Posted in Little Moments

LMT this week

Sniffles, tantrums, meltdowns, mood swings, and dentist appointment, pretty much sum up this week for me. Or at least those rough spots are the ones that come to my mind when I reflect on this week. But if I dig a little deeper, and care to look beyond them, I see a treasure trove of simple joys and little moments buried underneath that I am going to retrieve in this post.

– Three blog posts this week. Yay…! See, I told you, I intend to write often, just that the intention seldom translates into action. So the rare times it does, it’s worth making a big deal out of it.

– After a gap of three weeks, I worked out three days this week. Inertia and momentum are the bane of my existence. It’s hard to get me started and once I get started, I often struggle with the discipline to keep it up. That I made a start this week deserves some cheering up.

– If Hari is giving me chances to revisit my childhood, Ram is giving me opportunities to relive Hari’s childhood. When I drop Ram off at preschool, which is the same one that Hari went to, I unintentionally go back to Hari’s preschool days and the conversations we had from then. Never fails to bring a smile on my face.

– The lightness of being that comes following a confession. “I am not sorry that I was upset with you, but I regret expressing it the way I did. I am sorry for taking it out on you.” Phew! a huge weight off my chest. Doesn’t undo my wrongdoing, but in my humble opinion, an accepted apology is a second (third/fourth/fifth…) chance to get something right.

– No cooking for two nights in a row. Less cooking means less time spent on the accompanying chores and more time spent on things that I want to do than the things that I have to do.

– Indian school resumed last week. Missed Hari and my kids from last year, but equally looking forward to teaching and learning from the new kids this year.

– Residual summer weather. One day I was wrapped in sweater, staying away from smoothie and salads, and the next day, it was hot and humid. That’s New England weather for you. No complaints given that the days of living in winter wonderland is just around the corner. I will take any summer weather I get.

What’s have you been collecting in your treasure trove of little moments?

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Posted in Experiences, Kids, Little Moments, Milestones, Ram Leela

Preschool begins

We had prepared Ram for the transition well in advance. “Ram, you will be going to preschool starting in September. There will be lots of books, new toys, and many friends. Amma will go to office but your teacher will be there. You will play outside. You will go downstairs for nap time, and play some more.Then, amma will pick you up in the evening ok?” He had visited the classroom during orientation the earlier week, so he knew what to expect in the new school.. His teacher had written a letter to him over the summer, and had paid a home visit subsequently, so he was introduced to her as well.

Knowing something intellectually is one thing but practically facing it is a different ball game, isn’t it? Ram, like many toddlers or even grown ups for that matter, thrives on familiarity. Familiar surroundings, familiar routines, and familiar people. He takes time to warm up to change. So I had my fingers crossed for the big day.

Bright and early, he was one of the first kids to arrive on the first day of preschool. Holding on to my little finger, he skipped and hopped while my stomach was in knots. Normally, I can be the grown up in the situation and put it in perspective for the child. But a travel commitment the following day had my anxiety level a notch higher and my maturity level a tad lower. In hindsight, may be I was projecting my emotions on him. As soon as we entered his new classroom, he sprung to the table and started playing with his play doh matter-of-fact. I lingered a little longer to give an extra hug in case the enormity of the situation sunk in later than expected and he had a meltdown.

I needn’t have worried, the kid knew what he was getting himself into. He turned out to be quite the trooper ordering me around – “Go to your office mommy. Bye bye, and have a good day”. Giving him a tight hug and a loud kiss, it was my turn to walk with a spring in my step, as I sent a silent thank you to the powers above. .

.After 8 years of parenting and two kids, if there is one thing I have learnt, it is this – you never know how it’s going to turn out!

Posted in Experiences, Inspiration, Introspection, Learnings, Life, Little Moments, Memories, People

One of a kind experience

The second week of August this year goes down in the book of my life as a week of awesomeness! One that had me feeling incredibly blessed and in a state of bliss. Read on if you are interested in knowing why.

If you are a Bharatanatyam dancer, Dr.Chandrashekar needs no introduction. He is a legend who is known for his precision in executing nrittas. That he is second to none in the abhinaya aspect of the dance is something I witnessed firsthand.

My dance teacher organized a six-day workshop led by Chandrashekhar anna, as she affectionately and respectfully addresses him, during the summer. While I signed up for the workshop in the blink of an eye, come the day of workshop, I was a bundle of nerves – to be dancing for three hours every evening for the next five days? Really, what was I thinking? Not to mention how much of a strain the work life balance is going to be for Da this week. So on and so forth went the stories in my head.

For better or worse, a commitment is a commitment. So I had no choice, but to muster up the courage and show up the first evening. Believe it or not, that was all that was needed. The energy and the spirit of the class melted my apprehensions and nervousness into oblivion. It didn’t matter, whether you were good, better, or best. What counted was you participated, and gave it your personal best.

The classes began with a warm up. Anna took a adavu set, showed variations to it, played with the different permutation and combinations of the beats, and explained the nuances of executing the jathis. Following the warm up, he taught us two pieces over the course of the workshop – pushpanjali that extended to misra alarippu, and a small thillana dedicated to Dwaraka Krishna, which was also set to misram.

Apart from these dance items, he also shared with us bits of his choreographies and gave us a glimpse of what goes into the making of a dance item, which in my mind was the ultimate cherry on the cake! For instance, he showed how he used the four speeds of the first thattu adavu to portray the marching of an army. As the speed increased, it gave the sense that the army was marching closer. Then, he described how he would play with the shadows to come up with different ,mudras –the peacock transformed into a turkey with small change in the mudras. He also showed how he used the different kudhithu adavus and sarrikal advaus to depict street games of India. A fun item to watch as a rasika, but one that involved a lot of rigor and incorporating intricacies while choreographing. He showed us how he narrated Ramayana in passive voice, through the eyes of Sita. He also taught us how the adavu – thath thai thaa haa – is versatile. It is used in all dance forms – Bharthanatyam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Kathakali, Mohinattam and others – with variations in stance and postures. He also explained how one can choreograph creatively for non-traditional topics such as the theory of evolution within the framework of the traditional dance form.

It was very challenging to keep up with the workshop given that my commitments at work left me with practically no time to practice at home. I drenched in the experience as much as I could, grabbing on to every word that fell out of anna’s mouth. Learning not only dance, but some of life’s valuable lessons as well. There is something to be said about the value of hard work and discipline. While talent and flair for dance helps, it is amazing how much one can achieve from sheer hard work, discipline, and mindful practice. Some pearls of wisdom from anna – keep your mind open to new styles without compromising yours, practice, practice and practice, increase your dance vocabulary, and constantly evaluate yourself as a dancer.

I will confess that there was part of me that wished that I was younger, and could grasp all the new pieces like a sponge. I was processing the items intellectually, that’s how my grown up mind absorbed it, instead of going with the flow with great elan. Thankfully, there was another part of me that wisely infused the much needed perspective – there was no reason why dancing should have continued to be part of my life. There was every reason to let this opportunity pass – too much going on at work, the kids need me, or for that matter I will not have the stamina to keep up. Da could have easily said that this is too ambitious for us as a family and that the day to day rhythm of our lives would go off beat. Instead, like always, and like everything else in life, he asked me to do it if that’s something I truly want to do.

As I write this post, I feel gratitude from the depths of my heart. For this opportunity. For being part of something extraordinary. And to have been in the company of greatness. To know what it takes. For all of life’s enablers – parents who nurtured the spark, fantastic gurus who took the spark to the next level, a supportive spouse and well adjusted kids, and finally the financial wherewithal that allowed and continues to allow me to pursue the art form.

I feel blessed that dancing has been such an integral part of my life, at different stages, with different intensities. And because of that I am a better person today!

Posted in Experiences, Inspiration, Kids, Life, Little Moments, Memories

Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi

Normally, we like to do something little out of our hands for Vinayaka Chathurthi. This time we were debating between fuse beads and legos, but given that we didn’t have the butter paper to iron the fuse beads, the choice defaulted to Legos. Of course, the preschooler was next in line making something random and jubilantly declaring it as Wildebeests. Can you say that we are into Lion King?

Without further ado, presenting to you the Elephant-headed darling of our house. Can you spot the modhakam, the mooshika, the poonal, the belly button, the full tusk and the other broken tusk? Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi one and all!

pillayar

One thing that I miss about being in India is the tangible omnipresence of Pillayar. My uneasy mind would turn around looking for a sign of reassurance, and there He was in all His glory – in a calendar, as a picture hanging on the wall, or at the street corner – casting his reassuring look, and then the mind knows that you will be fine. Now I don’t have that luxury, but when I feel restless, I just visit all the Pillayars from my childhood till I left the country in my mind’s eye and it has the magic of calming the restless mind and infusing confidence.