Life is a journey

From a very tiny age my daughter started dancing to any music, as soon as we used to start the music player she used to get down on the floor - moving and shaking her legs. I wanted her enthusiasm and energy to be channelized

I wanted her to learn classical form of Indian dance as I knew it will develop and connect her inner mind with the outside world and feel the harmony. The hard training or sadhana will make her more disciplined and patient which later on proves very important in life. We all see the hyperactive new generation missing on the real joyride of life. I knew it will keep her physically and mentally fit as she will gain control over her body and mind. I also wanted her to learn dance which would be her mode of expression of her inner feelings to the world outside.

She was 5 years old and I started looking out for a suitable Bharatnatyam Classes and yes I found one. The very first day I met her teacher with lot of enthusiasm but it was dampened when she assuringly said "don't worry at all, we will finish their Arangetram within 7 to 8 years." I saw children were dragged by their mothers to the class. It was all unexpected by me as I thought dancing is an act of happiness, learning the same should add on the delight.

I accompanied my daughter for few more classes and what I witnessed was not something I wanted my daughter to go through.

Dance was taught as Mathematics or as a boring technical subject. It looked as if it was mandatory for the teachers to look strict and stern. They had scales in their hands and used it liberally as and when they thought was necessary to maintain the so called perfect discipline. Children were in the age group of 5-7 years and were made to learn dance which they didn't enjoy at all. They all looked miserable and helpless to me. Their doting mothers were there to get one more certificate for their lads and truly believed that there was no other way to learn dance and especially the classical form which is so difficult.

I thought I needed to talk to the teacher and let her know what I thought, but teacher was too busy for all that and she handed over the pamphlet to me which had all the commercial details of different shows held and the final arangetram. I took a long, deep breath and never went back to the place where I thought my daughter would lose most important thing what she already had with her - happiness.

I was hugely disappointed with the way these institutions were run, like factories. Students were put in, packed in the dance package and released in the market.

But I must say I was lucky and we met Ms. Alka, in her first few minutes of interaction she made me believe the world known to me is not over yet. A charismatic personality with a pure, genuine smile on her face she looked like those Gurus who are now extinct in the commercial world.

My daughter, Rucha got connected to her instantly and so are her all other disciples. For last eight years I have been observing Ms. Alka and feel amused and inspired every time I see her. Not once I saw her lose her control or in a moment of disconnect. Her involvement with her students is commendable. Her every student just needs to improve from what she was yesterday, and Ms. Alka's trust pays dividends when they perform.

Yes Rucha did learn Bharatnatyam from her but I saw lot of other aspects shaped up during these last 8 years which are priceless gifts from Ms Alka-her Guru.

Rucha started respecting our Indian roots and was truly convinced about the rich heritage we have, she started believing and respecting The Guru and the Gurukool system of ancient India. She became more humble as she realized more we learn we come to know about more unknown, the ocean of knowledge in any field is vast, in one lifetime we may get to taste few drops and enjoy them if you are lucky.

In her personal world too her Guru had an important role and she was always welcomed with open arms by Ms. Alka. Rucha shared all little secrets and small achievements with her without ever feeling inhibited.

Most importantly it was not only Rucha but her every disciple felt the same about her, and of course the student's family too had the same admiration for this devoted teacher.

I wondered what keeps her going.

It was surely not money, as I have never ever seen her discussing commercial issues. How can she be so satisfied and never in dejection?

She has her objective very clear in front of her eyes and that is taking the dance form forward and as long as her steps are in that direction she is happy, the destination or the ultimate goal was not important but the journey made her happy.

Yes - life is long way but there is no need to concentrate on Goal as in the end you realize the Journey was your destination.

Ms. Alka is a live example of the same.

Life is a journey filled with lessons, hardships, heartaches, joys, celebrations and special moments that will ultimately lead us to our destination, our purpose in life. The road will not always be smooth; in fact, throughout our travels, we will encounter many challenges.

But when we are driven by a positive force within, which is working at a much larger picture than what meets outsider's eyes then everything falls into its place. You know you just need to look at the problem objectively and work on it and oh boy-that's the journey we are talking about, if you enjoy this journey then every moment is a happy moment as it is leading to your objective, and the Goal is non ending, so enjoy the ride completely.

Ms Alka finds every student amazing to work on, her everyday teaching experience gives her complete satisfaction which is evident on her face. She has not decided on what size of canvas but she surely has plenty of colors in her hand and she is busy painting her favorite picture every day, every minute, every second.

I think this is spirituality, that is why when we see her dancing on the stage the pure positivity fills up the atmosphere and you are left to just soak in the experience.