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To Be What You Want To Be

There is this thing about my native place. Every person is expected to excel at least one art form in his/her life time. Be it music, dance, theatre, recitation or in fine arts. If you are a guy, football may also do the trick. According to most parents, co - curricular activities are supposedly as important as fairing well in your examinations. Thus, there is no way that a poor child would be left alone to decide for himself as to what he/she is really passionate about. After all, perfection comes from hard work and dedication and as always, there are no shortcuts to the tedious journey of fulfilling your parents’ ambitions rather than your own.

My trip on the said path began as a toddler, all of eight years old when my mother decided that I should learn bharatnatyam, the Indian classical dance form. But for me, dancing with rhythm was nothing short of rocket science. I missed steps, I forgot my cues and I did not practice when I was told to. Even as a child I wondered, how could I be so bad at something? If Rani and Shahrukh could dance to Shava Shava, I could also remember a few odd steps which I was made to learn without any music. But guess what, I couldn’t and hence I used to physically reprimanded by dance teacher, who had taken my failure a bit too seriously. This continued for two years till my mother finally decided to put me somewhere else to learn painting and recitation. I faired reasonably in both, and thus out of sheer encouragement I was coerced to learn rabindrasangeet for a period of six years from three different teachers. I remember vividly that when I was in my eight standard I was not only juggling between school and tuitions but also three extracurricular activities, none of which I was particularly fond of ! So much for being a failure, eh?
Photo Credit - Manushree Gangwar

But even throughout these troubled times, I always had a pen and paper to write down about those moments which I could not express otherwise. From nondescript one liner’s to cheesy passages, full of grammatical and spelling errors, it has been quite a ride. Every time, I felt distraught, happy, elated, embarrassed I felt the need of writing about the same without even bothering to even acknowledge the fact that I might be getting good at it after all. Then one fine day, I received my first term English papers wherein I had scored highest in the essay. I was a mediocre student but for that very moment, I was on cloud nine, unable to believe that someone might have actually liked going through my ramblings which more often than not was filled with unnecessary idealism. In my growing up years, every piece I wrote, in tattered paper or the back of my science notebook had the leitmotif of love, lost and gained, of benevolence and faith which is perhaps necessary to sustain every relationship of our lives.

I have never tried in assessing my own writing skills primarily because I wanted it to refrain from comparing it to anyone else’s. Although my pen and paper has been replaced by a laptop, the feeling of putting now something new into words feels the same. It is like discovering something which you never thought existed within you. An opportunity of making mistakes, of getting surprised, of laughing with fear, sometimes at your own self. The amount of satisfaction I have received through penning down by emotions over the years can never be equated with any memory of my childhood which hovers around my mind. And although I terribly embarrassed myself succumbing to my mom’s whims and fancies, I am glad that she forced me into doing something utterly undesirable. Because, in those moments of sheer misery, I found the writer within me. And yes, it has made me realize that the journey matters more than the destination because it allows you to break free from the urban squalor and be what you want to be.

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Amrita Paul

 I write. I read. I eat. I sleep (a lot ). Oh yes, Chick flicks make me cry and I love dogs. Some say I am a feminist, I say- " Is it necessary to define every ounce of passion arising from an individual?" I think not. Anyway that is me :)


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Let The Good Times Roll Magazine is an online youth magazine
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