” but then I would say to myself “let me try” and more often than not , after about a week of working on it repeatedly, I would be doing it effortlessly. Powerful words those “let’s try”. They make you push your boundaries, make you believe in yourself and put up a fight against your own mediocrity. And I also learnt that its okay to give up if you are unable to do something AFTER  having given your maximum effort. You are not a failure.

LESSON 3- Break up a problem-

This happens time and again. We would be shown a series of steps that involved a lot of twists and turns and going under and over the arms/legs of our partner and once again I would feel overwhelmed. But then our instructors would proceed to break the series up into small parts of about 4 counts or a bar(8 counts) and before long I would be performing like a pro (that’s just for saying. Nowhere near a pro)   I do believe that this could be applied to a quite a few situations in life too. Would really solve quite a few of our problems.

LESSON 4- Face your fears-

I had plenty when I first joined. “am I doing it right?”, “am I looking funny doing this?” “is someone looking at me?” and such. All of this made me uncomfortable or pushed me into a shell. Facing the fears, one at a time, head on, simply by forcing myself to do what I’d rather avoid, made me aware that most of my fears were a figment of my imagination, that melted away once confronted. I’ve almost totally gotten over my stage fear or even speaking in front of an audience (so long as I know what I’m talking about) when I tackled them head-on. Have been applying the principle ever since and am able to constantly surprise myself.

LESSON 5- Mind is all powerful-

By this I mean that we tend to limit ourselves by underestimating our strengths, our abilities or even our own selves as a whole. But the mind is powerful. When it sets a goal for itself, surprisingly it can achieve that, physically or mentally. All we need to do is to have faith in ourselves and push ourselves that little bit more and set our mental meters that much higher, and we’ll be amazed what we can do.

By writing this I do not mean to say that I’m now perfect or I’ve arrived..no.. far from that. I’m still a work in progress. Everyday I face a new challenge, a new fear and have to constantly put my faith back in myself and the blessings of God, love and support of my family and friends are the pillars that hold up that faith.

So I hope and aspire to continue dancing not just at the classes but in life too till the curtains fall.

great post. makes a lot of sense. thanks for sharing.

Live & Learn

We’ve all either given or received the career advice: “Follow your dreams.”  “Do what you love.”  “Love what you do.”

Recently, there have been an increasing number of counterarguments making the case that if we were all going to “do what we love,” we’d starve doing it.

I came across a 2006 post by Paul Graham: “How To Do What You Love” that offers what may be the best thought-leadership on the subject that I have read.

Graham is an essayist, programmer, and investor. In 1995, he co-developed the first web-based application, Viaweb, which was acquired by Yahoo in 1998. He has an AB from Cornell and a PhD in Computer Science from Harvard, and studied painting at RISD and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence.  Graham’s blog is one of the most followed in the blogosphere.

It is an essay (longish for those of us with…

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A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER

My sweet Baby,

I know you don’t like me to call you a baby anymore but you are and always will be my baby no matter how old you get. I’m writing this letter because there are so many things I want you to know but am unable to tell you when we are together. Things that are lost in our trivial chatter. We talk about so many things and yet I fail to say the most important thing there is and that’s ‘I LOVE YOU’. Yes, I’ve said it many times to you, when you were happy or sad or when putting you to bed or just like that.. but I want you to know that I love you even when I don’t say it and everything between you and me, the hugs and kisses, the anger, the over-protectiveness, everything stems from this single emotion.

The moment I held you in my arms, was the most beautiful moment of my life. A tiny life, a part of my flesh and blood and a piece of my soul had been placed in my hands to cherish and care for, to keep safe from all the hurts, pains and trials of life. And that scared me, really scared me to the core of my being.

So if I have seemed to you to be over- cautious, over-protective, intrusive or even domineering, its because I don’t want you to get hurt ever-physically or emotionally. Emotionally more because I know how sensitive a person you are. You trust people easily and open your heart fully to them and leave yourself vulnerable to hurt, when expectations are not met with. I know this is part of growing up, part of life and learning and will make you wiser but it horrifies me to see you in pain and makes me want to shield you from it.

Coming back to us, we share beautiful moments together and yet there are times when there is a certain drift between us. That could be because you are growing up and want to assert your individuality, you don’t like to be dictated or told what’s ‘good for you’ and so an invisible wall is created between us, that I would like to tear down. I would like you to trust me completely with your feelings, dilemmas and hope that you are able to share your innermost thoughts with me.

I have not been the best of parent at all times and have made my fair share of mistakes. At times I may have seemed aloof to you or occupied with my own world or maybe even selfish, but believe me it was never intentional or meant to hurt you in any way. It’s just that as a person I have my own wishes, dreams and insecurities. Insecurities as in, I feel time flying away, slipping between my fingers. There are many things I’m already too old to do but there are many things I would like to do before I get older. I would like to live my life as fully as possible and in a way that would make you proud to be my daughter.

And this is what I want for you and from you—to LIVE your life.

Be HAPPY and remember it’s not a crime to think of your happiness, only it should not be at the expense of anyone else’s happiness. Feel the grace of God within you and you’ll find happiness everywhere and in every little thing around you.

Do away with anger. People are not going to be what you want them to be. So change your attitude towards them. Don’t let anyone control your emotions, coz if you decide not to be angry no one can make you and in calmness you’ll find peace and clarity of thought.

DREAM-dream big. Follow your dreams and never give up on them. And always believe that god has the best plan for you. If something doesn’t seem right NOW then maybe God has other better plan for you.

And that brings me to Faith. Have faith in the supreme power. But also have faith in yourself. You are one unique person, an individual with your own personality. Believe in yourself and make it your strength. Face your fears and you will come out a stronger person.

Now that you are on the threshold of adulthood, like a young bird spreading its wings for the flight beyond its nest, I wish you the sun, the moon and the stars. Reach out for them and the world will be yours.

And lastly I want you to know that you make me proud. You have enriched my life in ways beyond explanation.

Love you always.

Ma