Dancing Genes

Friday, May 16, 2008

I am so thrilled! My daughter has started her Bharatanatyam classes!

When a daughter was born to us, my friends said..'Good... you can teach her dance AND music'. I have learnt South Indian classical dance forms for almost 15 years and done quite a bit of dancing in school and college and my husband is a very talented singer and even now a key bhajan singer at Sai bhajans. Our friends were quite convinced that our daughter will be a singer AND a dancer. But we were not so sure! We knew that each of us contributed only half of the chromosomes...and remembered what we were taught in school about dominant and recessive genes... what if she sang like me and danced like him!!!! Oh! The horror of it!!! So we used to give a sheepish smile to our enthusiastic friends and subtly change the topic!!!

As she grew older, we were able to make out that she has some talent for singing. My husband, who is the severest critic when it comes to music and singing, admitted that she seems to sing well with the right notes and all that. It is indeed high praise coming from him! If I happen to hum a song while doing my cooking or in the bathroom, he starts screaming 'Shruti! Shruti!!!'....making the listeners think that maybe he suddenly forgot his wife's name and remembered an ex-girlfriend... nooo... it's just that I'm singing all the wrong notes... ('shruti' means 'pitch/tone' )

I was relieved! Singing is the one thing I wish with all my heart I could do. So I was thrilled that my daughter has not got my singing chromosomes!!! Forget about dance... I can teach her music.. and who knows, when she grows old enough she might even win us an apartment or two worth crores of rupees in some musical reality show!!!

So I was busy looking out for some good music teacher and was not able to find any in Dubai. Oh, how I regret leaving Singara Chennai, the heaven for classical arts and artists!!!

And then one day, my daughter tells me that she wants to learn Bharatanatyam. She has a few friends learning it and has also watched on with interest when I get into one of my dancing moods and practice at home. But I was not so sure... unlike music, you really cannot make out the talent for dance until you start learning and performing. But still I made a half-hearted attempt at searching for a good dance teacher. I'm quite a critic when it comes to dance as well. My regret at leaving Chennai surfaced again... I used to live in Adyar...within kilometers from the greats like Padma Subrahmaniam, Dhananjayans and the famous Kalakshetra itself!

But two weeks back, luckily, I came across a good teacher and was even able to watch her perform on stage before my daughter started her classes. So finally, last week, my daughter went for her first dance class! It was so nostalgic to watch her give the 'dakshina' to the teacher and start her first steps...

From the looks of it, she is enjoying the classes and learning quite fast.... and even teaching the younger kid next door who is also going with her to the class... It's touching when she takes my advice on dance seriously and tells me...'Amma, even though my legs hurt a little, I still danced like you said I should'...or...'Today I watched the big kids and learnt some new steps...like you used to do when you were small'.

I don't like the idea of parents forcing their children to do the things they love to do (or could not do)... but I'm really glad that she would get to experience the beauty and grace of Indian classical dance.

Early Memories

Monday, May 12, 2008

This is because Nancy kind of tagged everyone who read her post on her earliest memories... here are mine... when I started thinking I found there were many...

Age 2-2.5
My friend A and I, both of us of the same age, running a race in the wide sit-out of my house. Me winning the race but hitting my face on the parapet wall and getting a blood clot on the front tooth...which stayed brown till I lost it at 5...

Pure Hearsay
Being very talkative and friendly, they say I used to stand at the gate and talk to all the people going on the road. On my second birthday, they say I stood at the gate and invited all and sundry for lunch, much to the horror of my mother.

Being an early talker and a very talkative child, I used to speak quite fluently by the time I was two-and-a-half. Whenever the conductor in the bus asked for my age (since the journey was free for kids below 3), I used to pipe in 'Why do they ALL want to know my age???', making the conductor very suspicious and my parents very embarrassed!

Age 3-4
Going to school in a cycle rickshaw with lot of other kids.

Standing on the window sill and having a conversation across the road with the boy next door. Being a few years older, he used to be terribly shy at having a little girl shout across the road telling him about her new bangles or chain...

Being told scary stories about the lady in white who sucks your blood by my cousin brother, 4 years older, who used to come over and stay during summer holidays. Waking up to his spooky voice going 'white sareee...looong hair'...and running to the kitchen screaming 'Ammaaaaaaa'...

Age 5
First day in Class one in a new school, heavy rains, yellow raincoat and butterflies in the stomach…

Climbing over the wall to play with J, my neighbor, also a 5 year old girl. We never used the gates to go to each other’s houses! Most of the time we used to play sitting on the wall, which was quite wide.

Eating half ripe guavas from the tree that stood in her house with salt and chilli powder stolen from the kitchen.

Well.. that WAS fun to do…and brought back lot of old memories!!! It sounds very different from the memories my daughter is going to have!!!

Not so popular...

"Welcome back...This hour, I'll be playing you 3 songs back- to-back-to-back from Jewel Thief, Dharmatma and Tumsa nahi dekha'.. that's Dev, the RJ on Pulse, the FM channel I listen to every morning on the way to office. I hope against hope that he will play 'Rula ke gaya sapna' from Jewel Thief... but no...it is 'Aasman ke neeche...'! (sigh!) Not that I have anything against that song.. it's a lovely one. But I always find that in most movies, the songs I love are not the most popular ones. I love 'piya tose naina lage' and 'din dhal jaye' from Guide as against the more popular 'kaanton se kheench ke..' and 'gaata rahe mera dil'. I love 'nadiya kinare' from Abhimaan and not the most played 'tere mere milan ki yeh raina'... In Dil diya dard liya, I love 'Saawan aaye..' and 'phir teri kahani'..which I don't think I have heard any music channel play. And 'jurm - e - ulfat' from Taj mahal rather than 'Jo waada kiya'... There are so many more like this. Wonder why this is so? Could it be that the popular ones are played so often that we kind of get bored of them? I don't think so... because I could never tire of listening to some of these others... And those of you who don't know what in the world I'm talking about can skip this post.... :D ... and come back later........:-)

Summer showers!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I feel like I have been drenched in a cool shower of summer rains!!! You are wondering how I can feel that way at 2:00 pm in May in Dubai???? No.. no... it is not another experiment conducted here by the Met. department that gave us some artificial rain a few days back! This is different... this is of the mind!!! This has come about as a result of a one-to-one rendezvous with a very handsome guy! Ah!! Now you all understand! At least the ladies do, I bet!!!

Hey, no! Don't raise your eyebrows at me! It is only fair!!!

Imagine roaming around in the scorching desert sun wearing a black blazer meeting strange people and convincing them to buy a software product. Imagine reaching 15 minutes late for meetings, thanks to the Dubai traffic and having to smile and apologize and tell them why they still need to like you and your product. Imagine keeping a sympathetic face while listening to them pour out their budgetary troubles and reasons why you should give them the 'best' price...while all the time your poor brain is working hard wondering what points to put forth to the boss and the sceptical people in India who give the estimates.Imagine working as a sales person who needs to give a good price to the prospects and win orders while actually you are a techno-functional person who knows what the product can (and cannot) do and how the same begging user would change colours and become absolutely demanding during the implementation phase!

So even though I am not young any more, on the wrong side of 30 and rushing at break-neck pace towards 40 (as PS put it in one of her posts)...I think it's okay to feel good about having a young, good looking guy listen to what I have to say with rapt attention for 2 whole hours, even though I was only talking about Master production schedules, chart of accounts and warehouse management!!! What do you say????

Forgotten Melodies...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Has it ever happened to you that you suddenly hear a song that you have totally forgotten about for years? It happened to me yesterday and I just loved it!!! I was on one of my official long drives with the FM channel playing. And suddenly, out of nowhere, they play an old song which used to be a favourite among us girls in the hostel. The song was 'tumhe ho na ho mujhko to itna yakeen hai... mujhe pyaar tumse nahi hai nahi hai'...sung by Runa Laila for the movie 'Gharonda'

It's a cute song where the girl tells the guy that she knows for sure that she is not in love with him...only she seems to love the things he says...and keeps finding excuses to meet him...and wants to just be near him...and so on...

I heard it after 10 years and found I could still remember all the lyrics as the song played along. We used to repeat it so many times every day!!! It's not an artistically great song...wonder why we all loved it so much...maybe at that age, most of us found something to identify ourselves with in the song! :))

Wonder if there are more such things buried in my head under the rubble of projects, prospects, proposals, shopping lists, telephone numbers and bills!!!

On Love and Common Interests

My husband and I just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. It really doesn't feel like it has been that long.

While in college, I read M. Scott Peck's 'The Road Less Travelled'. It spoke of the difference between 'In Love' and 'Love'. It said that you would inevitably fall out of love with someone you are 'in love' with...and normally the crazy phase is replaced by a more stable and quiet phase which is 'love'. While you are excited, emotional and dependent while 'in love', the other feeling is stabler, stronger and more balanced. 'Love' is supposed to help the two partners grow together spiritually!

I don't know about spiritual growth, but my husband and I have certainly grown on each other.

We got married without the standard horoscope matching...and we were pretty sure initially that the 'horror scopes' would probably not match either. We were as different as two people could be, live samples of the Mars and Venus theory. He loved 'vanilla, strawberry, butterscotch' and I loved 'chocolate, chocolate, chocolate'! He loved movies with mindless action and mindless comedy while I was for thrillers, romantic comedies and drama. He could watch cricket 24X7 on TV and me, well... I liked watching lot of other stuff too..I read any book I got my hands on (If the book is really interesting, I can read it when I eat, cook, watch TV etc.)...he read nothing but the newspaper! I had too many friends and he had very few. He was crazy about cars and driving and for me every car was the same!!! He sang beautifully but he laughed if I as much as hummed a song !!! I loved dancing and he had two left feet!

But looking back, I guess living together harmoniously and happily doesn't really depend too much on having common interests.(Or maybe life would become too perfect then! ;) ) It only requires some genuine fondness for each other, respect for each other's feelings and the ability to forgive each other's faults.

Also, living together for so long has made us less different from each other. He loves chocolate now and thinks I do a good job of ordering food at a restaurant. I watch lots of cricket and know a little bit more about cars (though I still can't recognise most cars without going behind and looking at the name!!! How shameful!) 'My' friends have become 'our' friends. Even though we never pick the same movies when we go to the video shop, we still like most of the movies the other one picks and have a good time watching them together. We like the same kind of music and we admire the same artists. Well, he still laughs when I sing, but I also laugh when he dances, so that makes us even.

And I guess having a six year old, beautiful, lovable common interest doesn't hurt, either!!! :)))


Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm reading 'Heidi' again. I first read it some 20 years ago when I was 11 or 12. I loved it then and I love it now. I brought it from my last visit home thinking I'll read it to my 6 year old daughter. But when I tried doing it, I realised that the version I have is a little too advanced to be read out to her. So I'm reading it and telling her the tale in detail every night. When I read the book as a child, I read it from Heidi's perspective. Along with her, I fell in love with the mountains, the fresh air, the goats and the fir trees. I thought goat's milk and roasted cheese must be the tastiest food in the whole world! When I read it as a teenager, I tried to find romance in Heidi's friendship with Peter. When I read it now, I find that it is a book on child psychology, one that could help parents and teachers. It tells you how to treat a child and how not to. The grandfather treats Heidi as an equal, patiently answers her questions, lets her grow up free and happy along with his goats and loves her in his silent way. In Frankfurt, Frau. Rottenmeir suppresses the child's natural inquisitiveness with her rules and restrictions, takes away the things she loves most and does not even realise that the child under her care is homesick.The book also gives us a glimpse of the inside of a child's mind with all it's complexities. The part where Heidi suppresses her homesickness and unhappiness just because she does not want to seem ungrateful to the nice family she is in, is unbearably touching. I believe that is how children are. In all their innocence and amidst all their pranks, they do understand some large concepts like love and gratitude, much better than many adults. They are kind to animals and old people, just like Heidi is, wanting nothing more than to take white rolls of bread to Peter's grandmother and make it 'light' for her again. They believe in God implicitly and trust Him completely. The children can also teach the elders a lesson or two, like Heidi did by helping her grandfather get his faith back. Why is it that most of these qualities diminish and disappear as they grow up? I have no idea... but I'd like to think that 'Heidi' is probably an answer to my desperate plea for a 'Parenting for dummies' book!!! :-) And anyone out there who has not read the book, please do it....doesn't really matter how old you are!!!

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