Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Improving Myself and Revisiting Other Teenage Horrors

I have now been in New Jersey 8 whole months. The initial months after my move were quite hectic. There was unpacking, organizing, buying furniture, assembling furniture, work related travel as I settled in. After those initial months now is a period of relative calm.

In a period of relative calm most mature people blossom. They pursue their interests, take walks and basically they stop to smell the flowers. I on the other hand, panic. But in my new avatar as an adult I decided to use the time on my hands to take steps to "improve myself". There were a number of things, as could be expected that needed "improvement". But zeroing in on my first "area of improvement" was harder than I would like to admit.....There must have been something I did in my youth that I could work on now.

Then it hit me, I could learn to dance!!!! I had learnt Bharatnatyam for a good 4 years in my teens so I could pick up where I had left off. So I looked up the dance classes in New Jersey. I found a rather long list of classes, all nearby, all convenient, all with teachers that had exemplary credentials. So all I had to do was call them and get things going. At this point I found myself strangely reluctant.

I had spent 4 years during my impressionable youth learning to dance, however I recollected quite reluctantly that my "impression" of my dancing was that I sucked (I tend to block unpleasant things). I was not bad in the front of my mirror at home when I practiced before my classes but when I got onto a stage, even a stage in front of other gawky, graceless teenagers, I froze. And not all teenagers are gawky and graceless especially those who spend their afternoons in a dance class. I had my share of comrades in arms. They like me had some redeemable qualities but just not this one quality. But there were also those who really belonged. Girls who were not clumsy, who could smile on cue, look sad on cue, bat their lashes to indicate the subtleties of emotion, stand still in a pose without rolling their eyes and giggling.

As I mentioned I was not a complete failure at dancing. The mechanics of it was not impossible. And with some effort I was able to be at least fairly proficient at least in that aspect of it. But dancing esp. Indian classical dances is not just about the mechanics. And though my class was full of little prodigies, expecting a 11 year old girl to emote the pathos of being Krishna's dejected Gopika seemed not only very hard but quite frankly also just down right inappropriate.

I could blame my mother for this. She had no time for "girly" pursuits. I could count on her to refuse to emote the pathos of a Gopika even if her life depended on it. Or my brother. I am betting all those graceful dancers could not climb trees like I could. But my tree climbing skills didn't help me on that stage. Or my father who spent turned up at all the dance events and was always spotted smiling and proud. So there was nothing wrong with what my father did but it made my "sucking" just a lot harder to come to terms with.

I also remembered that I enjoyed dancing. Moving to a beat is quite relaxing and exercise in the form of dancing is one of the nicer ways to exercise. And in all honesty, as I grew older although I still could not emote on stage I was emoting away in my head :). Despite that I think I will give the dancing idea a rest. There are some advantages of being a rather lazy teenager who spent most of her time reading. One of course is that there is no substitute for reading, none at all. The second is that maybe I do not have to relive my past failures and can at least fail at something new(My current favorite is horse riding).

And when I have come to terms with my limitations with respect to dancing I am considering Bollywood dancing. A good friend has been at it and is having so much fun that I am convinced that I should give it a shot.

Recipe - Couple of things I want to post. One is Aviyal which I did not appreciate as a child but have learned to love. Credit goes to husband who makes it all the time.

Macaroni grill serves this bread that I think is just delicious. I found a copy cat recipe and the end result was great. The recipe is here.


Balaji Shankar said...

Revisiting teenage horrors seems like a great idea. But, don't we all get more aware as we get older. That could be a blocking wall to pursue some of the activities we dared as a teenager. Anyways WTH! whatever activity we indulged in wouldn't be fun if we didn't end up embarrassing ourselves and a few others ;)

Charandeep said...

there is now an official mention dancing skills on the world wide web!

stringOfPearls said...

charandeep :) yes. next comment you could even post your youtube video

Balaji - what you say is true and i am still toying with the bharatnatyam idea.