I have been asked many times how I manage to carry on with learning Kathak, perform, teach and maintain at the same time my family duties and work as a full time employee.
This question is not easy to answer. But I will start with my inspirations and role model in this post.
I have had many inspirations in my life. To begin with, my mother!
She is my greatest source of endurance and courage. She came to Germany at very young age of 18 years, in the early 70s. She grew up in a small village south of Trivandrum, Kerala, was doing her college, when the church missionary was recruiting young ladies for nurse jobs in Germany. Her elder sister from 7 sisters went this path, and as the youngest she has been aspiring a different life, so she decided for this path as well, without knowing what to expect, and with very basic English and of course no German. It was a time, where you cannot call your parents if you feel homesick, and of course there was no internet for vast research. The first few months to years were not easy. She was all alone in a hostel, her sister was not nearby, there has been many nights full of tears. Somehow she had that power in her to take it forward. She completed her studies and started working as nurse. She made many decisions in her life with a lot of endurance and courage and I admire her for this.
Another great soul, who is constantly encouraging me to carry on is my mother-in-law. Music has been always of great importance to them besides their other jobs and commitments. She plays and teaches Piano and Organ. Above all, mother of 3 children and a social activist. She was fascinated by the fact that I am a dancer, and always ask me not to stop. In her opinion, its a question time management. She has been motivating and teaching many children to play piano. This besides her daily family duties and commitments. When she had students who were extra ordinary talented she knew, she reffered them to learn from experts.
Another role model is my Guru Surangama Lala Dasgupta, whom I met in year 2005, during my studies in Giessen, Germany. I was helping her students out with some indian dance costumes, for the Kathak recital with students of University Giessen. We talked briefly there, but since then, met every year in some kind of programs in Giessen. She was asking me one day in year 2008, I believe, to be her student and she would like to teach me. And I was luckiest girl at that very moment. 2010, we had our very first intense 2 weeks full of Kathak. Since then, we had many intense 2 weeks either in Germany or in Kolkata.
We have been sharing a lot together but especially, I appreciated to have some insight of my Gurus life. I will be only able to picture the surface of the deep see. The way she took her life is amazing. She has got that ultimate power in her, which she is able to spark to her surrounding. She grew up to parents who were totally into performing arts and were very much respected. After marriage, it was very challenging for her to take over her dance career, which was not appreciated. She was in constant fight, took over all family responsibilities like taking care of the house, her in-laws, work as psychology counceller to name a few.
Besides that she has been blessed with 2 beautiful healthy children. She used to practice footwork while cooking, practice the recitations of the bols while feeding the babys. She was learning at that time from the great Guru Bela Arnab. As years passed, she established her institution for music and dance in Kolkata, educated and prepared thousands of students for Kathak exam and did many dance recitals, both traditional and innovative. One of her greatest aim and achievement was to bring her children up as great souls, and prepare them the best for life in which she succeeded.
My Guru is one of the person in my life, who constantly encouraged me, that I am doing the right thing. She always challenged me at the same time, and she always spread the positivity of life through music and dance in such a way, that I could never resist. The most important lesson I learned from her is patience and to never give up. Everything has its own time and pace, which is my main motto to carry on.
But how I manage my time, will be subject to my next post.
Do you have role models? Who is motivating you to carry on?