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Monday, September 21, 2009

Thank you Paula!

Public dancing is perhaps one of my biggest nightmare. It was a fear that I developed as a kid. In one of the cultural programs that our school conducted, I was chosen to dance for a traditional Tamil dance called 'Kummi'. Now, I literally laugh out loud, but back then performing the best in the team meant a whole lot. I somehow did not manage to dance well and the teacher scolded me. Thats it! It was like the biggest insult that my 12 your old ego could bear. I decided dancing was trivial and immediately plunged myself into more achievable goals then like books.

Well, that was then but as I grew up I realized how much fun dancing was. Everybody seemed to have such a blast while I stood aside looking as though someone had tied two rocks to my legs. All I could do was move vaguely like a robot. And I have to say dancing is a big deal in India. The whole bollywood culture has left us singing and dancing every where. Girls especially are expected to dance by nature! grrr, the stereotypes! It turned into a huge mind block. It felt like I was missing out.

When I moved to Canada, I decided to start over. I joined ball room classes, started dancing in parties, but my real turning point came when I started this aerobics/dance work out by Paula Abdul - 'Get up and dance'(counting solely on my own experience here). The first day, I couldn't dance even one step in order. It was just too fast for me. I decided I wouldn't give up. I practiced one move a day and slowly built it up till I could dance the entire video. I began to realize that most of dancing is in your mind. You just need to feel confident and good about yourself. More importantly let go.

No no, don't even imagine that I have turned into a super hot dancing pro. Its just that I have stopped caring about what others think about my jiggle- wiggle any more :D. Of all the places, I never even imagined I would get to dance again an Indian folk dance in Eindhoven. For the past one month I have been practicing for a big 'Dandiya Raas' event in the city. And hey, not bad at all! Thank you Paula! :)

P.S - Shubh Navrathiri Desis!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hakuna Matata!

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days
It's our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!

I have been meaning to write on this for quite some time but just like everybody else, the beginning of school term and picking up pieces after the summer means a lot of work to do!

'Hakuna Matata' is perhaps my life motto. It is the phrase from the movie 'Lion King' which simply means 'no worries'. Now, it is most definitely not an easy task but me being a constant worrier, this would be a state of mind I would love to achieve. If you have seen the antics of Timon and Pumbaa (the meercat and warthog duo) and the sheer ease with which they deal with things and have fun all the way through in life, you would know what I mean. Sometimes in life, just about everything seems lousy. But its good to shake it up and put things in perspective.

One morning while reading through the set of websites that I generally browse through for news, I was reminded of good old days when me and my father would wait for the newspaper man to throw our beloved "Hindu" (a widely read newspaper in India) at the doorstep. My father would immediately grab hold of the main sections and pass on the less important sections to me. Sipping a hot cup of coffee we would both indulge into our readings while my mother would make breakfast. It was a silent, simple, daily morning ritual. No big deal! But now when I get up every morning alone in the apartment and stare into a monitor, that simple ritual seems like such a luxury. Back then though, I would argue with my father that I needed the main sections of the paper as well and I even asked him to buy another daily so that I could read it simultaneously.

My point is we never realize how wonderful life is while we are living it. Everything in hind sight seems better. The past always seems colorful and more joyous. The challenges met then are almost forgotten. Lets face it. We are not going to grow younger and our responsibilities are definitely not going to dwindle away. So why not enjoy and live the present to its fullest? Most people would kill to live such a secure, pleasant, peaceful and beautiful (ahem! yes Eindhoven too is beautiful ;))life.

And what do you do when you have a crappy time? Do what Dory, the fish with short term memory loss in 'Finding Nemo' does - just 'Keep Swimming' and good times will come along. :)

So Hakuna Matata people, and Keep Swimming all the way through!

Picture Courtesy - Walt Disney Pictures

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kinderen sans borders

For the past two days, I attended a technology congress in Arnhem held mostly in Dutch with some of my department staff. Health care and hospitals is one area where the language is still quite a problem for the foreigners. I was perhaps the only non Dutch in the entire meet. For the first time I was swamped by a language unknown for 2 days. Towards the end, I gave up on even trying to figure out the few words I understood and retired to a nearby corner with a book. All that my ears could hear was a long buzz....

As we drove back to Eindhoven, we stopped at one of the colleague's house for a coffee with their family. With a couple of hundred cars returning back from the congress the highway was blocked for over an hour and we were late. Her husband warmly invited us home for some fresh coffee and waffles. It was bed time but their two young girls came running down eager to meet the guests. Sipping the coffee, the conversation obviously moved towards the intricate details of our university and the politics around the department as my colleague's husband also works there. I don't know if things were a little heated up and 'not suitable' for my ears as I still have a student status or as they were passionately discussing they forgot about me, but they switched to Dutch and were soon lost in a heated talk.

Ah! I barely cared at this point. I was observing what the kids were doing. It was kind of funny because their knowledge of English and my knowledge of Dutch were at the same level. They began by bringing down all their soft toys from their room and made them wear special clothes for the night and showed me how they tucked them in and sang them a lullaby. They entertained me, with the younger one playing the drums and the elder one, on her piano playing Beethoven's 'Fur Elise' (she must be 10 or 11!). As I ventured on in my broken Dutch, they tried to speak back to me in English. We were constantly laughing. It suddenly stuck me how amazing children are. I was a practical stranger who looked completely different, spoke a different language and they couldn't have cared less. They made me shed my inhibitions and speak their language without fear ( speaking would be far fetched, lets say attemp :) ). As the younger girl decided to try on some of the doll clothes herself for few more laughs, the other kid started drawing something on her board. She quickly made an art and gave it to me.

As we left their house the two girls came running behind our car until it reached the street corner. It reminded me of my childhood when we would stand at the edge of the house and keep waving until the person turns the corner. They managed to bond with me in the one hour I spent with them so effortlessly. The bliss of innocence!

Monday, September 7, 2009

I can pick bike locks!

So here goes another of my 'one of a kind' stupid situations. I have a pretty run down bike which I out of desperation bought in an over prized second hand shop. The regular lock attached to the back wheel has been sort of semi ripped off, the lock exists but I don't have the keys. So I usually just lock my bike with a chain. I had taken the violet cutie out for a ride about 3-4 kms away from my house when I received a phone call. I stopped seeing that it was a friend, locked my bike up a lamp post and sat on nearby bench and chatted on

After quite some time I got up, walked up to my bike and I don't know what got into me, I suddenly wanted to check if the original lock of bike worked or not and without thinking for a second, I locked it! Ahhh!! Stom! I was in the middle of some place with a locked bike. I desperately tried to shake it up and down to somehow loosen it. People passing by were giving me the suspicious looks. I was losing hope and was beginning to wonder how I was going to haul my bike to my place. I stopped for a few seconds and actually thought what I should do. I took out my thinnest key and tried to insert it into the small openeing in the lock, where the key hole should have been. I jammed it in as far as it went in and kept trying to unlock it again. 2-3 minutes and voila! The lock opened.

The smartest thing I did in a long long time..:D
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