Am I In The Present At The Present Moment?

 

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“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, and that is why it is called the present”

Master Oogway managed to explain a profound thought like this, but I am not quite sure what being in the present means. All I know is that I have felt the feeling of being in the present and I know how that feels. How that feeling of being absolutely in the present feels like.

Like right now. When I am typing this blog on my laptop. Not worrying about the thumbnail I will put to promote it, nor about how well I need to format this content so that it looks and feels more “professional”. I am just scribbling away (or the typing version of whatever it is called).

Has this ever happened to you that you are just always thinking of the number of things you want to do in the coming days, weeks and months but you seem to spend most of your time in just brooding over how much is left to do. And even if you do those things, or at least half of those things, you don’t have the same amount of fun that you used to before.

There is one big downside of making your passion your career, and that is that people will always keep telling you the right move and strategies for your “career”. Your career might have started out as being fun and being in the present and doing what you enjoy doing, but soon became a series of putting up high definition well edited videos so that you retain your audience. And then make sure you follow trends so that you can ace the search engine optimisation game. And then take the trouble to dress well, and put on that extra load of makeup even though sometimes you find the joy in just doing the dance piece “now”. Good background, good choreography. Someone once even told me to strategise my Instagram and put only pictures that I take as a part of a photoshoot so that I can establish my brand.

All great pieces of advice I completely understand. And yes I know that all these factors are fortunately or unfortunately needed to build a brand. But in this rat race of beating some new “punk” who has garnered more views or youtube subscribers than you (or me) in the last few months, I don’t want to end up losing the joy and the passion of actually doing that thing. I don’t want it to become a chore. And I don’t always want to keep thinking how many views my video or blog will generate. And how many people will tell me to improve on point X, y or z.

Let’s start being in the present a little. And do things for the joy of it. Maybe we might end upproducing genius in the name of anything that we are doing.

And yes, this is coming from a semi – public figure who feeds off of popularity from social media. I am aware that one just cannot create as long as one is worrying about results, or numbers.

One can create only and only when one just wants to create. And its not just in terms of quality, but my hunch also says that one can end up doing more work.

 

A simple example before I end this post.

I normally would do just a lot of formatting for a blog post, write down the heading of the content and strategise how my blog post will go. And end up writing one post after months, and that too after a lot of will power pushing.

I did not need that will power pushing today. I am sitting on my yoga mat, with a cup of warm lemon water and some slow jazz music and just typing off.

No pressure.

Let’s hope I remind myself to be in the present and do things for the joy of it. And remind you too.

 

Good morning and a very good September to you!!!

Love,

P

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Ten Things You Can Do On A Saturday Morning

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It was raining last night. A lot of rains and thunder and lightning. The entire city seemed to have gone to sleep by 10pm when I looked outside from my window on a Friday night.

I finished my workout and dinner, Facetimed with an adorable friend of mine and went to sleep.

Today morning, the same gloomy night scene outside my window turned alive. I see kids playing around in their tri-cycles, ladies trying to get some exercise by taking a walk, the grocery delivery boys on their way with grocery on their shoulders carrying their huge green delivery bags.

I am standing by this window, sipping on some warm lemon-honey water, listening to some morning jazz Music and embracing the gorgeous weather Bangalore is blessing me with.

I woke up after I had a nightmare, and had quite a bit of anxiety the second I woke up. But I pushed myself to finish my gratitude journal for today morning and write down all the things I have been grateful for . And yes my anxiety from the nightmare and certain things that had been bothering me, suddenly were completely gone.

Those of you who had a similar state of mind last night and today morning, and are already feeling happy (or are bored and looking to feel happy in this beautiful weather) here are ten things you can do today on a Saturday morning to feel better.

  1. Make yourself a nice, hot cup of coffee. Or ginger tea or warm water with lemon and honey. Go to your terrace or balcony or look outside the window.
  2. Cook breakfast. I am planning to cook some sunny side up eggs, with some sauteed corn peas and tofu pieces, along with some muesli and soy milk and some freshly cut mangoes. If you are too lazy to do that then get up, go get dressed and go to a breakfast place. My Suggestions : Try Glen’s Bakehouse (Indiranagar and Whitefield) . They both have yummy foods and really good portion sizes. If you fancy something fancier then go to Smokehouse Deli (Indiranagar)
  3. Write in your gratitude journal. Don’t have a journal? Take a diary or an office booklet or just about anything and convert that into a gratitude journal. Too lazy to write but want to have a journal ? Get a gratitude app, or just create a private blog on wordpress. (Who knows you could make this gratitude journal public once you are 80 years old and want to share with people all the things you had been grateful for in your life)
  4. Play a sport. If you live in a gated community then go downstairs and just go play something. The community people will always have equipments even if you don’t have one. If not, then go to Gurukul Sports Academy (Whitefield) and rent a badminton racquet and take a friend along, rent a badminton court and enjoy some badminton.
  5. Paint. Draw. Or Create a Mandala. I used to create characters based of my friends and then draw cartoon strips based on real life incidents. I still have the book with me and I treasure it so much.
  6. Install this app called StumbleUpon. My friend Urvi from college had told me about this app when we were studying in college. It is a plug in for Google Chrome and I had forgotten about it until recently. And it is highly entertaining. You can know a lot about a lot of things in the world with that one button.
  7. Install the Kindle app on your phone (any platform) or your Ipad  and get free books. The classics. Did you know that most of the classics that are listed as  ‘The Top 100 Books to Read Before You Die” and “The top 100 All Time Classic Books You Must Read” are mostly free on Amazon Kindle or are either merely priced at a max of Rs. 100. I am reading ‘Gone With The Wind’ right now and I am loving it.
  8. Plan your next trip. Nothing like planning your long overdue holiday right now when the weather is so fantastic. Do some research about places nearby that you could visit and take a trip there. Maybe if the place is closer you could leave tomorrow on a Sunday. Or even better, leave right now after your breakfast.
  9. Listen to some nice morning jazz music that I have been listening to for the past few days.

 

10.  Exercise . And lastly, if you are feeling sluggish and don’t feel like doing any of the above and instead want to just be at home and need a workout, then go do this 6 minutes of ab workout.

 

Have a super happy Saturday morning and I hope you start enjoying the day in 5-6-7-8:)

P 🙂

Find Your Enthusiasm and Embrace It

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This is the year 2017. A year where we should remind ourselves that it is absolutely perfect to be excited about the things that excite you, and make you enthusiastic about things.

A year to be excited about life!!!

Has a situation ever happened to you where you really want to be excited about something but sometimes people  ask you to “tone down” your excitement?

I don’t know about you, but this has happened to me countless times.  There were a lot of times I was asked to “tone down” my excitement when I posted about food, about the healthy stuff I ate, about the yoga poses I did, about all the activities that I followed, the places that I visited.

I was writing in my gratitude journal last night (a habit I started religiously just two days ago, thanks to my friend Alfan who told me about this concept) and I was writing down the things I am grateful for. Apart from all the people around me who have made my life better, I realised that one thing that I have always been grateful for is the fact that I have always been blessed with having a lot of enthusiasm.

I am an extremely enthusiastic person. I am energetic. I have too much energy in every single day that I look for ways to expend so that I can sleep.

I am enthusiastic about little things. About healthy food. About working out . About dancing. About travelling. About minimalistic fashion. About yoga. About reading about various things. About new experiences and documenting them.

This is just who I am.

Nothing anyone tells me or no one can really change that about me.

So along with my gratitude journal, one thing I wanted to talk about is for you not to listen to anyone to ask you to be a certain way. Because honestly, in trying to be someone else you will just do the worst job ever. The only way you can be brilliant is by doing what is really you.

So in this process of identifying who is it that I really am, I have decided that one of the things in my life that I am going to try and incorporate everyday is to be excited about life.

(* Remembering Mr. Parker from the Friends episode, the one who was Phoebe’s date*)

So in no particular order, some of the random things that make me enthusiastic are

  1. Fruits and Vegetables : This has been there since time immemorial. People around me thought that the only reason I ate a lot of fruits and vegetables was so that I could be healthy. But the reality is that even if that were true to quite an extent, I eat them because I absolutely love them. I don’t like dry foods and that is why things like breads I cannot have as much.
  2. Sharing On Social Media About New Experiences : After a couple of years of posting and then become a semi – public figure can really mess up your brain about what is real and what is only a marketing strategy. Especially when you would have friends and managers insisting you post certain things to get certain viewership, I feel like the brain sometimes would go into an altered state of reality. So I took a step back and tried to remember what it is that I really am. And then I realised that I don’t share my life to “become famous” or with an ulterior motive, I share the stuff I am doing because it excites me genuinely. And that is not just social media, but I also share it amongst friends and people around me because sharing is fun. I feel like sometimes you kill a particular experience if you always attach an ulterior motive along with it. Maybe we can do some things in life and get some joys in life by just doing it because you like it.
  3. Making Online Content / Videos : I genuinely love it all. The ideation, camera work, angles, lighting, choreography, scripting, shooting, talking, managing, editing, uploading, creating thumbnails. And no, I do not do this because I am “supposed” to do this for my work. I love doing this and would have been doing this irrespective of whatever job I had, or wherever I was in my life. I love making videos and I have close to 20-25 video concepts right now in my diary waiting to be shot and uploaded.
  4. Talking : This was one of the most bizarre things I experienced even as a kid. They always, ALWAYS asked you to shut up. I don’t get it. I love to talk, I probably want to make a parallel income by talking for a living too. But more on that later. Point is, please do not ask your child to shut up when he has the potential of being an orator when he grows up.
  5. Working out, Dancing and Other Activities : I’ve always been the kind who loves movement. It was not a recent development for me. I was always the most restless kid in class. Even when I was a 2 year old, my mom used to think I would become a gymnast because I would climb on swings and invert myself at that tender age. Movement for me is natural . Being static and calm is a very unnatural process for me. The only time I am calm and not moving is when  I am meditating, or sleeping (although I toss and turn quite a bit sometimes even when I am sleeping)

Point here is that, if certain things make you happy, do it. All the time. And stop trying to fit a certain kind of role that others ask you to fit in. You like bright neon clothes, wear them. You like striped clothes, wear them. You have a favourite pair of yoga pants and wear them more often, then wear them.

I am encouraging everyone who is reading this post to embrace where their natural enthusiasm lies.  Whether it is new found enthusiasm, or something that has been there since childhood.

Embrace your natural enthusiasm.

And forget if it fits with the world’s definition of enthusiasm.

Sorry, but I am not sorry for being an enthusiastic person !!!

And to any of you who were ever asked not to be excited about something, kindly show them the exit door. Because you need to be just who you are. And if something excites you, then do EXACTLY that 🙂

Big dancing love and a lot of gratitude :*

Signing off in 5-6-7-8,

P 🙂

I Moved Houses and Things I Learnt About Houses in 2017

 

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I moved houses last week. Moved closer to my main area of work in Bangalore. Also moved to a smaller house because after last year I realised that I did not really even need to live in a huge 2bhk with wall mirrors attached and a rehearsal room and a separate office room when I am travelling in and out of Bangalore for almost 7 months out of 12. Plus my previous house did not have enough sunlight. And I realised that I need sunlight to function properly and to be happy, positive and energetic rather than lazy and sleepy throughout the day. So this house I call it my “liveable storehouse” where I can pack my bags and leave whenever I need to. And ironically, out of the seven days since I have moved in to this house, I have been travelling for four. So looks like it already is a good decision moving into a smaller, more sunny house.

But that is not the most important part. My lifestyle when I moved into my previous house in 2016 versus the house when I moved in 2017 feels like two different people altogether.

(Remember that this is a case when you don’t own a house but rather rent houses. Maybe life is different when you own a house, but these are things I learnt after living in a rented house)

My top three things that I have learnt in 2017 yet :

a) Living Out of Boxes Is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

I can be ferociously hard working when it comes down to business. I know that about myself. I can work like a maniac. Non stop for 18-20 hours. Can dream about solutions in my sleep and wake up knowing the answers to a certain issue. When I rehearse for a dance piece, I dance it a zillion times. Even if I know it.

As hard working as I am when I need to, I am equally lazy when I don’t have an agenda. Infectiously lazy. If I am in my lazy state and you end up making the mistake of visiting my house, I can make you sit besides me with another cup of green tea in your hand and watch a tv series or listen to music with a glass of Merlot. And this territory is dangerous. If I get lazy it is impossible to “Un – lazy” myself unless pushed by a lot of people or projects.

What works to prevent me from being lazy is not to make the place too comfortable. So I haven’t unpacked all boxes yet. Just the ones that is needed for functionality. Minimalism. My house is comfortable. But not “settled in” . The second it feels “settled” I will go to my couch and not get my lazy ass up.

Plus living out of boxes makes you not feel like you “belong” at home. You already feel like a backpacker. So right now, if I get a call saying there is a fantastic project for me in any part of the world where I need to live there for a couple of months, I just need to wake up, pack bags, book tickets, lock my door and fly away.

Also I cannot say this enough now, since my experience of throwing just so much crap away before I moved houses

STOP – BEING – A – HOARDER

You will thank me for this. Moving house, making bigger, more radical decisions become so much easy when you don’t have a bajillion items in your house to deal with. My friend told me this. He follows a strict Japanese style of home interiors. And he has been living this way for about 6 years. No wonder he manages to travel all over the world.

b) All Good Things Happen Outside Your Comfort Zone. And Outside Your House

Get out.

Get out.

Get out.

(This is what I keep telling myself)

I am clearly an “outside the home, out of your shell” type of a person. I am a chameleon. I can become a perfectly content introvert, enjoying the company of myself while I am at home, spend even weeks without needing human company. I would read, workout, create, cook, groom myself, do just endless amount of things at home. I don’t get bored by myself at all. But then I also love meeting humans. Hearing their stories. Making friends. Having a social circle.

Meeting strangers is my favourite thing lately. Random people where you have random talks. Sort of like the “Humans of New York” type experience.

And now I know. I want to be out. Being at home can be addictive, and can get you into a shell. I want to break free from the shell. So I am getting out so much more now.

All the best things happen just when you get out. Whether it is for a rehearsal, for a dance performance you signed up to go watch. If nothing else, then just take your laptop or your diary and sit in a coffee shop or a cafe, and work. Anything. As long as you are getting out of your pyjamas and oiled hair. And getting dressed. Trust me, the extra bucks you spend on coffee / herbal tea made outside actually is so worth it. Worth doing that for all the freelancers / self employed folks out there.

 

c) Stop Being In a Relationship With Your House. It Is Just Cement And Concrete. 

The House Is Not Important At all. Because The Reality Is You Like Making Life Outside Of It.

I was preoccupied with making sure my house is set PERFECTLY last year. This year I am all about functionality and minimalism. I donated close to half of my clothes, old dance costumes, extra furniture and just a lot of random clutter that took up all my space. I spent all my time trying to make my house a perfect haven to live and work in, and then I realised that whenever I was at home, I was isolating myself from the possibility of meeting new people, having more experiences that could happen outside the house. Also the travel bug hit me in 2016 and I realised that I am genuinely blessed to have a career where I can hop from city to city, country to country and be ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. So why am I not taking advantage of it to the fullest?

I changed my plan of having a private space to practice for myself at home. I am renting studios to rehearse now and it works perfectly. The idea of a private space is when I construct my personal space and buy a plot of land to do the same. Till then let me enjoy the wandering and no commitment policy with my house.

So I officially broke up with the idea of “setting my house to make it perfect” and instead use the house as a tool to get what I really want in life.

 

Also, I hope you had an amazing Valentine’s day and spent good time with your loved ones, in person or virtually through technology. Because I made sure I do. And absolutely made sure I spend some time in the day on myself, by myself.

Till the next post,

Signing off in 5-6-7-8,

Priya

 

 

2017 : New Habits And General Updates

2017

 

Blogging is a habit. Just like brushing your teeth at night. You know you can skip it and it won’t totally damage your teeth but you wake up in the morning regretting not brushing the previous night. Blogging feels exactly like that.

It has been four months since I blogged, and whenever I wake up from a long hibernation, the first roadblock that happens is to figure out what to write about. And since I have a lot of things to talk about that are uncategorised, let us call it the first uncategorised post of 2017.

This year started with a lot of positivity. 2016 had been a year of learning. A lot of learning. Learning to live alone all over again. Learning to handle failures and volatility. 2016 also taught me that managing finances is very important. It also made me realise just how important dance is for me. Also learning that mood is a temporary affair which can be cured with a good 20 minute workout. The time around October 2016 was a turning point for me where I decided that I wasn’t happy with the way my life was going. I decided I would change that. It took me a good three months to get myself to a stable state so that I could embrace 2017 the second it started.

So what is going on with me at the moment? For starters I started inculcating a few habits that I did not do during the most parts of 2016 but started doing around October 2016.

In no special order of importance, these are the five things I have started doing in 2017.

1. I Exercise For At least 16 Minutes Everyday, No Matter What

I think we end up looking for perfection and maximum efficiency from a workout. Wear the perfect workout clothes, make sure you are not too hungry, perfect music, yoga mat all set up, your music playlist arranged in screenshot_2017-01-31-21-41-01-585_com-halcyoni-gymboss2the order you want. But reality is that none of these things really happen. So I do 3 minutes of Surya Namaskars, 6 minutes of Glute workout, 5 minutes of Abs , 2 Minutes of Arms even if I do not do anything else in the entire day. No exceptions to this. Holidays, fever, if I am chilling I am doing at least this. I have this app on my phone called ‘GymBoss’. Install it now and you will thank me. I have made most of my friends and students and dance company folks install it. And no I am not getting any commission for installation of this free app. This is how my app is customised for me.

 

2. I Am Meditating Almost Everyday

I will say almost because I keep missing a couple of days since the time I started and I am not very proud of it. But screenshot_2017-01-31-22-20-20-821_com-spotlightsix-zentimerlite2my god, what is this magical potion of meditation that works as soon as you open your eyes ready to take on the world? To make it even more interesting, I installed this app called ‘Insight Timer’ which times the duration of your meditation so that you won’t want to open your eyes every two minutes to check the time. Time obviously moves extremely slowly when meditating and ten minutes feels like a lifetime. But I slowly managed to increase it to fifteen. This app also keeps track of how many days you have meditated continuously and gives you stars. What a nice way to make meditation a fun little game? Here is a snapshot of my profile from the app (I missed the last two days so lost out on the consecutive day count).

 

 

3. I Am Reading One Book A Month in 2017

I used to read a decent amount of Enid Blyton books when I was a kid, but the habit of reading diminished to a large extent with the Internet and “with growing up”. That isn’t to say that I completely stopped reading books. I would still manage to read a book (mostly half a booscreenshot_2017-01-31-22-21-27-651_com-amazon-kindlek) in bursts and feel pretty good about myself but that was pretty much it. Because of Kindle and this book I found after I saw this TED talk by this lady called Mel Robbins, I bought her book and read it. My friend told me he was keeping this resolution, so I decided to do it as well.  Why I feel good about it? Reading helps me focus on just absorbing the information in front of me, without getting anxious about the gazillion things going on in my mind. And man it works. Kudos to all those who have a regular reading habit, because I can imagine how calm they must be. I read “Stop Saying You’re Fine” by Mel Robbins for January, and reading “Money Wise” by my dear friend and writer Sharath Komarraju for February 2017 (who also happens to be my best friend Aditi Manja’s husband).

 

4. I Am Taking  A Conscious Effort To Post About My Work / Me on Social Media

Just like exercising, social media is also a result of routine. People think it is an addiction. I find it a habit. If you vanish off social media for a month, it becomes absolutely impossible to figure out where to start and what to post. And in this age of social media being so important for marketing and branding for our professions, I knew  I had to break out of the social media vacation and get back into the game and stop shying away from the camera.  Not just that, but isn’t it such a nice feeling to share your thoughts to people you know (and also don’t know but want to see your work)? All those lookbooks to #outfitoftheday pictures you see on Instagram where I am dressed up, to dance videos to photoshoots with wonderful photographers, all of that took effort. It took a lot of push from within to get the habit in place. And the best part is that the habit takes just a few instances of pushing yourself, and before you know it you are back in the game. Social media helps you share your thoughts, your work. If it creates anxiety it needs intervention, but if it gives you an outlet to share , then I am always up for it. This is helping me not just share my thoughts, but also get comfortable to make more videos, and hopefully more talking videos on Youtube in the near future. It does help me feel good about myself. I am meant to be in front of the camera. Being in front of the camera energises me, so I want to make sure I understand and encourage that. Here is today’s Instagram post: img_20170131_173938_061

5. I Am Socialising More 

I practically had to whack my own head and remind me that there is nothing more enriching than meeting people, making friends, socialising and attending events. It teaches you so much about so many things and it is absolutely essential for your own well being. Socialising boosts your self-esteem, actually gets you out of the house and a perfect excuse to get out of your yoga pants and dress up (where otherwise you would have been sitting at home wearing your hair up and looking like a hundred year old lady watching an episode of Friends and getting more and more disconnected with human beings). Man is a social animal. Find out where you get your energy from. I always thought I am an extroverted introvert. But when I started socialising I realised I get energised after meeting people. Amazing people and amazing conversations energise me. I still like my occasional quiet time to rejuvenate if there has been a lot of noise for a prolonged period of time, but for the majority of it I need people in my life. I need human beings and I have learned that well. Not to forget how you learn about different things happening in the world, different work opportunities and a great place to network.

 

Before I end this post, I’d just like to tell everyone that we all go through tough times in life. What is important is to let it go and realise it is time to come back home to where you belong , and slay it like your own kingdom.

For all those who have greater reasons to look forward to a brilliant 2017, I wish you ‘Slay’ this year like the Queen (or King)  and nothing lesser. And here is a song just for you 🙂

Love,

Priya

 

Picture Courtesy : Yoga at Goa, India by Alex Kennedy (http://vimeo.com/aken)

Temple bowl picture (Source : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp0CPGiQphI)

Epiphany And The Power of A Diary

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It can strike without warning.

You never know when you get it.

It is a strong feeling. Overwhelming yet liberating.

A fleeting moment. Catch it before it goes away.

Write it down.

Write it all.

I developed the habit of writing since childhood. I got my first diary when I was 12. I would write a lot of things there. Feelings, insecurities, aims and ambitions, lists. I have been on this writing journey for the longest time and each day I try and understand aspects of who I really am. What my traits are. What I like and hate. Sometimes in this worldly process of showing an image of yourself one forgets to see what they really like in the first place.

When you write, you identify what you like. What you do not like. What bothers you. What does not.

And most importantly, there are very few times in life where you get an epiphany.

And when you get that, you do not want to forget what it was.

I have five ways I can suggest where one gets more in tune with themselves. And thus experienced a greater sense of awareness. I try and do this at least once a day or whenever I can. And I feel so much more in tune with my emotions. And most importantly I feel calmer during the day and about little things that I might have been mulling over.

  1. Prioritise at least ten minutes of the day to write – I take 20 when I am anxious or sad or stressed with work or stressed about the future. Helps like magic. I also as a rule carry my diary everywhere I can. It stays in my purse with a pen sticking to it. When I am angry, I use a bigger handwriting and crib. Crib like never before. And in less than 2 minutes I can’t even remember why I was cribbing in the first place. Have you heard people say “Learn to suppress your emotions?” . I say do the opposite to your diary. If you are sad, tell your diary you are the saddest you have ever been. I swear after two pages of your saga, you would realise you aren’t really sad actually but wanted to over dramatise your situation and two pages of doing that helped you get back things in perspective.
  2. Listen to Headspace : The coolest meditation app. I try and do this daily. I love the animation in between videos especially. You can download this free 10 day app from Playstore in Android phones.
  3. Drink some sort of a beverage in the morning : I switch between coffee, green tea and lemon water for variety. But yes doing that gives one a certain sense of calmness in this mad world. I tried quitting coffee for a bit. But realised that the anxiety created inside me was because of having multiple cups of coffee. One cup does no harm . Tip – I use coconut milk (Dabur Coconut Milk in a tetrapack) instead of cow milk. My acne is very much under control by staying away from animal milk (I have a feeling I am lactose intolerant to a large extent)
  4. Watch atleast one TED Talk : They say you do a lot of what you want for yourself. And till I give my TED talk in life, I thought why not watch them.
  5. Go out, Socalize, Dress Up, Get Out of The House : Its weird our culture teaches us so less about fashion and makeup. It is honestly such a  self loving sort of a mechanism. I am actually going to start an Outfit of the Day pictures on Instagram. I have shopped quite a lot of new clothes and accessories recently and want to share with you guys.

And one last thing. People are good, I think. We just sometimes get stuck in our own shortcomings that we end up seeing negative in people around. But I think people are good. And I am lucky I have the best people around me who are the nicest and help me deal with my shortcomings.

Love

Priya

 

Law for Art in India : Stories of My Hampi Trip

I am going to share with you this incident that happened recently.

So, Alex and I took a Hampi trip about two weeks back. We had planned to explore the city and see if we could incorporate a dance based video shoot at the same time.

We drove from Bangalore to Hampi in my car and fortunately the roads were really good for more than half the journey. Luckily we also had some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches packed with us to deal with our hunger pangs.

This was our first time to Hampi, so both of us were equally starry eyed about it. We spent day one in exploring Hampi and visited a couple of tourist spots. I like doing a lot of classical fusion dances, and thought that the stone like architecture would be the perfect background for our classical fusion dance video collaboration.

We reached a location which was not exactly a monument. It had a lot of rocks and the typical Hampi based stone like structures. We saw around four people in the area doing photography as well. Alex was doing the camera work while I was planning my choreography. We assumed that was a rather low profile area since we saw this tiny hut with some kids living there, drying their clothes on one of the rocks.

Now just as we started shooting I saw a security personnel nearby and he was on the phone with someone. I sensed warning signs and was aware that they might ask us to leave or say that we have no official permission (this has happened to me even in places like Cubbon Park, Bangalore once and their logic is that you can take pictures and videos for weddings but not for a video shoot, I have still not figured out the logic of this though).

I was looking around for the same security guy, and before we knew it we had close to twenty policemen / security guards in blue uniform run from a far distance through the rocky structures.

I was at a height and could see all of them run towards my friend with the camera and asked him to stop the video then and there. Stunned to see twenty policemen running towards me made me believe that we have done something terribly wrong.

“Stop the camera. Stop the camera I say” screamed the security guy.

“Calm down please, I am shutting it right now” Alex said.

“Stop the footage and delete whatever footage you have” said the security guy.

I managed to climb down the rocks with my Ghungroos and walked up to them, trying to figure out what exactly went so wrong that we needed twenty people to run towards us.

They were aggressive and told me not to take any video footage around this area since it was protected by the Archaeological Department. I apologised and told them we were not aware of this. But we wanted to know where we can shoot since I am looking at a place where I can get a good shot of Hampi as well as not break any rules.

“Madam your biggest mistake was to use a tripod. When you use a tripod, then things become official, and that is not allowed” One guy said.

“So can we continue the shoot on my DSLR without the tripod?” I asked innocently.

“You can take pictures only, not videos” He said.

“So can I pose as a dancer but just take pictures here, without a tripod?” I asked, feeling confused about what exactly the rules were.

Another guy interrupts and says “Madam, you can even take a video if you like, but you cannot wear a dance attire (essentially telling me I can dance and a video is allowed, but without Ghungroos and the Teeka on my head)”

“So let me get this straight. I can actually take a video here, just like everyone else around here is taking videos as I can see them right now. But I just cannot dress up and dance” I said.

They just sort of looked at each other, trying to come to a unanimous decision of why they were even running after us in the first place.

“No dancing basically, dance attire or not” One guy said.

We realised this discussion was going nowhere and so we apologised and left the scene. The other photographers with bigger DSLRs stood there and watched the whole scene.

I must admit, I was pretty traumatised trying to shoot even without a dance attire anywhere in Hampi, because I feared that they would not “allow” me to dance. Luckily Alex managed to calm my nerves and made sure we do not let that affect our trip.

It is so ironic that our intention was to promote Hampi along with my dancing and Alex’s video skills but apparently you can take the best landscape videos and send them to Nat Geo, but you should not “dance” anywhere.

We felt like it would have been better to take good landscape videos and then shoot me dancing separately on a green screen and just paste me on the background.Even though we felt like two convicts that are running away from security, at the end of the day we made sure that did not let our spirits down.

The story ends here… And I am left thinking.

So I understand laws like infiltration of property, and videography and photography being banned at certain places, but what I am failing to understand is this selective type of banning. I also understand that they are worried if this is a commercial advertisement. But honestly, who would create an advertisement with one model and one cameraman , and that too a basic DSLR?

My question is, why is dancing not allowed if regular photography and videography is allowed ? Dancing is just the same human moving a little bit. Why is it such a bad thing ? Does our Indian constitution have rules where dancing is not allowed or that “wedding portraits” are okay in parks but movement is not ?

Have any of you faced a situation where you have failed to understand what exactly the law states here? Can I maybe get some clarity so that I understand what is allowed and what is not? Or do I do what I have been doing for the past few years and find a spot with less people, shoot quickly and run away like a thief?

I still wish to find a place where I can do an outdoor dance shoot and not be scared of seeing security people who would tell me that is not allowed, when I see multiple people around me take videos.

Let me know if you can understand how this works really. Because I have no answers yet.

P.S : This incident did not deter the excitement of our trip. Hampi is still a gorgeous place and I recommend you all to go visit it at least once. It was a shame I have been living in Bangalore for almost six years and this was my first time there. I had the best time and that place has the best vibe 🙂

Attaching some pictures from the Hampi trip.

 

Love,

Priya

Even Heroes Have The Right To Bleed

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This is going to be a pretty candid post and maybe a long one (I am typing as it comes to me, and I am prepared not to filter out anything after I type it down)

So here it goes.

I would describe myself as a decently ambitious person who always has had dreams and goals and ambitions. Right from the time I was a kid I always worked towards certain plans in my life, and honestly have led a pretty busy life overall. I love to succeed, I love to accomplish things. And I love to inspire others.

I love to be strong. And fearless. And determined.

But sometimes we get weak temporarily.

And that is okay.

I don’t really know whether that happens with everyone, but I feel like its common human behaviour to share with people things we have achieved, while hide our failures. We definitely have sometimes where we want to hide our success too, which could be a result of not wanting to be in the limelight, or sometimes just that success can get daunting too at times so we want to keep it in the low as much as possible.

I suffered a heartbreak last year. I was supposed to leave for the US that time. I felt grief. I think my mind went into a slight state of shock, not being able to comprehend what exactly happened and what I am supposed to do next. The ambitious little girl inside me had planned a huge list of things to do and goals to achieve once I reached there.

And as strong as I thought I was as a person, I was vividly aware that it was affecting my body, my mind and all of it. It has taken me around a year to accept and admit to myself that I just needed to give myself that time to heal.

I thought I was healing. When I realised suddenly that everyone was just very concerned about me. And my friends started telling me that a lot of people were gossiping about me. I had people who specifically told me not to talk about this because people will “think” I am weak and will try to weaken me even more. Usually I am very used to hearing things said about me (funnily anyone who gossips with anyone else about me, there is always someone in that group who knows me well enough to tell me about the gossip :P). But this time, I knew I was hurt and weak. And I needed my time to heal.

Now I was in a weird state where I had just got back from my Mumbai stint with DID and now everyone was telling me that I was supposed to “encash” on the fame. I have messages of not-so-close acquaintances who personally messaged me and would say things like “Look at the other contestants, they are using the name and doing so much, this is your time, why are you not doing as much?”

I would honestly have no strength to explain things like I need my time to heal. I would feel even weaker at those moments. And honestly, even in my weakest times, I never doubted my talent nor my skills. But I was aware that I was wounded and needed my time to heal and could not wake myself up even if I wanted to.

My sleep went for a toss in the process. I think it was a combination of Mumbai night shoots and rehearsal and the heartbreak that completely made my system upside down.

I found it hard to sleep. I normally read a book or played some hypnosis tape to be able to sleep, and after an hour or so I would fall asleep.

I almost stopped making Youtube videos, or blogging. Well, I made a couple of Youtube videos and uploaded them, but my self-esteem had taken a bit of temporary toss, so anything I made, I was never happy with. And it still lies in my channel like a private video till date.

I have been fighting my own instinct of realising I am not feeling all that strong, but I hate accepting that I can ever be weak. But then the lack of acceptance is making me feel stuck. And stagnant. All of us go through phases where we feel completely unmotivated, and unexcited about a lot of things we need to do.

And only if you finally accept that you are weak at the moment, can you get the strength to get yourself up and put yourself back on the running track where you left yourself before.

The most important thing I learned in this year is that

It is always a phase. And remember, phases don’t last forever.

Do I want to call myself weak? Of course not. Am I vulnerable? Yes. We all are at different times. But its our vulnerability that is our greatest strength.

I took a couple of months, meditated a lot, ate good food, took care of my body, read a lot of books in the process, travelled to a lot of places and slowly started healing.

I wrote a journal almost daily, and I still do it till date. It helped me regain my self worth a lot. I also met a counsellor, a psychologist, during the time I was completely in a state of shock, and she helped me talk my inner grief through.

That is when I also learned that counselling can be the best help you can get. And counselling does not make you a “crazy” person. It in fact helps you from preventing yourself from becoming crazy with pent-up grief.

I look back at what happened last year, and now I just smile. I smile because I slowly realised that self love was more important than anything. And I realise that all that was a part of the bigger picture. It was almost as if it was fit into my jigsaw puzzle of my life. And the bigger picture is not bad. It is pretty darn amazing in fact.

So what if I was the little kid tripped while running her marathon and bruised her knee, she wants to be the kid that wakes up, brushes the mud and blood off her bruised knee, and resume the race and finish like she has never run in her life before. This kid does not give up!!!

Usually I write posts which can help inspire people who are reading this. Something which helps motivate people to become better versions of themselves. But today I did not want to do that. I wanted to be vulnerable. Surprisingly, I feel strong as I type each word down. I feel more positive, and alive and self loving again.

I feel fearless all over again. Fearless to accept situations. Fearless to embrace it. And fearless to face my own fears with it. Also fearless to write this down, even though I might be a couple of months late into the post.

 

I did get a lot of good things this year, which I am realising only right now as I am jotting it all down.

  1. I had a some really amazing vacations this year, something which I never took the time out to do. In fact some of them ended up being sponsored by event companies since I was doing maybe a performance or a workshop in that particular city. I managed to see a couple of cities in Thailand, a few places in India like White Sands of Kachchh, Rishikesh and Haridwar, Muzaffarpur, Hampi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and hoping for at least four more holidays before this year finishes.
  2. I restored my faith in the idea of love. And love not just for a partner, but compassion and kindness and humanity for everyone around. It makes the world a better place and DEFINITELY makes you feel amazing.
  3. I became a proud aunt. My best friend Aditi Manja gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and the feeling of seeing a newborn that beautiful was the most beautiful feeling.
  4. I learnt that I can become anxious sometimes and get cranky at people for the wrong reasons. And I started accepting that. I never accepted that before. I usually always felt it was the other person’s fault. I was able to learn to look inside myself. It takes time and I am slowly learning to cope with it by calming myself down. But the admittance was the biggest achievement. At least now I know what I am doing wrong when I am losing my temper and trying to strike mental flags to keep a check.
  5. I feel much more fearless about what other people might “think” of me. I now feel much more free about going about whatever I wish to do, without doing things just to meet people’s expectations.
  6. I feel the highest degree of self love that I have ever felt before in my life. I can feel that self love for me is the highest degree of love one can have. And you can love people and family and friends around only when you have enough love for yourself first.
  7. I got into this amazing habit of reading that never happened before. I wouldn’t say I was a complete non-reader, but my reading would be very erratic and I would always leave a book half finished. This time every book that I have picked up has been finished end to end and I have been left feeling inspired every single time.

 

So yes, all of us have times of grief and setbacks. Maybe losing a job, losing a loved one, failing in a business. Anything.

And honestly mine is not even the worst setback one can have. So for anyone reading this, who has had any kind of setback before in their life, or having it now, I am there for you in spirit. And you can remember that even the best of people get wounded at times, and being wounded can give you some surprising light at the end of the tunnel.

Remember this is a phase. It is always a phase. As long as you know that you will be okay.

 

To a bright, happy, starry eyed present and an absolutely fearless future, it is time for us cuddle. Cuddle our inner souls like a kid holding a rag doll, and holding on to it tight. And not hurry. But just cuddle till you are happy.

We all will be okay.

We can’t not be okay, right ? 🙂

This song is for all of us in need for a little bit of reassurance from time to time.

I know that it is considered taboo to talk about setbacks we have had in life, because society has taught us only to talk about achievements. But if you are reading this, and are in need of a friend to talk to, you can mail me at priya.kumar.0707@gmail.com and I could be the friend that listens. I am even okay to speak over the phone if necessary. But basically just letting you know that if you are reading this, you have someone to talk to , if you ever need me 🙂

Love,

Priya

 

P.S : The title of this blog is a line taken from one of my favourite songs.

 

Go Back In Time And Find Out What The Child In You Really Wanted

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I had seen a TED talk recently about this lady who said she was very afraid of hiding. She had a very individualistic style of dressing and had very individualistic hobbies. And she said that she never felt weird about anything she did till she came to another city. The moment she realised that she is differently dressed compared to others and has a sense of individuality which might be categorised as “weird”, she started hiding her personality. I am sure a lot of us could relate to that. We love say doing certain things, but we know that people around us will make fun of us, so we try and not do those things. This has happened to us since childhood. Say I like looking into the mirror, and someone tells me only stupid people look into a mirror. And before you know it, I start hating to look in the mirror. But the hate towards the mirror was never real. That was taught to us by some external agent.

That TED talk hit me quite strongly. Because I was trying to go back to my childhood and remember the things I loved doing. And whether a lot of it got lost or diminished a little bit. I loved being in front of the camera, I loved dancing and being the leader. I loved looking at myself in the mirror. I loved acting and mimicking other people. I loved posing for the camera. I am pretty sure I toned that aspect of myself down as I grew up. I wonder why though.

I fear I might be judged. I think at various points when we stop what we really love to do, it is mostly because we are scared of being judged.

That fear is the exact problem. We are fearful not because of other people. We are fearful because of our own insecurities. The day I start posting  a lot of videos without feeling fearful is the day I know I would have conquered this fear of mine. And meditating today also made me think of those thoughts and feel much more confident after I opened my eyes after those fruitful ten minutes.

So my request to you is this. Do what makes you happy. And I know for a fact that if you stand by what you like, then even the people who did not approve will come around.

I have always felt that there are more nice people in the world than bad people. And the people who are bad are not born bad, it is situations and life lessons where the cynic in them has taken over.

I attended this Buddhist meditation camp last weekend where the venerable explained that when we react to an angry person, it is because we have not yet learnt to separate the anger from the person itself. Think about it like this. When someone is angry, it is not who they are, it is almost like an entire different emotion has taken over. Humans are designed to be social creatures who have humanity and compassion, but it just gets lost as we grow up and see the vices of the world.

More on my updates. I am in Mumbai for a few days . I have come here for a performance and I shall be back to Bangalore very soon.

And must I say this city never gets boring. One can just not be bored here.

I shall update my next blog post once I am back.

Love,

Priya

 

How 10 Minutes of Quiet Can Change Oneself

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“Do I want to listen to music or do I want to listen to noise?”

I can just sense so much of noise right now. I can feel the jitters caused by cars honking, people fighting. The incessant hullabaloo of everything around. The urgency of getting jobs done, the body being under constant hurry all the time. The panic, the impatience and the racket around the work place. This just does not seem to stop anytime soon. Looks like this racket shall continue and not stop for a very, very long time.

And just then I realise. I am sitting inside my home, quiet and tranquil, with a friendly and a quiet neighbourhood.

I then realise that all that noise is the clutter of my mind.

I don’t know whether its just me, but I feel like as we are growing older, there just seems to be so much noise inside the head. I remember when I was a kid, and I used to love painting. So I would take my drawing book, my colors, sit on the floor and just paint. As simple as that. When someone would ask me what I am doing, I would say “I am painting”. Thats it. I am not painting-and-talking to someone-and- making chai – and thinking about how I should get more focussed at work – and – thinking about why someone said what they said to me and brooding over it. I am just painting. And thats all.

Someone once told me that the complexities of our lives increase as we age, which probably might be true. But then why are we working so hard and trying to get better in our lives then? Aren’t we doing that primarily so that we could hope to lead a more clutter-free life?

It would have been better for me to write a before / after blog post to see how much clutter the mind had before I meditated and how much it helped after meditation. I’ll be honest here, I am just not able to keep a strong schedule of meditating daily. I can workout daily with complete ease, but it takes a lot of hard work to keep a journal of meditating daily. And trust me, I am no expert here because my concentration is usually out of whack. But what I am writing here right now is a result of just ten minutes of meditation, that too after a few hours of preparing the mind to sit at one place for the meditation.

That’s when I think. If a ten minute meditation can make me feel so liberated that I am able to pull off writing this one blog post at one shot without checking my Whatsapp, or Facebook, or Instagram, or even petting my pup , even once, then I can only imagine how much people can do if they manage to meditate on a daily basis, and thus clear out their mind from the clutter of being distracted all the time.

I know this for a fact. Personally I believe I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for life. I really love taking the effort to do things, all kinds of things. But I am also a very distracted person. I am like what Phoebe, my pup was when she came home for the first time and she was 6 weeks old.  I am like that, with the only difference being that I am 28 years old and nothing as cute compared to her.

I am not saying technology is bad. Nor am I saying that anything is bad. Everything is good and necessary for us to live in this new-age like new-age cool people. All I am saying is that meditating for ten minutes felt good. For a very distracted person like me. And hopefully blogging about it might give me a little more push to try and do that whenever my default state of mind wants to become that tiny Phoebe once again and run after all her toys without knowing which toy she wants at that moment.

Lets hope this shall continue and I manage to keep my focus on to do the things I love to do the most.

And I hope this blog helps you in some way 🙂

Love,

Priya