I went on a tour to the Indian state of Gujarat with family recently. It was fun filled, exciting, adventurous, reminiscent of the two decades we have spent together. Sure we had our tough moments too but very well overshadowed by the good moments!
The driver we’d hired was peculiar though. He had a fascination with keeping the car clean! Within an hour of starting the drive, when food was mentioned he immediately requested us to not eat in the car. As the trip progressed, his fancies for taking care of the car started to become nightmarish for us. We couldn’t use the pouches at the back of the seats because they’d become shapeless then. We couldn’t put up our cramped feet on the seat. We had to check the soles of our footwear before getting into the car. We had to try and dust every grain of the beach sand from our clothing lest we carry it into the car – even if it meant waiting in the noon Sun for an extra half hour drying ourselves, our clothes and the stuck sand! There was a moment when a couple of us were sitting in the car waiting for the others to join and there at the side of the road, as our car stood, replete with dust (because well, Indian roads are dusty, especially when travelling between cities) our driver was dusting the car’s body with a cloth. Why on earth would someone do that in the middle of a 50 km drive? It would all just come back!
So needless to say, in our seven day trip I was dreading spending the 40 hours or so in the car travelling, with that guy at the wheel!
The last night of our trip was planned such that we’d be travelling overnight to our final destination. It was also our first night travel while he was at the wheel. Around 1:30 AM, we got stuck in a traffic mess on the highway. And we’d just crossed a scene of an accident ten minutes ago. In the pitch darkness of the roads, the night only lit by star shine and vehicle headlights, even overturned stones may seem like human skulls. If that wasn’t enough to spook me out, we found out that there was another mix up that had happened ahead and we would be stuck in the car for a while ~ too cold to step out, too stuffy to stay in. We switched off our car lights and music to save fuel. And good we did, because the jam finally cleared three hours later! About 25 kms from there, we again crossed an accident spot. By now, I had tremendous respect for the driver because not only did he have a steady hand but he was very careful while overtaking other vehicles or maintaining the speed limits! Though I had noticed this over the week, that thought never got a chance to come to the foreground, because of his affinity to keep the car clean.
His sole job was to ensure that we travelled safely and on time. And he did that brilliantly, not failing us even once. Yes, he wasn’t the most charming talker or accommodative enough when it came to his car but that is not what was earning him his bread and butter. His driving skills were, and they were top notch.
Note to self : It is so easy to judge people, make fun of their personality if it differs from ours, without thinking or asking why they do what they do, without bothering to know what makes them them. Where’s the fun in being empathetic and sensible all the while? But would you rather live easy or live right?
In the background is a 15th century well cut out of hard rock to preserve water. It has 162 steps of descent and is located in the Uperkot Fort in Junagadh, Gujarat, India.
One of my fascinations has always been ballroom dancing! Though not strictly ballroom, salsa is what my feet dabble in these days.
Salsa, believe me, teaches you life lessons! And so much about interpersonal relationships. No, no! Don’t laugh. I’m serious. Read on.
1. Twirl the girl!
So salsa, like most other ballroom dances, requires the men to take lead. So, my dance partner, gets to take me forward, backward, left, right, all at his own will. Boot up, men! You get the girl and also get to make her dance and spin at your own will. Does your girlfriend or girl friend allow you that otherwise? 😉
Also, you find it’s not so easy taking command of the ship, don’t you? So value those who do. 🙂 Irrespective of their genes.
2. Actions speak louder than words!
Now that you get to twirl and spin the girl at your own free will, how do you tell her what your will is? You can’t tell her, ‘shush, left now’, ‘no, no, anti-clockwise twirl’, ‘go, right, right, not left’ in the middle of the song. Who’ll count the beats, feel the tune and dance freely then?
So what do you do? You gently direct her, lead her with that hand of yours on her shoulder, and not say aloud! It requires practice, patience and response. Also gives you a life lesson!
3. You make mistakes and you accept them!
You will miss counts, step on your partner’s feet (sometimes on your own feet too!), become clumsy after doing very graceful turns – all of that’ll happen, whether you’re in the first beginner’s class or almost completing your advanced classes. But with the music still playing, what do you do after committing a mistake? Accept it, apologise and move on! Improvise.
4. Helps avoid the mirroring psychology.
Wikipedia says, “Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family.”
Note, mirroring happens subconsciously. You don’t realize when it’s taken over and you are slowly blending into the crowd and losing your uniqueness.
But when you’re dancing with your partner and you start mirroring them, i.e. you start looking too graceful as a man, or too macho as a woman, you consciously start tearing yourself from mirroring. You start holding out your own self, accepting yourself as you are and hopefully even loving it.
5. Feminism, much?!
Yes, salsa requires the men to lead and women to follow. Isn’t that what the whole world is screaming about? Or at least half of it. But. Everything in life isn’t about feminism. Sometimes it’s okay to let the men lead not because they’re men, but because the dance requires it and women are inherently more graceful at spinning and twirling than men are. It’s okay to let go and trust your partner. And even if he does fail you, help him get up and succeed together!
Also, I am not a feminist. More, a humanist.
P.S. : Keep dancing!
Among the few worldly possessions I own, these are a few stones that I have. Actually they are more like pebbles from river beds. I’ll leave you guessing how I ever even laid my hands on them!
I took them out after a really long time today. A friend suggested an idea which I turned down initially but later seemed appealing to me in my boredom. The idea was primitive! Literally. Could we start a fire with these stones?
I tried it obviously. Under parental guidance! The only guidance my mother had was “Please keep the stones away from your face.”
I tried. I struck the pebbles hard and fast against each other. I was eagerly waiting for a spark to ignite! I’m sure if you looked into my eyes then, you could have seen the sparks of excitement! Well, turns out they were the only sparks.
You know how long I tried? I tried for almost four times the attention span of average humans. I tried for 30 whole seconds.
Well it’s not my fault that humans on an average have an attention span of eight seconds now. We’re down from twelve seconds in 2000. Even a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds average, a full one second more than ours! Yes, that teeny weeny goldfish which has a teenier weenier brain weighing 0.097 grams (Average human brain weighs 1.5 kilogram).
Note to self : Primitive life wouldn’t suit me. I think that the primitive man/woman who first started the fire by striking the stones for, apparently, a very, very long time was more angry than bored! Boredom suits me. Anger doesn’t. I’m happier without pebble fire!
P.S. : How long would it really have taken to ignite a spark though? Anyone knows? Or is it all up to Google again?
My mother rarely reads my blog. Just because…
With the 100 Happy Days having been conquered, I was really excited and insisted at least thrice (in two minutes!) about reading my blog.
She gave in! And then she started going through the other posts I had put up and as fate would have it, landed up at this :
And I just kept looking around because this was turning awkward! Not ‘cuz I was hiding a relationship from her (Gosh! There has to be one to hide one!), but ‘cuz she starts reading my stuff after so long and stumbles across this? Of all posts, why this? Now, she would be more curious about my relationship with a guy rather than my relationship with words!
You must be knowing how moms can be. I am sure her first reaction on reading the piece was, “Is my girl really good enough to make this up or is she dedicating it to someone?”
Fortunately, (or unfortunately, only time will tell!), she didn’t react after reading the post, but simply asked, “Anything else I should read?”
And I went all out with an “Absolutely not!”.
Because that… was embarrasing.
Life Note To Self : Mothers know best. If they refrain from reading your work, let them! They are just saving you the embarrassment.
P.S. : My mother’s a working woman with an almost liberal mind by Indian standards. But I guess, not liberal enough to save me the blushes!
P.P.S : The sketch is by me. Even if you do not like the post, I’d still adore you if would leave a word or two about the beautiful mother and child! 🙂