SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thresholds - a personal story

 Life is experienced twice. While you go through it and while you remember it looking back!

She was 17years old , when they took her to the studio to pose for a picture. This was very different from the usual pose of a bride to be; rigid, hands crossed in front staring at the camera. Here she was dressed in a velvet blouse and silk saree, seated on a bench of sorts and holding a Veena in her hand. The way you would imagine Raja Ravi Varma to paint his Goddess Saraswathi!

Rajamma , my maternal grandmother was a proficient vainika and vocalist, showing an immense talent at a very young age. She would often accompany her elder brother on performances, enthralling the audience with her throw, range and A pitch. The family really thought they would become musicians of repute, until cruel fate struck a blow and took the brother's breathe as Tuberculosis.

The only alternate was marriage for a girl like her and when a suitable proposal arrive, they sent her off along with the Veena and her voice. Yet the two never were the same. She was married only for 10 years and when Small pox took her husband away, leaving her with 4 small children to fend for, she had only the Veeena to pour her grief into.

Her daughter, my mother, at 17 years was an obedient, meticulous, quiet last sibling of 4. Her mother's talent that had been passed on to her, lay dormant for many years. My mother had no formal training but often listened to her mother sing and play the Veena, which was the only escape and recourse from pain and drudgery of their early life. You see my mother was just 20 days old when her father contracted small pox. 

I was 17 years old and the music which had lain dormant in my mother was being passed on to us (my sister and me) and music and dance classes were part of our lives for atleast 13 years. My mother fulfilling her passions through us, one can say had insisted we went to both. I was a rebel though and cut my hair before a dance performance, learnt western music on casio and just did not want to accept what I had as inheritance. I left dance and I left music.

When my daughter was 4 years old , I put her in music class. The genes were expressing itself strongly as she was the humming- bird in the family. Constantly a tune in her mouth and a hum humming from her. She struggled with learning songs in a language that she did not understand. She fought an internal battle and is too sweet to fight a battle with me, on whether she wants this inheritance or not.

Crossing a threshold is a transition from known to unknown, unknown to known; a space of rebirth, reconnect and reemergence. I have recently joined dance classes again. After a gap of more than 22years. Crossing an internal threshold I find simple joy in reconnecting with moves and mudras that were part of my childhood. While my daughter took the decision to pause her musical journey in order to reconnect with her own self and her journey. We all have such moments in our lives when we cross those poignant thresholds either to reclaim something from the past or to let go what we have or had. Each of these moments in time stand for a great change within and without. This change does not mean we are regressing or progressing in any way, these moments just stand witness to our great self journey. A journey towards a space of peace and joy and acceptance of this birth that we have taken.

Go and enjoy your threshold moments. They mean you are alive.

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