Monday, September 28, 2009

Let them be

I was watching the grand finale of Dance with the stars tonight and as I watched the youngsters perform unbelievable and beautiful feats I felt old and sorry for myself. I would never be able to dance like that. Why didn't I try to learn earlier ? I was financially independent form the age of 22 , I lived in Mumbai , Delhi and Chennai and yet I chose to learn dance only at the age of 36 .

I realised that what we desire at one age differs from another. It is determined largely by what we perceive that we will lose the soonest. At my teens I only wanted to be surrounded by cool friends, be desired and enjoy my youth. I was scared of turning into all the sourpuss oldies around me who never laughed. In my twenties I wanted to win , make money , have all the trappings of success and savour all the pleasures that money could bring for one had worked hard to get there. There wasn't much thought for the soul or self improvement. One was obsessed with looking good, being thin , being invited everywhere. The thirties awoke the soul because there was a precocious little angel next to me who was growing up. I admit shamefacedly that my daughter taught me to love , learn and care because her soul was purer than mine. She had no shades of grey in her life. She trusted me , believed in me and made me a better human being. I once again looked at myself beyond the obvious and wanted to learn.

At 36 I started learning dance and picking up the threads of my singing. I taught her to write poetry, prose and stories and discovered that I too had a flair for the written word. I laughed and rediscovered art when I painted her posters and made charts for school. I blended her eyeshadow and painted her eyelids with the flair of a parisian artist.

Yet in my forties I am uptight with her for not being focussed about her dance , music , studies and career. I ask her repeatedly why she can't decide the subject she wants to study and why she won't consider ivy league colleges. I want her to do it all without any consideration for the number of hours in a day.

Because I know at 44 that life doesn't stand still. And while I dance with grace and emotion, I will never pirouette and twirl in the air like her. Our children should not bear the brunt of our unfulfilled dreams. They too like us should be allowed to make choices however trivial based on their age and times. they too will have perceptions of immortality of youth and what will slip away from their fingers.

It is beautiful to love and painful to watch your loved ones fly in the hope that they will return. We can only hope that their wings are strong while we blow the air in the right direction.


  1. u are right when u write that u do have a flair for words.... i enjoyed this "soul curry" piece as it evokes the same truth amongst us.. we want the best for our children...and often we hope that they will do what we couldnt do for whatever reasons.

    however, you seem to have forgotten one homily that was there on my status a few days is never too old to feel young. so dont feel old at all...if you wish to dance.. go ahead and just do it....and it doesnt matter whether you get whistles or catcalls ...what will matter is the joy YOU will have. after a certain age, one LEARNS that life is precious and yet it has to one must do what it takes to feel the joy of living. and yes, keep peeling the onion to get to the tears....of joy!

  2. Sharmila.... You broke the rules again... You revealed your age truly you!!!
    Listen if you replace the first person with a generalised version... it will still be as true... @ 2o we think we know it but do not , @30, we think we have experienced it but have no idea what lies ahead...@40..we think, it's gonn'a be predictable...and then the kids come and shake us up and say... "Mom, Dad----Get Real ".... @ 50 ... well ...I'm waiting !!!