Monday, August 13, 2012

Valuable lessons to learn

A few really valuable lessons I learnt in the past few months. This might help a lot of other dancers, or even other freelancers. Some lessons which should be followed like a holy book. And always better to learn from other's mistakes.

1. It is absolutely easy to get lost in other's dreams and fulfill them and make your dreams come to a backseat. I realized that and decided to get back on track asap.
Quick Tip : Always, and I mean always plan your month ahead of time. Have you set deadlines for your own project? Stick to it. Let nothing come in the way, even if someone portrays it to be a big deal. Trust me , NOTHING can be a bigger deal than your dreams.

2. If you spend all your time building others' dreams, you have no time left to build yours.

I am going to be very self critical about the next one.

3. Understanding the finer nuances of dancing. Get critics to watch your dance and ask them what they did not like about the piece rather than what they did. I have a few friends who are not dancers, and their opinion completely counts. One friend, lets name him X for now. So X's opinion on one contemporary dance piece we had performed was this. "So it was all pretty and all, but honestly the story looked so made up. It looked like the compere needed to explain some story for people to understand, but the piece was only a set of 25 pretty looking contemporary steps but didn't really explain to me the theme explained initially". That friend doesn't know dancing one bit. But when he comes with me for Bharatanatyam, he understands each item even though he doesn't know mudras or anything. He is one of my closest people in the world. So I know it was all genuine. Its such an insight for me to learn. There is no point I live in the glory of my performance and not understand the bad points. Such an insight. Now I'll look at every contemporary dance and think whether it is just a set of pretty looking steps and some random story cooked up in the beginning to make it look like a lot is happening. Thanks X for giving me that insight. Never realized that before. I have seen a few contemporary dance pieces, and now I realized all of them have the same problem. The story is never in accordance to the dance.

4. Say No at the right time.

5.NEVER treat the people you work with badly. You need people more than anything to make any event successful. Even to do a solo performance, you'll need lights and other things to be done by someone else. If they work for you, treat them

6. Stop listening to bulls**t from others.
So the problem in the dancing industry is that each person is busy glorifying themselves at all time. "I know all items of Bharatanatyam very well", "I am an awesome dancer ", "I have a 'Diploma' ". And they find me the right catch to come and brag about themselves. Because they know I would listen to it without bragging about myself in return. Because of this flaw in me, I have seen so much bulls**t from really amateur dancers around that my tolerance to othersself-bragging and self-praising is bare minimum. I never claim I am fabulous. I still say I have a long way to go. And I know I do. But I wonder how some people find a confidence to claim they are so awesome and when I see them, there is this voice inside that tells me "I saw this one speaking too much, but not doing as much".

7. Every person will want you to work for them like as if they are giving you a big opportunity in life. I have never fallen for that trick. For me its a simple business deal. If they give me something, even I am giving them something. Its never a favor anyone has done.

One has to be quite a tough nut to crack when you are a freelancer. But you slowly learn what is right and what is wrong.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 Things Every Girl Should Do

This is an extended version of this article I read in the June issue of India Today Woman Edition.
(Note that some points are taken from the India Today Woman Edition directly)
While writing these points, I was vividly reminded of the movie, ZombieLand.

1. Build your Brand
Use social media to share your thoughts, get social. Get to know people from different circles, the wider variety in your social circle, the more versatile your personality is.

2. Lift Weights
It will make you feel strong. Also, lifting weights is known to delay the onset of osteoporosis (a bone degenerating disorder that starts hitting women after 40), So keep yourself strong, your bones young.

3. Train for a Physical Test
Have you never been filled with admiration for all these sportswomen we see on TV? Or women who tested their true will power and lost so much of that extra weight that they came on the Flab to Fab article in some magazine? Plan out a test which tests your will power to the maximum limit. Like the next half marathon comes your way, train for it and take part. Or if you want to attain greater flexibility, train to attain a full split. Who says one can't achieve strength or flexibility if one wants to? Trust me, you are never old for anything. 

4. Upgrade your Look
Works for all women. Even those who claim that they don't believe in external looks. After all, a woman is a woman. And every woman loves to look beautiful. Try out a different look some day to work. Or get a new hair cut. You'll love the attention you get from your friends. Good looks is not everything I must say, but it definitely is one of those little things that enhances your mood on days when everything else seems blue.

5. Eat your Multivitamins
I had been going on and off about this one for quite some time now. But considering our current lifestyle, taking an extra pill a day won't do any harm to the liver. Especially for women, very very important to take calcium supplements. I'm going to be 25, and I'm a dancer, and I admit I have been getting the feeling of not having the strongest knees lately. Which is why I started taking calcium supplements and my knees feel much better actually. Try it out. But remember to consult a physician before taking tablets of any brand. 

6. Take Pictures
I don't know whether it works for everyone, but it is usually very important for me to take pictures of events happening from time to time so that I have a collection of photos and reminiscence from time to time.

7. Do your Cardio
This is taken from the movie Zombieland and is a definite hit. There is nothing like cardio which can get you fitter, faster. Considering we gain weight quickest on our hips, thighs and belly, nothing can work like a greater magic than cardio. So go ahead , buy a pair of running shoes, and run

8. Pepper Spray - Your Hand Bag Must-Have
Always, always keep a pepper spray in your hand bag. I was gifted one last year by my roommates, and I admit I have been careless to keep it in my bag most times. But realized I need to start keeping it with me at all times.You get it in major beauty and wellness stores for Rs.499/-. You really might not use it at all, but do you really want to take chances? 

9. Have a Hobby
I don't believe when people say they don't have a hobby. I mean, anything can be a hobby.  Find one. Follow it. Like there was a time when I was making crochet caps as a hobby. I was very young then. Its not at all difficult to find a hobby. Could be anything from collecting recipes, blogging, taking pictures, posing in pictures, finding an art to learn, a new language, decorating your house, trying out new hairstyles. Anything. Its good to disconnect once in a while. I wish to learn atleast one language of the South. Maybe Telugu. I am really struggling to understand meanings of songs during my Bharatanatyam class and knowing a few South Indian languages might help. (Only problem being that my linguistic skills are horrible, zero knack for languages)

10. Eat your Breakfast - Every Single Day 
I can't get enough of how important it is to eat breakfast everyday. I have had days where due to an early morning class I have not got time to eat anything and then after rushing to the class, my legs have shivered throughout. What is the point then of rushing to finish tasks if you are not eating well? After all any activity you want to do requires nutrition, be it mental or physical. Trust me, by experience I'm telling you, the body goes for a toss without breakfast. And that starved feeling is the most irritating feeling you can experience. So go ahead, eat to your heart's fullest.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dreams in line

I feel its been so long since I penned down what I want in life. All those crazy dreams that I've always wanted to fulfill. I have this theory that if you write/ type down all the things you want in life then you can actually focus on making them true. I admit I was in this phase where I really got very detached with any kind of social networking. I had been in this zone where if I would write anything about myself I would feel conceited or narcissistic. But then I thought who cares, I just want to share. Not brag.

So here I am. Wanting to be completely honest to myself. And to you.

So its been a year since I have been totally into dancing. I left my hefty paying corporate job (or atleast what would have paid me hefty amounts had I been stuck long enough) and decided to dance. It was totally a decision from my heart. Nothing planned. Nothing thought over. The pressure of having done engineering from a reasonably prestigious college and giving it all up did not hit me even once. I don't know what is right and what is wrong. It just felt right to dance at that time. I don't know whether I'll still continue to earn through dance my entire life. But I wish I could. Knowing that earning through art is quite like a gamble. If you are good, you earn so much more than you would have ever earned being a corporate, otherwise you might just be struggling.  But I know for a fact that I will dance. For the pure joy of it.

My journey in the past one year has been such a roller coaster ride. I have done so many random things I could have never imagined myself to do. And I admit it has been a struggle. I still remember when I quit in March, 2011, I took a break for a month because of participating in this TV dance show called Just Dance. After I returned, I started taking classes in a gated community and took a job of a part time tutor in a school. My work hours were essentially about five hours per week. And I was getting exactly 12,000/- per month for two months. That has been my peak in struggling. I had although decided I won't borrow money from parents just because I wanted to feel the struggle and make it on my own. My rent, electricity, transport and dance tuition fees costed me about 7k. I managed two whole months in 5k per month. Trust me, its not at all easy. And once I had gone past those two months and grew more in terms of earnings, I could not have been more proud of myself. Its the struggle that I remember most, even now. I have had corporates come and ask me how much I earn now, trying to compare the ROI as compared to the corporate job that I had.  I refuse to answer such unethical questions because if you can see me alive and healthy, I think that should answer everybody's question.

Coming back to dancing, I don't know how good or bad I am yet. I honestly never evaluate myself. Truly because I like to live in the zone where I feel I am still not good enough. The feeling that I have a long, long way to go really pushes me to keep dancing. Like in my dance class, I have absolutely no inhibitions to revise with the little kids who are practicing the basics and repeating it over and over again. My motto is that if I am in a class, let me get all types of knowledge that I can from it.

Anyway, at least knowing that I am better than what I was a year back is the greatest motivation right now.
I have many dreams actually. Things I have always imagined to fulfill.

a) I want to start my own dance troupe and perform. A lot. I don't know whether I'll form a troupe in Bangalore or after going to the US, but someday I will. And I plan to make it a very folk-contemporary theme. I want to use up all the experiences I have had as a folk dancer and blend it to make folksy pieces. I have always believed that folk can make a dance really vibrant and colorful and I love color.

b) I want to own a studio. Running around for space and to take classes has been so much madness that I know for sure that I'll want to own a studio sometime in life just so that I can have my own space. I think its worth the risk of investing.

c) This one is one of my crazy teenager's dream wish. I have always wanted to make a dance video and perform in it. You know the Ganesh Hedge style. Just hoping to do it someday. I don't mind pitching in money to get musicians and the set ready. I just want to do it for myself. For the thrill of it. It might even become a disaster and become a "Friday" type video. But... Naah, I don't think it will be that big a disaster.

d) I want to get really really flexible. I have been a avid follower of yoga since I was in the 8th standard. I remember my mom would always watch me do yoga. Apparently when I was two years old, I started climbing on a Jhula and was doing weird stunts. And thats when my mom predicted that I would become the Nadia Comaneci, the gymnast who got a perfect 10 in the 1976 Olympics. Sadly, that didn't really happen, but my love for flexibility always continued. So yeah, I still practice yoga and stretch. But wish to take that to the next level.

e) I want to finish my Arangetram. I think wanting to do my Arangetram would have always been there in all of my dream lists in the past five years of blogging. I can't really tell how good or bad I am at Bharatanatyam,  but I'm working towards it is all I can say.

f) I want to expand idea and make it into an annual event for performers and all. Long way to go, but who says one can't dream.

Some of my crazier, but less urgent dreams (call them fantasy) are

g) Get a tattoo. This is also one of my to do lists for a long long time . I somehow cannot get the most perfect thing to be tattooed on me. I decided though that whatever I get, I'll get it done on the nape of my neck.

h) Get a bikini bod. I really want to do this before I get old. I want to go to a bikini permitted beach, wear a bikini and just walk. It just has to do with being liberated. I want to grow old thinking I walked on a beach with the perfect bikini bod when I was young. :P

Its a crazy feeling right now, but typing all this madness out is making me feel super awesome.

Oh I forgot to add, another of my dreams/wishes is to make my husband dance during our wedding. Yeah, more about that later.

Yeah, this feeling is super!!! Just to write down random things and feel awesome about it. :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Unconditional Love

Nothing in this world can make me feel better as quickly as looking at a picture of her. Polly this is, Polly Kumar, a member of the Kumar Family. People in my family believe she has taken the Kumar Gene and has similar traits like all of us. Its been about four months since I have seen her. And I feel like going and playing with her right now.

You know she has been with me since my 7th Standard. Which is 1999. And I remember all the times where I used to feel low, or just cry because of some reason, and whenever I did, she would just come and rest her head on my lap, just as a gesture to show her empathy. Trust me, there cannot be anyone who can give unconditional love as much as she would. I talk to people in my house and when I ask about her, my mom always seems to tell me she is becoming more and more human each day. I know its true because I have seen her behave like a perfect lady even when I'm there back at home. She has the perfect nails and she would always cross her front paws and sit and bask in the balcony during winters.

The biggest thing I miss being in Bangalore is playing with her. Just being there with her is so much comfort. For some reason because I never yelled at her or was never strict with her, she would always be least scared of me. Like when I would have lunch, she would try to trouble me to feed her whatever I was eating. I remember the uncountable number of days when I would be upset and cry and talk to her. I always got the feeling she understands what I said. Its weird, but I really think she understood what I said. She always slept on the same bed as us, and would always whine early in the morning when she wanted to go do her job. She absolutely loved taking walks outside.So I would get up and somehow in my sleep take her for a walk. It was quite a task finding her leash because she would be tapping her paws out of excitement to go out of the house and urgency to get out and do her job.

So many little things about the cutest thing ever made. I wish Bangalore was an hour drive away from Gandhinagar. Where it would be the easiest thing to just be with her all the time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Advantages of Being a Freelancer

Being a freelancer comes with a lot of good and bad. The biggest advantage though is the freedom to take a vacation / break whenever you want to.

No offence to anyone working in a full time job, but when I was working full time, I always used to feel guilty of going and asking my manager for a leave if I wanted to go home, or take a weekend trip, or just take a break and sit at home for a day. Maybe I was not the smartest employee, and was always scared of asking for a leave or something. I was never just good at it. Of course, I took leaves almost whenever I needed it, but I had to think a lot before doing that. Plagued by guilt and fear that the other person would judge me as being a slacker, I would weigh the importance of the event and then decide if I should bunk work or not. Here the work schedule is slightly different.

No, you cannot bunk just like that even here. Because if you are a freelancer, you bunk one day, and you lose three students. But what you can do is plan your classes in a way where you can give off a holiday for a few days where you don't want to work. I usually take summer and winter vacations as a good opportunity to take a break. It actually does not even make too much sense taking classes because the class strength during this time would be half of what it normally is.

The only thing you have to plan in this whole holiday thing is where your money will come from. And if you can do that in advance, and also save up while the sun shines, you can pamper yourself to an amazing one week vacation... Guilt Free!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Summers are here

Loads of things to do. I got my car finally. Its a Nano CX and I'm very thankful to dad for gifting it to me :P

Anyway the Bangalore heat has gotten into my head and has begun to make my hormones so crazy that I'm feeling utterly cranky for the past few days. Also, you know how it is when sometimes everyone that you are close with are busy partying all week long and you don't get to see them at all, and when they finally meet you they are so exhausted because of all the partying and you end up getting annoyed at them? Ah I'm sure that has never happened to you. Well, it has to me. And then I realized that me getting angry is not that person's problem , its my problem. And I was probably annoyed because I had nothing better to do. Or rather, I had something better to do but I chose to while away all the time in brooding and wasted it.

So from now, as Barney says it, whenever I'm sad , I'll stop being sad and start being awesome instead.
So instead of getting upset over such little things, let me just divert my attention to doing fun things.

The list of things I want to do this summer:
a) Visit Nrityagram.
b) Start swimming (buy costume and accessories for that)
c) Blog more often.
d) Make more dance videos.
e) Attend dance shows in Bangalore.

Also, I found out the best therapy for women when they are upset or cranky. Just put on a pair of jeans and run to the nearest mall where you can do some window shopping. Also, to ensure you don't end up splurging just take some loose cash and keep your debit/credit card at home. So that you don't end up feeling guilty of the excessive spending.
Also, keep a bowl of cut watermelon or musk melon in your fridge every single day and also keep a bottle of water in the freezer for half an hour before drinking it.
Looks like this is going to be a crazy summer.

Happy Summers everyone!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

God, not the Snooze again!!!

Remember a few days back I told you how New Year resolutions should start from January 2nd? Well, I take that back. Its been ten days and all I have done is slept. Seriously!!!

I'm otherwise not big on sleeping as such, and I'm truly surprised. I even started thinking I was sick or something. Looks like I'm not. I would pretty much blame the weather then. Bangalore is known for its brilliant weather all throughout the year. The hidden con of this is that it'll make you sleep all day long.

Especially for a person like me, who needs to be up by 6 to reach my dance class at Malleswaram from Marathalli, its always a risk because frequency of Volvo buses is every fifteen minutes and if I miss one, I would already be fifteen minutes late to class.

Speaking of buses, I feel its high time I learn Kannada. Not the language as such, but just some swear words to use at the super annoying bus conductors who would never return change. I always get away with getting a monthly pass but because of the laziness this month, I missed my chance of getting it on time.

One good thing Im doing is going to the Storm Festival happening at Coorg on the 20th and 21st of Jan,2012. Its going to be a car ride till there and OT is going to be the one driving. The storm festival is a two day camping/musical trip where a lot of bands from all across the country will come and perform. There will be tents on a sharing basis for the overnight stay.
The early bird prices were Rs.2700/- for two days including the cost for the tents (An extra refundable Rs.700 will be charged for the tents which will be returned at the end of the camp)
For more details check out

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Cricket Moment

First of all, wishing everyone reading this a very happy 2012. Second of all, New Year for me starts on the 2nd of January, not the 1st. The entire 1st of Jan goes as a post recovery for crazy 31st. Very few people are lucky enough to chill out to such a great extent on the 31st that they are ready to be all charged up on 1st itself. I was one of the other set. We partied like crazy half the night, and the whole day just went in sleeping. I still feel sleepy as I write this post.

When all of us finished our party and got back home, we were all busy chit chatting till 4. I told my friends about 'The Cricket Moment' then. It was actually an invention by my mom. She believes that sounds explain the intensity of a situation faster and much better than describing it in words. Her talking is generally very animated.

Anyway, so 'The Cricket Moment' is the awkward silence during the middle of any conversation where the atmosphere suddenly becomes so silent, its almost like you can hear the crickets making sounds in the forests. (Crickets the insect I mean).

For Example:
You are shopping this New year. You bumped into a friend (Say Mr. Jojo Junior) who just got divorced recently .

Jojo Junior : Hey dude long time no see. How are you?
You : Hey, what a pleasant surprise . Where are you working these days?
Jojo Junior : I'm at Pune dude. You tell me what's new in your life.
You : (You really don't have any updates about work but still need to continue the conversation. Now you met him after a long time so forgot about his divorce) Nothing much dude. Just work going on. Mundane. How's everything else? How's your wife doing?
Jojo Junior : Oh about that, yeah, I got divorced two months back. We are now fighting for the custody of our son.
You : Oh dude, I'm sorry to hear that. (Super Awkward Silence out of embarrassment and not knowing what to say a.k.a 'The Cricket Moment')

So the next time you go through an embarrassing moment, take a moment of silence. I swear one can actually hear crickets making their regular sounds (Also because to make the situation even more awkward, I ACTUALLY make the cricket sounds from my mouth)

Cheers to all the awkward moments of 2012... 'The Cricket Moments'.

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