Sunday, October 10, 2010

Don't quit


When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit. 

-Edgar A. Guest

* This poem landed in my inbox today. Thank you! :) *

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

When you lack that faith,
to carry on,
When you feel weak,
and can't seem to go on,
When the lights are switched,
but you lie wide awake,
When hopes are dimmed,
or flicker away...

When all "It's alright"s make no sense,
And all the sympathy cracks your defense,
You feel those tears start to sting your eyes,
and your mind says "Don't cry baby, don't cry!"

When you feel powerless and so unsure,
When nothing seems to go right anymore,
Come to me for the brighter side,
I'll show you how to colour those dark gray skies

I'll be your torch, I'll be your star,
I'll be the flow of the water, that carries you far,
Till the sight of the shore your eyes can see,
And the safety of the ground your feet can feel

Cause I know you have the strength to endure,
A little rain can't dampen your soul,
Bounce back and shine, like you always do,
And remember, I'll be there when you do!
Some resolves are never broken.

Some spirits are never dead.

Some friendships last forever :) ,

and somethings never need to be said.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A soft breeze,
On a summer day,
The leaves that rustle,
The trees that sway,

Around us, above us,
Pure happiness shines,
This moment is ours,
Just yours and mine

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why do these tears dry up in me?
They seem so scared to fall,

Lest they stain your rich black shirt,
and leave a trail of love



* Blame the tear jerker movies *

Monday, August 02, 2010

Those little hopes,
That warm my heart,
A leap of faith,
In a world seemingly dark,
An urge to make those dreams come true,
But a little scared, confused and blue.

Big philosophies and tales of success,
Overwhelm me, I must confess,
Sometimes I wonder if I have the nerve,
To rule this world, on my own terms.

I seek comfort while craving the wild,
Inside I am a lost little child?
In a crowd of faces I wish to glow,
And if you ask me How? I do not know.

Words of wisdom fall flat on my ears,
And those of critique heighten my fears,
"What do you want in life?" you ask,
I pause to answer, but my mind's a blank.

I have a thousand voices in my head,
Some yell, some soothe, some seethe, some beg,
Each goal they set for me to chase,
I run after, ambitious, unfazed

I am torn between clashing odds,
Which way to go, which river to cross,
Do I really know what's best for me?
Can I confidently boast of such clarity?

I fret, I aim, I aspire, I pray,
At times, I wish, someone would lead the way,
But I know this is my path to tread,
And I must believe if I have to succeed.

And here I go, with all my might,
To that day where choices prove right,
Cause every tussle must have a win,
Triumphant eyes and a big fat grin.

So, if this phase lasts for a while,
I know I'll keep swimming through,
And someday I'll look back and smile,
And say, "Well! Wow! Whew!"

Monday, June 07, 2010

Strength and 24

When I was 6 years of age, I wanted a white fairy dress. It had a huge bow on the back and lace in the front and was pristine white. It also had a netted underskirt which I was fascinated with. The dress was beautiful, and I was quite convinced that I'd look beautiful in it too.

And I was pretty sure I'd get my wish fulfilled. After all, my birthday was just around the corner. I hinted the way a six year old does, which is pretty direct.

"Mommy, I want that dress!"

My mom nodded. I smiled. Things were so easy when you were six years old.

On the day of my birthday, I eagerly waited for my parents gift. I imagined a big box wrapped with a pink bow, which I'd rip apart, only to find the dress of my dreams within. Everyone would coo and I'd flaunt it. I could hardly wait.

Before the guests were to arrive, I rushed to my mothers bedroom and stretched my hands out to receive my birthday gift. My mother asked me why I wanted it now.

"Becausseee, I want my friends to see me in it mommy!", I yelled enthusiastically.

"Well, okay. Since you insist", she said.

She handed me a big box and I was instantaneously gratified. My dress!! The box was a little bigger than expected, but that just meant my parents had gone the extra mile to do something special for me on my day. I was ecstatic.

I opened it in a hurry. With the wrapping paper off, I quickly lifted the lid of the box to find yellow and blue skates underneath. Fisher Price. I was confused.

"Where is the dress?", I asked.

My father stepped in.

"Sweetie, the dress had a rough netting. It's not good for a girl your age. Maybe when you are slightly older. Okay?", he said.

No it wasn't okay.

"But a girl in my class has the sameeeee one in pink! Her parents allowed her to! Why can't you?", I screamed.

My mother tried to embrace me, and whispered some consoling words. I didn't want to hear any of them. How could my parents be so mean? They had promised! It was my birthday!

"But you promised!! It's my birthday!! ", I started crying now.

"Sweetie..."

I didn't wait to hear the remainder of that sentence.I rushed into my room, threw myself on the bed, and cried as if my world has just ended. I felt sorry for myself and decided I would never talk to my parents again! They had just ruined my birthday party! All I wanted was a dress, and I got skates instead!

The guests started coming soon, and somehow I forgot about the dress and went to play hide and seek. After a while, my mother called me to cut the cake, and as people prodded me to make a wish, I looked up forlornly at my mother.

She sensed what I was hinting at.

"Wish for something dear", she said.

"I had. And I didn't get it!", I whispered back.

"Well, wish that one day you do get it, and wish that you have the strength to enjoy your birthday even without that gift", she suggested.

It didn't make any sense to me. Why would I wish for strength when I had been wishing for a dress instead?

But I wished for strength anyway.

Post that birthday, those skates turned out to be very special. I won my first under-8 gold in the district skating competition. I then moved on to roller skates and won many other golds too. Skating became my passion and I preferred wearing cycling shorts to dresses. And I finally gave those yellow and blue Fisher Price skates to my maids kid, who wanted to skate too.

A week back, I was shopping for my 24th birthday dress. After turning 21, it had become a ritual for me, without me even realizing it.

Nothing caught my eye, and the shopping wasn't distracting me from my funny mood. Suddenly, my birthday didn't seem exciting anymore. I was on non-speaking terms with a close friend, my closest friends weren't in town, and I had heard that the performance bonuses for this financial year were meagre. I went into a self pity mode. All I wanted was a nice birthday dress!

The 6th birthday flashed in my head. And while I held the fabric of a ridiculous looking shiny yellow dress in my hand, I wished for strength. Strength to believe that the tiff would be resolved, strength to believe that even with the distance, I'd still feel the birthday love, strength to believe my bank balance would be higher than my birthday age. And I decided I didn't need a birthday dress.

My 24th birthday turned out to be awesome. My parents gifted me with a nice cheque (Amount shall be undisclosed ;)) and a beautiful bouquet, a friend baked a cake, the non-speaking pact was off, and I got a message, two very sweet emails and a skype birthday song from the dears who weren't near. Oh, I also got a really beany bean bag, which relaxes me just fine. And a birthday song played by a friend cum upcoming mouth organ-ist. If that's a word :) And the day ended with a nice family dinner at a lavish restaurant with good food and drinks.

The day after saw a nice amount being debited to my account, much greater than my age, and extended celebrations with another home-baked cake and lots of dancing!

Looking back, all those things seem petty now. The fight ( it scares me a little now too :p), the fact that your closest friends aren't around and fretting over how much you'll be rewarded.

And I guess you just have to be reminded of what's more important once in a while, and gather the strength to enjoy it. And then, things somehow fall into place.

I'm glad my mother taught me to wish right.

And this weekend, I'll be shopping alright!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Golden Moments

* The writer requests the reader to read the previous post, before starting this, to get the complete golden moment :) *

The next morning, I woke up, disoriented. I groggily remembered what day it was, and what I was supposed to be doing.

I yawned and stretched.

PIDC. The competition. Brilliant dancers. Hot guys who could salsa!
Nah, who was I kidding! Hot guys can't salsa. (Me prayed that God send some guy to prove me wrong and not be gay either! And not be married. Or a teenager)

I moved slowly, the way I move when it's morning and all I want to do is snuggle into my warm bed and dream away to glory. But, that wasn't happening today.

You have bigger things to look forward to today.

I laughed to myself. The things I say to pep myself up! I had already packed everything the night before (making my mom feel proud of me) and so, with nothing left to do in the morning, I resorted to making inquiry calls for my costume, while I waited for my ride. The early morning network congestion ( I don't know why I've added the early morning there, with Airtel, it's almost always congested ) allowed me to send a message, to which I got a short reply "I'm carrying it"

By the time we reached the venue, whole 10 minutes early due to my constant "Move it people" whine, I was super excited.

Oh my god, there ARE international instructors here. They are ACTUALLY here. This is so awesome!


I did my happiness dance, which goes.... oh never mind.

The workshops started on time, and I flashed my "Ha..I told you it would" smug smile, which was greeted by the "Oh please" rolled eyed look. The first workshop of the day was Flamenco, and it involved clapping, slapping yourself on the arms, thighs, and stomping your feet. Throwing a tantrum to the powerful flamenco beat, if you will. And was it fun? Oooo yeh!! It was followed by a Salsa workshop by two super cool Americans, the guy being a total darling, and the girl being sizzling hot. The day progressed through workshops (bboying, cha cha cha, mambo), all of us gushing over the styling in each dance, and very happy about getting this opportunity to learn these different styles.

Post lunch, we decided to go for the Competition Level Salsa dancing workshop, thinking it would add to our confidence level before the competition. It did not. What it achieved was the complete opposite effect, and then suddenly, we didn't want to go up on that stage. That feeling heightened, when we came to know who the judges would be.

We were asked to report at 4 o'clock for the pre-competition instructions, and at around 3:30 pm, my partner realized that he had left his costume at home.

I said three things.

Gooooooooooooooooooo get it!!!

He didn't get the original costume. The black shirt we had decided on, he couldn't find. So he got a purple one instead. I was wearing golden. And by that time, we both gave two hoots to the "costumes should match" concept.
Now would be a good time to explain how the competition is conducted. There are heats. The judges select two couples from each heat, to dance in the finals. The music is played on the spot. So, you dance impromptu. All you have to do is follow your partners lead, dance so that the judges notice you and audience hoots. ( This requires an array of actions and emotions, for example, winking, shaking the bum in a sexy-but-not-slutty way (NOT easy to do :p), smiling, and still staying on beat). Ah, piece of cake.

I was freaking out. My partner (let's call him A ;) ) noticed.

A: Heyy... relax. We are going to rock it. Relax!
Me: Hmmm....
A: Just chill...do your stuff. You'll be awesome. Chill. Relax.
Me: Ahan..hmmm....
A: It's going to be fine, trust me.
Me: We are so doomed! Why are we doing this again!? Oh my god, we are going to bomb on stage!
A: Cheeeeeeeeeeel!

*hug*

Me: Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!

I couldn't oh my god anymore, because they were calling out the numbers. We were couple number 6.

And could we have couple number siixxxxxx on the stage please.
That was us.

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!!

And then, something within me took control. I walked on that stage, with my partner, arms stretched out to greet the audience, a huge smile on my face. My partner spun me, and both of us stood next to each other. And posed.I guess it looked confident. I could see the judges in the front. Heads bobbing. The spot lights glared into me, and I could barely make out where the audience was. I kept smiling though. With chin up.

The song, Michela, came on. The hoo-haa chorus blared through the speaker. And I felt a surge of confidence. My partner lead me into a cross body lead. We had a mini sequence decided, which included most of the salsa steps we had learnt, and the salsa shines. We performed half of it. And then we kept looping the sequence.

When we got off the stage, I was on a high. My heart was beating fast and I kept picturing us, from an eagle eye view. Were we noticed? Did we dance on beat? Would we make the cut?

I was jumpy, and I moved about, venting off that excess energy. Salsa was to be followed by the cha cha. Cha cha was not our strong point. All throughout the "practice" sessions, we had been going off beat. And it had to go cha cha 1,2,3 on the cha cha 1,2,3 beat, else you would be disqualified.

4 couples were on stage for the first round in the first heat, and we were centre stage. Few seconds passed by as hours, and finally Santana's Oye Como Va came on. It had a nice introductory music. I felt that surge of confidence again, and my mind took complete charge of my body. I circled my partner, doing the "girl around the guy walk", and then, instead of turning back to him, I went towards the judges, doing the cha cha lockstep in combination with my own styling. I went right to the front of the stage, giving the judges no option but to notice me, and I did a hip twist, pouted at the audience and sashayed back to my partner. He smiled, happy, and we caught the beat.

The cha cha had infused a confidence in me, and an alluring, bewitching aura surrounded me. I felt seductive, charming, attractive. One and a half minute of pure, unadulterated dancing. I wondered what professionals felt like.

We bowed to the judges and the audience and walked off the stage. My partner was simply excited over the cha cha performance.

A: It wasss aweesommme!
Me: *giggles*
A: We are so going to win!
Me : Shut up!
A: Ok, atleat get into the next heat. Finals!
Me: Ok, that seems possible.

We could see the judges handing their score sheets to the volunteers. Techno beats had now replaced the very smooth Santana, and I felt my heart beat in rhythm to it.The sheets were gathered, and the host walked up on stage to announce the finalists for the salsa heat. There were 9 couples, and 4 would be selected. Our previous heats' routine started playing over and over in my head.

Had I spun correctly? Did he do his cross body leads correctly? Why didn't we do the flick? Oh wait, we did. Did it look like a flick?


The host spoke.

And the first couple into the finals isssssssssss....any guesses?

Okay, I honestly don't know the numbers of the couples who made it in. I remember there was a 2, and a 1. And maybe a 3. My heart was pounding so hard, that it drowned out all the other voices. It just kept a filter for 6.

Say six. Please. We can't be out now. Oh crap, we are out.

Couple number not 6.
Cheering. Applause

Keep cool. There are 3 more places to go.

The next couple is...numberrrr...... any guesses?
Some yelled 4. Some yelled 6. I yelled along with them. Silently.

Couple number not 6!
More cheering. More applause.

2 more places to go. My partner held my hand.

Okay, so two more places to go. Could we have couple number.. 1/2/3/4/5/not 6/7/8/9 on the stage please!
This was it. There was one place left. My mind was blank now. I had some emotion, which I can't aptly describe, coursing through me. I imagined composing a "I didn't get through" message to my family and friends. I imagined their sympathetic replies.

No, no, say couple number 6. Say it. Now!
He took a long pause. I hated him.

Anndd last but not the least....

He turned to look at all of us, an understanding, sly smile on his face. Like he found our anxiety amusing, and understood how much importance his next few words held for us. He took his time basking in that self importance.

Couple number..... Couple numbeerrr....
Oh just kill me!

Ssssixxxxxxx!!
Oh my god, I just died. Before I had time to react, my partner had already taken my hand, and was pulling me up the stage stairs . As if on autopilot, I put on a radiant smile, glared back into the spotlights, and sauntered onto the stage. This time, front, corner, left.
They made us turn around so they could see the numbers clearly. Completely taken over by a stage high, I finger signaled our number, and wriggled the 6 standing fingers about.

Host: You don't act it out, you dance it out!
Audience + Me : *laugh*

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the judges laughing too. Had I just earned myself a brownie point?

More at ease now, our pose came naturally. I felt lighter inside, and gauging from my partners grip, I felt him feel ease out too.

Careless Whisper's latino version started to play. Buying time to catch the beat, I performed a body wave, with my hand extending over my head and then coming down to settle on my hip, and from there I gave it to my partner. He refused to take it. He didn't feel the beat was right. Without wasting time or showing shock, I quickly did the same thing again, with a little more oomph this time, and now when I gave him my hand, he quickly lead me for a cross body lead ending with a spin.

We looped the same sequence, with more confidence and style added to it. A bit of familiarity too. Somewhere in the middle of the sequence, his spectacles slipped off. But he was really good in recovering from that! Leading me with one hand, he quickly slipped them back on with the other, smiled at me nonchalantly, and continued the sequence. Admirable!
One and a half minute, and the final salsa heat was over. Now, it would be cha cha cha time. And then, the verdict would be out. Now only if we made it into this heat too, I thought. Again, 9 couples, 4 would be selected.

I was quite confident about being in the finals for cha cha, and honestly speaking, I thought we'd win the silver. But I guess I was getting too ahead of myself.

The host walked up on stage again. He garnered the audience's applause by stating what an awesome heat it was, and then spoke about the sponsors who made it possible to have such a brilliant heat. Okay!

Moving on with the cha cha finals.... the four couples....in random order... couple number sixxxxx....
The wait wasn't an excruciating one this time. I whispered to my partner, asking him to lead me centre stage again. And thats exactly what he did. We waited for the three other couples to join us.

The song came on instantly. I don't know the name. All I can remember is the way it started. Loud. Energetic. I was sold. I quickly glanced at the other couples. All of them had started dancing, either doing a fan, the hockey stick, or the chasse. I refused to do so. What else could I do? I decided to repeat the cha cha lockstep towards the judges. I'd just modify it a bit. I didn't know how until I reached the front edge of the stage. I looked directly at the judges this time, brought my hands up to my head, resting lightly on my hair, did a half spin, looked over the shoulder, back down to the judges, then up to the audience, and alternately lock stepped back to my partner, who, guessing I would pull that again, waited in pose, with a slight smirk on his face.

The rest of the sequence is a blur to me. It's like a tape being fast forwarded, till the part where we bowed and walked off stage. I had to perform in an hours time, so we were immediately shoo-ed to the changing rooms. Never being the kind to discuss a performance/test after having given it, I tried to remain inconspicuous to everyone around. At the same time, I was bursting with curiosity.

Suddenly, I heard a loud cry from behind, and felt myself engulfed in a hug.

You were amazing!! It was so good! Goldennn girrll!
I laughed nervously. Yeah? It was good? We didn't make utter fools of ourselves?

Noooooo!! Not at all! You are winning! Everyone was like that golden girl was goood!Believe me!
Okay, she was just being nice. I had to summarize that to, You didn't completely goof up on stage and people won't point at you and laugh.

Aren't you a surprise package?! That was not bad, not that bad. Actually!
There. Now that seemed normal.

You nailed it girl! That walk towards the judges for cha cha.... doneee! Doneee!!Sold!

By now, I was getting excited and nervous. In equally strong doses. I wanted to sit and ask more, hear more, and at the same time I wanted to flee and not hear anything, lest I raised my hopes too high, and got burned later. And had to send that "Oh, didn't win. But had good fun! Great experience" message. I was freaked out, and my mind was incoherent.

I quickly changed into my performance outfit, a teal, silver and purple masterpiece, which had initially failed to cover me properly. Now it fit snug, thanks to last minute alterations, and I was able to dance without worrying about what showed from where.

Rid of all the competition pressure, I thoroughly enjoyed performing on stage and loved the audience's encouragement. It, however, got over before it started. Stupid theory of relativity. (Hmpf, Einstein!)

We had a break after the performance, and before the prize distribution ceremony. I spent that time with other friends who had competed, those who I knew, so I wouldn't have to hear about how surprisingly good or pathetically bad I was. I kept getting occasional comments though, (honestly?) positive, and some friends kept gushing over the whole act. I got occasional smiles from random people, who must have recognised me from stage, and I felt the next one hour was going to be quite suspenseful. And I was antsy.

We were eventually ushered into the auditorium. The time had come, and after dazzling performances, which held us in awe, we were brought back to reality and were suddenly hyper excited.

The moment you all have been waiting for.... Prizes.. sponsored by bla bla bla..thanks to bla bla bla... so without further ado...bla bla bla..bla bla bla...bla bla bla... so without further ado...bla... here are the prizes for the Latin socials....
This meant the salsa. I spotted my partner sitting in the row in front and flashed him a quick smile. He grinned back. I laughed.

The runners up for Latin Socials areeee..... any guesses...?
The audience, probably as anxious to get on with it already, yelled random numbers. Some being 100, 4000, and -infinity.

The host, getting the hint, announced the runners up. They were not couple six.

I started typing the "Lost in salsa. Let's see, hope to get something in Cha cha" message.

And the winners of the Latin Socials arree....
I started picking out my message recepients from the address book. Mom, dad,

areee...couple number siixxxxx!
Couple number six, cousin, best friend,

What?! Couple number who won the Latin socials?

I sat dumbstruck in my seat. Someone behind tousled my hair and yelled a "I TOLD YOU". I heard plenty of congrats and woo-hoos. And I got up, and saw my partner waiting at the end of the aisle. I broke out into a light springy run, and felt a huge smile forming on my face. We went up on stage together, but not before exchanging a "We won? We won? Weeeeeeee? Wheeeeeee!!". I was pretty formal to receive the award. It still hadn't sunk in. Not until I saw the trophy and the gold medal was placed around my neck. Then, it started sinking in. Slowly.

We both got off the stage, still not sure of how we won! It seemed unreal. It felt awesome. We scanned the audience for familiar faces, and as we were about to head back to our seats, a volunteer told us to hang back. I looked at my partner, quizzically.

Maybe they want all the winners up on stage for a photo once all the prizes are out, I thought.

So we hung back, playing with our medals and gazing at the trophy.

So moving on, we now have the winners for the Latin Cha cha beginners....
I looked up to cheer, and caught a volunteer from my dance school winking at me. She smiled slyly and looked away. Realisation dawned on me, and I turned towards my partner, excitedly.

Me: We are winning the silver in Cha Cha!!!
A: Yeah? Really?
Me: Yeah! P just smiled at me now, and why else would they make us stand here?! Or maybe she was just smiling like that? No, but why would she do that? I think we are winning the silver!
A: Awesome!! I like what you think!

I liked it too. A silver and a gold. That would be so awesome! I thought of the message I would send now. "One gold, one silver. :D :D :D". And the replies! Oh, the replies!

In runners up we have..... couple number not sixxxx.
Applause.

What?!?Weren't we winning the silver? Had I gotten ahead of myself?Drat! Why did I have to imagine that message! Now I'll have to compose a "One gold" one. We weren't winning silver!Then why did she have to smile like that! Where is she?!
I looked up and now I saw her grinning at me. Was she stupid?

Why was she grinning now? Like I'm going to win the gold... ooo my god.. was I going to win the gold?
I looked over at my partner. He was checking out his medal, oblivious to the flurry of thoughts I had raging in my head.

You don't win two golds. Who wins two golds? You don't win two golds. Maybe it's the winner picture. Then, who was winning this? Could somebody just tell me!
My partner now looked at me, suddenly as curious.

And the winners....well..today is a good day indeed for them, is couple numbeerrrr sixxx!!!
I gasped.

You DO win two golds! I had just won two golds! Two golds! Meee? Meee? Meeee!!
I was so happy! I looked at my partner, and he had an incredulous look on his face. We both bounded up the stairs. Another trophy. Two more medals. Incredible!

Holding a trophy each, and the medals clanking against each other, we rushed into the audience, and immediately found ourselves in a big group hug. Everyone was so happy! There was cheering, hugging, yelling! Euphoria! I was still in shock, in suprise, it just wasn't sinking in.

Call your mom!You won!
I quickly took my phone from a friend, and after realising there was no network connectivity (I can't believe Airtel has those sentimental "express your emotions" ads), I texted everyone I could! And it read, "Two golds!"

In seconds, I got a plethora of calls and messages (Thank you :) ). All jubilant. All proud. I
couldn't wait to get home.

I didn't stay for the party that night. I rushed home as soon as possible, and hugged my mom and dad, and showed off the medals with the enthusiasm of a 6 year old. We clicked pictures and I showed them the video of the dance and pictures of the event.

I was on a tired high, and after eating some rice, simply due to my moms insistence, I dozed off. I had a dreamless night.

But I had the most amazing next day morning.

Golden dress. Golds. Golden girl.

I leaped out of bed.

I couldn't wait to start the day!


P.S. I passed the test too :D


Friday, March 26, 2010

The pre-not-so-golden moments

I want to write this, cause I don't want to forget it. If possible, I want to capture each emotion felt, from beginning to end.

In February, I had one exam to give. An exam I wasn't really keen on, knowing that I would not be prepped well enough, and I couldn't possibly achieve the required 2-3 years work experience (which the exam demanded) from a downloaded pdf. I cribbed about it, and my friends cribbed with me. (Darlings that they are :) ), and I knew I couldn't escape it. It just wasn't an option. I had to gather myself and give it, and I tempted myself into doing so, by imagining how great life would be after I gave it.

So what, I thought, it's just one exam. How tough could it be? Study, study for about 2 months, and just give it. Piece of cake. Would have been. But it wasn't meant to.

Around mid February, the dance school where I shimmy and shake, decided to play host to an international dance congress and arrange a tempting array of workshops, from belly dancing, to the mambo, from salsa casino rueda to popping. And boy, was I tempted. Learning these styles from those awesome dancers?! Hell yeah!

And then began the turmoil. The balancing act. I asked my mom, and she gave me a bewildered look. Her exact words were, Whats to manage? Right. What was there to manage? Work, study, go for the workshops for three days. Have the syllabus covered till then. I was fretting for no reason. It still was a piece of cake.

A week later, that piece of cake decided it didn't want to be just a piece of cake anymore. What was the fun in that? So, it decided to morph. I got a call from one of the instructors saying I was selected for team A and that practice would start the next day, at sharp 6 AM. Whats to rejoice? Well, Team A was team A. It meant that we would get to perform, on the final day, in front of all those awesome international instructors and crowd, and come down from the stage receiving the showered compliments oh so modestly. And who was selected for team A? Me!

After rejoicing and making phone calls to share the happiness, to people who did not understand what team A was all about, but woohoo-ed anyway, reality started to dawn upon me. Morning 6am to 8 am practice. Then work. Then study? That piece of cake was starting to get lodged in my throat now.

Deep breaths.

The situation was still in control. I'd practice in the morning, it was just for a week anyway. Work. And then study in the evening. Plus, I had the weekend. No friends on weekends, no movies. Just study. I mulled over it, and finally decided, this is how it would be. Friends would understand. Ofcourse they would. Not that they had a choice anyway. Right, so I could still swallow that piece of cake. No worries.

Practice started as planned, at 6 AM sharp ( a minute late, and you were screwed) and I have never been that exhausted in the mornings. The song was a fast one, and I was literally all over the place. I spun off balance, and I spun too slow. And I elicited frowns and tsk tsk(s). Not being one to quit, though my body begged me to, I pushed myself harder. I used to come home dead tired in the morning, just about manage a power nap (which I made myself believe would carry me through the day), have breakfast and rush to work. To keep my promise of studying in the evening, I would try to read a few pages, often ending up digressing or sleeping in the process. Impressing my way into the final team meant so much to me, that I actually took time out to learn a quick handstand and did so disregarding the muscle ache. As fate would have it, the handstand for the girls was scrapped out of the choreography, and I was scrapped out of the dream team. I was annoyed, frustrated, and I felt like I had been on a roller coaster after just having eaten. My limbs ached, I was sore, I hadn't studied, and I wasn't getting to perform on stage. I was a mixed bag of disappointment, relief, fatigue, and tension.

And then to make matters better, or worse, my dance teacher put us in a consolatory team B. Team B would have 3 dances, and practice again, from 6-8 am. My body screamed no. My mind went into overdrive, and I had no idea if I wanted in or out. Say no, say no, study and just go enjoy the workshops. Hell with the performance.

But I said yes. By this time, my reasoning capacity found it hard to deal with my silly surge of ambition, and just gave up. It was the classic, if you can't beat them, join them situation. I wish I could say I had an idea of where I was going and that I had a "plan", and that I could answer the "Why are you doing this again?" question with some amount of aplomb. I couldn't. I was just going with the flow, too confused to reason with myself, and too deep to back out. So, I continued to get up in the mornings, go to work, and come home and read pages. I postponed all plans with friends/family till April, and my list of calls to return kept growing huge.

Somewhere in the beginning of the month, in which all this was supposed to take off or crash land, a close friend happened to come down for a visit. She was super excited and so was I. Plans for stayovers, parties, and hanging out were being made, and suddenly, 24 hours didn't cut it anymore. Each minute seemed to count, and I felt like I was chasing time while it leaped away from me.

She left in a weeks time, and I was a week and a half away from the event. I wasn't sure if I was in team B either, as I was against 5 girls who were a level higher in the school of dance, and while we had 6 guys to partner up with, one guy's place in the whole performance was questionable. And if he went, I was told I would have to go. So, the story went like this..I was practicing every morning from dawn, for two hours, for a choreography I had no idea whether I would be a part of, whereas I should have been reading more pages? Yes, that was the story.

Throughout this whole madness that had become my life, I hadn't lost those silly surges of ambition. Or stupidity. Or sheer insanity. Call it what you like. While practicing one afternoon, my dance teacher thought it would be a neat idea to put in 16 spins on the introductory piece of the music. Naturally, he asked us to show him if we could do so. Having come straight from a friends place, I didn't have the customary socks with me. And the rule in dancing is, you don't spin without socks. Especially not on a rough terrace floor. But, as I mentioned before, my reasoning capacity had called it quits, and so with nothing to stop me, I spun. X into 16 times. I can't recollect X.

X must have been a nice whole number though, and it made its wholeness known. The next day I got up with calluses all over the soles of my feet. I felt proud. I shouldn't have.

A day later, they grew into a big blister, that spread from my little pinky toe to my big non pinky toe, and covered the ball of my right foot. I went for practice anyway. And I danced.

Again, I probably shouldn't have.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the situation with my foot got worse. The next morning, I had to miss practice. The blister was full, it was soft, and I couldn't touch the ball of my right foot to the floor. I limped, and it hurt. Since I had to balance my weight on my left foot and the side of my right foot, I started having back pain. Realising it wasn't going to harden soon or burst with the puss and water it had lovingly accumulated, I had to get the blister surgically drained. This meant that the skin had to be cut off post draining, and I couldn't dance for two days. I was a week away from the event.

As luck would have it, (yes, luck does figure into the story somehow), dance practice was canceled for those two days and was rescheduled for the weekend. And that wasn't practice, that was going to be elimination. It was deciding time.

Having been warned not to dance for two days, I spent those two days revising that sequence in my mind. I believe (at the risk of sounding corny) that if your mind can conceive it, you can achieve it. It was time to put that belief to test. I'd revise expressions, the sequence and imagine the body movements. I had created a third person view, and I would critique my dance in my head.

D-day came soon enough ( it always does). By now I had rehearsed the sequence mentally, more than those X into 16 times that gave me that monumental blister. And then, I showed it off. I danced with abandon, while my mind counted each beat.

123...567...123...567...pause..smile...spin...stop...half split..bodywave...123...567...

My face was pulled into an (hopefully) oomph-ish pout (smiling in salsa makes you look like a dork. Unless its once of those island songs that go la la la la la) and my mind kept guiding me.

Lopsided smile now, pout now, little steps, count your spins, spot your partner, listen to the beat!

When it was done, I stood, huddled amongst the group, mentally preparing myself for disappointing comments and decisions. Being slightly more realistic than optimistic, I don't believe that the effort you take necessarily transforms into those amazing moments of satisfaction people keep dreaming about. Sometimes it does, and it almost always does in movies, but I'm no actress.

Excellent energy... very good expressions... you are obviously in. But obviously! Mine would say something like You are still not getting the spins right. A tsk. Next time maybe, practice your spins. I'd be lucky if the critique was just limited to spins.

I sighed, and broke out of my reverie (if that's a right word for such kind of musings), to look up at the object of such assuring praise. And my teacher was looking straight at me. I looked down, embarrassed. Couldn't he just praise that person without having me feel bad? Must he be so direct with his disappointment?

Really good... Nice..the 6 couples are done then. Practice this week, and I'll see you guys on Wednesday.

Great. I was out. He, as decided, had taken the 6 good couples.. wait a minute, did he say 6? Did that mean I waaa... I looked up, and was suddenly engulfed in a hug. Peeking over the shoulder of my partner hugging me, I saw smiles directed at me.

You are in baby! We are performing. Wooohooo! Told yaaaaaaaaaa!

Oh my god! I was in! I was in, babbeeyyyyyyyy! I was in. It was done. I would perform, and now with this tension of being selected gone, I could focus on the exam preparation. I could still swallow that piece of cake!

Not quite.

With the team being selected, my dance teacher asked us if we were competing. I avoided his gaze and admired the neighbouring trees instead. What green leaves!

Trees don't do much to make you inconspicuous though. He asked me about my participation directly. And I wished the Earth would just open up that very moment, and give me refuge.

I have an exam, I said, for work.

He wasn't impressed. He raised an eyebrow.

No time,
I sputtered.

Time for what? You just have to go on stage, wait for the music to play, and dance. He looked at me, disapprovingly.

And suddenly, he had an idea.

Lets simulate the enviroment here. I'll play random music, and you all pick up the beat and start dancing. Let's do it!

Whaaaaaaaaat? I looked up at the sky, and almost expected to see God with a huge grin on his face, enjoying the scene on that hot terrace.

So I parterned up with a friend, and waited for the cue music. It was the cha cha.

I would love to elaborate on the cringe worthy dancing that followed, but I'm in no mood to thoroughly entertain you. So, the gist of the dance on random music with the correct style was as follows :-
  • I couldn't dance on beat
  • I couldn't follow the leads
  • We wouldn't even be considered as competition
I'm still not sure how I ended up registering for the competition. It's a question that amuses me till date.

4 days before the competition and the performance, we were given our costumes for trials. The fabric was a skin hugging one, and also one that had a tendency to ride up. Plus, it was 2 inches way too short, in addition to being short.

Was this a sign? Was I not supposed to do this at all? Were these signals from those almighty people above, telling me to take a U turn? Or was it a test of patience and perseverance?

I was confused.

And the confusion wasn't about to end. The day before the competition, we realized, we being my partner and myself, that we couldn't co - ordinate a costume. We had no colours in common, and finally we decided to go - him all black, and myself in a red singlet and a black skirt. Those were dull costumes. I then called a friend, who I remembered had a nice blue costume. She told me she didn't have it with her,and redirected me to another friend who had a golden costume. She agreed to let me have it, and we decided to meet in the evening, so I could try it out, lest there be any problems with the fitting.

We didn't meet that evening. That meant I would be trying out the costume the day of the competition, and no alterations could be made if it didn't fit.

I slept that night, very exhausted.

Tomorrow would be some day. And maybe I would choke on that piece of cake.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I sat looking at the textured pattern on the wall. It was golden, with white flowers and leaves. My mother had reworked it four times, till she felt the texture maker dude had done it justice. It was such a soothing pattern, and especially under the three spotlights, it looked magnificent. My mother's a creative genius.

I looked outside the dining room windows, at the swing and the trees that surrounded it. The chimes hung in the window swayed gently, giving out pleasant and perfectly distanced albeit different notes. It was a cool night, and the white bougenville that creeped along the outside perimeter made a soft rustling noise.

I decided to move from the chair and sit in the window. I loved the fact that the window ledge was just broad enough for me to sit on. I just fit.

I scanned the entire frontyard. The rose bush. The hibiscus. The mogra. The magnolias.The palm. The other small potted plants I didn't know the names of. I'll call them the cute little flowers. The swing. And the other potted plants that hung from it's shed, with their leafy branches overflowing. The overhead awnings.

I sat there. I sat there, a little more.

A soft breeze sent a shiver through me, and I headed towards my room.

A floral blanket lay folded at the edge of my bed, and I wasted no time snuggling into it.

As I lay, waiting for sleep to claim me, I realised I was suddenly very calm. A big fat smile spread on my face, and I nestled in deeper.

Deep breaths ensued.....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Untitled

I leap a little everyday,
sometimes making the distance,
I confront a little everyday,
sometimes striking a balance

I trust a little everyday,
sometimes building the faith
I help a little everyday,
sometimes never too late

I look higher a little everyday,
sometimes seeing the sky,
I look deeper a little everyday,
sometimes liking what I find

I love a little everyday,
sometimes surging the heart
I dream a little everyday,
sometimes living it all

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Of life and pain :)

There are two types of people in this world.

One, who believe in everything that is good.
And the second, who chose not to believe in everything that is good.

And they both suffer from pain.

What happens to the first kind is, they can still reflect on this pain with warmth, and smile through it. They stare the world in the face, and ask for more. They live without fear, and with a renewed vigour.

The second kind feel vulnerable. They live with apprehension, always afraid to take that plunge and make that leap. They fear there won't be anyone to catch, should they fall, never realizing that they could make the perfect landing.

The first breathe life, and the second exhale it.

The first kind stand, touch and look up. The second kind shirk, wallow, and cave in.

The first kind feel they are beyond the pain. And the second kind feel they cannot bear the pain.

And the funny thing is, both have already borne the pain.




*Inspired from a quote by Saint Bartholomew. It goes "Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain.But you have already borne the pain. what you have not done is feel you are beyond the pain." *

Friday, January 15, 2010

Drown your sorrows in chocolate...

I feel crappy often enough.

And I usually cry it out, or crib about it, or just get some friend to give me a big hug.

Or I sulk. Like today!

But then, there was this one thing I had forgotten I used to do.

Few years ago, an artistic friend and a docile and disbelievingly innocent friend of mine, along with me, were attempting to crack the toughest exam in India, the IIT-JEE. Ok, we weren't attempting, we were kidding ourselves with thoughts of.

So, we used to do miserably. I don't even have to say I'm not kidding.

This used to upset that innocent friend of mine. And I couldn't stand her being like that.

So, in a very chirpy voice, which I could carry off then, I used to tell her,

"Let's drown our sorrows in some nice chocolate icecream!!"

Today, about four years later, I sat feeling like a useless thing..person. I was a clumsy daughter, a never there friend, and recently I had started spitting fire.

And this upset me.

I guess she couldn't stand me being like that.

So, in a very chirpy voice, which she can carry off, she said,

"Let's drown our sorrows in some nice chocolate icecream!!"

I never knew she actually did.

The beauty of friendship is that your friends can remember these little things you used to say and do, and love you for the same. And when you feel like complete scum, they can make you feel like lovable scum. And they remind you, that you are important. Cheers to friendship!

I'm really sorry for not being the nicest person to have around. A big fat thank you to all of you for being tolerant and nice, nevertheless. I can only hope, I deserve it :)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Should stick to writing blog posts.

* wails *