I grew up with the determination and self reminders that the only goal I will cultivate, will be to forge a path of self discovery, to become someone of substance and to find comfort in the simplest, smallest yet the most substantial things. All thanks to my aunt who had discouraged my admission to La Martiniere Girls’ College- a school beyond the reach of a middle class family as ours. What if, she said, the luxurious lives of most of the students would make me envious and an overbearing child with unaffordable whims and fancies. Turns out, I am the veritable opposite of how she had envisioned.
The wisdom and views I hold today were built eventually, because of umpteen factors; situational and dispositional. Externally, unlike many others, I was privileged to get a suitable home environment, devoid of excessive pressure or neglect. At the onset of my school life, I was catapulted into action. I was enlisted to a dance class at the age of eight where I learnt Kathak. Class six onwards, I attended acting workshops, conducted by playwrights who wrote realist plays deft with strokes of social evils, hence the forging of my consciousness towards the social dogmas there and then. This triggered my affinity for performing arts.
Right when I was absorbing the ugly truths of the society I live in, I came to know uglier facts at home; my mother was denied further studies after marriage under the guise of ‘financial constraints’. I say ‘under the guise’ because thereafter she was expected to help my father with the family business. It shattered my faith in familial obligations. It shattered the bubble I was living in. Flashes of my mother- a woman of so much caliber, intellect and endowments- giving up on her dream to become a chartered accountant came before my eyes. It led me to wonder how the world you create can be sabotaged by someone else if you do not hold on it tight enough. So, I resolved to dare to dream, find that dream and hold on to it.
Fortunately, the favourable environment at home acted as a bedrock for me to make the most of the holistic education at school which thereafter exposed me to the best reference groups. Apart from academia, I went for the annual school excursions which enhanced my knowledge of the nuances of travelling, adjusting with eccentric people, their idiosyncrasies and adapting to different situations. These gave a sense of independence and wanderlust.
The unbridled urge to participate and be around intellectual minds gave me an opportunity to get on the stage a lot of times. Introspectively, I feel that the stage has taught me more than any person ever could. It has honed my performing skills and taught me basic principles of life; it has taught me healthy competition, the significance of voicing one’s opinion, the infusion of the soul and the body and the miracles and magic one is capable of.
My unflinching house spirit and the enthusiastic involvement in the affairs of the house got me the coveted badge of the House Captain. To say that the captaincy was anything short of a mock portrayal of life itself, would be an understatement. The pep talks I gave to the girls prior every competition astounded me. When I heard myself, I realized how mature I’ve become and how I define success not in terms of the awards won but the efforts put in.
I felt practically every emotion very intensely and I intend to continue doing that. I aspire to feel. I reiterate to myself that life is all about delving into the transient escapades and keeping up with these eclectic expeditions. I do not let futile thoughts impede my will to keep propelling through the sea of life with its own high and low tides. I see myself taking interviews of substantial people, maybe giving a Ted talk some day and sharing my ideas with the world. I want to hear stories. Tell them. Make them.