Sunday, 31 July 2016

Dance Trails

Tap your right foot. Now your left. Right again. Left. Right. Left. Left. Left.
But I seemed to have only left feet. My first dance class was a lesson in coming out of my shell. My dance teacher was an unbelievably patient woman. But she had no idea how unbelievably shy I was. She started with the simplest steps. Easy footwork. Easier than march past, I would wager. And yet, every step seemed heavier than the last. A week went by and a month. I had started staying back after the regular dance class to wait for mom who would pick me up. Meanwhile, my dance teacher would tell me stories. Mythological tales, stories related to the dances we performed, and any other stories she may have told her kids when they were my age. That was the part I loved the most. I would later develop a mad obsession for stories and books. But right then, I liked to listen to her and think and imagine. Soon, she had started telling me a story related to every dance. You see, every dance we performed had some significance. They were mostly Krishna Radha tales or Meera Bai songs or old fables and the like. Once I had been inducted into the story, the song seemed to come naturally to me. Suddenly I was not so conscious of myself anymore. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I had lost sense of my body and knew not and cared not how I looked while I moved. I moved the way the song beckoned. My dear dance teacher had finally made a little dancer of me.

So, when she went away to settle in another city, I was sorely heartbroken. I knew then that no other teacher could ever teach me the way she did. No one would tell me stories or painstakingly position my arms to get the postures just right. I was on my own now.
But I didn’t want to give up on it just yet. While in secondary school, I joined another class. While making my way through the swampy waters of class X and XII, I left dance again. Then I got myself enrolled in engineering. And almost immediately after, got back to dance. After my regular college classes, I would attend the dance class for an hour and a half and then head home. The arrangement drained me of energy but enthused me with a mad passion. I achieved Visharad in Kathak dance form as I finished my graduation in computer engineering. Pretty coordinated that.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Although my introversion persists oxymoronically with my freewheeling dance fantasies, I have discovered a latent desire for classical dance in me. Something about the elegance of Indian classical dances enthralls me. I have never really gotten over my dance teacher’s stories or her graceful moves. The desire to emulate her and perform as gracefully and beautifully has remained and persisted.

Yes, that's me.
The architecture of ancient buildings and the murals and paintings on old monuments make me wonder about the movements of the yesteryears. I am literally gravitated to the past. I feel the need to discover the most ancient dance forms of India. I wish to capture them as precisely and fully as I can. I want to visit the various gharaanas of Kathak, the temples of Bhartanatyam and the multifarious places in India where the classical dance forms originated. I wish to see the various forms in action. I want to bring to life the most antediluvian Indian dances possible and collate them in my blog.
In profile

“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”
― Rumi

Dance represents a zeitgeist, a revolution. Representing the spirit of the times, it takes one to an entirely different era where every movement mirrors an ideology of the society. Dance is expression and innovation combined. It is the largest and the most accurate mirror of one’s culture. Dance is love and life in action.

As Voltaire said, “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra#DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

Monday, 25 July 2016

How to keep the Sleep Virus at bay

10 ways to avoid the Snooze drug

  • Coffee. Tea. Yes, some of those well tried-and-tested stuff before classes. They work like a charm.
  • Eat. Yes, eat. Keep some biscuits and snacks handy and stuff them into your mouth the moment you feel your control slipping.
  • Drink. Water. Like every five minutes.
  • Talk. Chat. Keep blabbering. It’s rare to find people falling asleep while in the midst of a conversation.
  • I saw a fellow friend wet her handkerchief with water and dab her eyes with it. Have never tried it but seems like a good idea.
  • One way to find out if you are drunk, sorry, sleepy is to write. Work your pen on paper. If you find yourself inventing vocabulary, making strange connections or anthills and going past well-defined lines, you know your zombie mode is on.
  • Use your five sense organs as far and as much as possible. Touch, smell, taste, see and hear. Any of the faculties stops responding, you know it’s the sleep drug at work.
  • Sit on a blunt nail. It might scratch your ass off but you are less likely to sleep your way to oblivion.
  • Pinch, punch, hit. Do whatever to distract yourself. Remember the sleep mistress is sly and easily inviting. She is sexier than you and has the upper hand. But you got to keep yourself from succumbing to her evil clutches, right? So be the Sati Savitri of Indian mythology and bring your Satyawaan back.
  • Take a pen and stick the pointy end into your palm. Just take care not to create a hitting rhythm that might lull you off to further sleep.

Some victims and their complaints/comments:

“The visions merge so seamlessly from one form to another that it becomes impossible to distinguish between sleeping and waking hours. Until obviously someone clicks an embarrassing picture of your tongue lolling out of your mouth and your head thrown back in some weird posture of slack.”

“Sleep is a bitch. Whether you sleep for six hours or one, eight hours or none, nothing can ever stop you from dozing off in classes. I wonder why people bother with sleeping pills. They should just enroll for some course and attend classes again.”

Look out for other 'sleep special' posts ahead!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

ITR Bloopers

~ (One of the winners of the #TaxPledge Activity at BlogAdda)

So, I had this really crappy knack of skipping mails I didn’t like. Those that seemed unfamiliar, strange or out of the world were instantly sent to the trashcan with a single click. The habit persisted. Well, till the day Kanu called me for ITR.


Kanu and I had studied from the same college. Since we had started working, we barely got time to talk to each other. We were not exactly bosom friends, but we were on good talking terms. However, with the hectic schedule, different projects, separate teams and diverse managers to report to, our first year of work life was a tough rope to tread. We met up occasionally on lunches and went for brief walks but the free spirit in us had been clamped to some extent.

“Do we have to mail it as well after filing it?”
Kanu asked, calling me on my office number.

I was sorely tempted to ignore her question and tell her I had no idea. But then something stopped me. I didn’t want to sound like a complete daft. After all, what is it that Kanu knows and I don’t?

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“IT returns…form 16…income tax…what else!”

The words buzzed about in my head for a while. A frisson of panic started creeping up. Why hadn’t I known this before?
Before I could say another word, she continued, “See the mails sent on 27th of last month. And the ones before that, where they ask you to file your income tax returns.”

Oops. Where were those mails? Gosh! I hadn’t sent them all to the bin, had I?
I couldn’t have been more stupid!

“But they came under a heading that seemed pretty much like those health care mails sent by the company!”  I protested feebly.

“Either ways, you should always check the content before deleting anything.”

Her voice was reprimanding but her words were too true to be refuted.
Somehow the arduous task of going through the mails seemed gargantuan to me. Nonetheless, now it had to be done and now I had no mails to read since I had deleted them already.

“Just send me the mail, will you?”
“Right away. Fill it today. It’s the last date.”
“And what if we don’t?”
“They ask you for it during your visa application process. It is also required in loans and the like…It’s important, bro.”

That must have been the final nail. I was suddenly in a flutter. The returns were supposed to be filed by EOD. Throwing caution to the winds, I abandoned what I was doing at that point and went into overdrive. I quickly sifted through my ‘trash folder’.

My form 16 stared back at me.

“Really simple. Just fill in the details now.” The guy in the next cubicle advised me.

Well, I am not the best form filler on earth. In fact, I am quite the lazy type. And the congestion on the site made it worse.

“What do I do? The site takes ages to load!”
“Well, you shouldn’t have waited till the last day.” My colleague shrugged and went away.

I had started sweating now. The site stayed stubborn, unloadable.

And then, I found it. H&R Block. Cropped up in a hasty Google search. It said you could simply upload your form 16 and get the whole thing done and over with.
I swallowed in relief.

I had managed things at the last moment, thanks to H&R Block. My ITR blooper just fell short of becoming a full-blown one. That day, I pledged to file ITR on time. And well, H&R is always 'handy and ready' to help!

 I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.