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Not so long ago, on a sunny afternoon of the year 2012, I was singing "Bade acche lagte hai". There was a smile on my father's face as he drifted off to sleep while I sang the song to him. I kept staring at the fine lines on his face which was the result of illness and stress more than his age. He loved listening to me singing these oldies and the songs of Tagore. My thoughts drifted to the days of past.
I was all of 6 then and I would pass most of my time dancing and fooling around. We did not have a very serious routine then. My father was passionate about music. He played the Hawaiian guitar and violin. One fine day, he got me a harmonium and admitted me to a singing class. I was excited. Everytime I start something new, am super excited. I jump in, but I do not necessarily finish it if I do not end up loving it.
I started liking it and I continued my classes. However within a year I realised that I enjoyed dancing more than singing. When I expressed that desire, my father did not agree. He simply said it is not a long term hobby and I might put on weight once I stop dancing. Not that he could stop me from being overweight in a certain phase of my life later, but that is a story for another day.
Anyway I went ahead and joined the local club and started participating in dance programs of local functions during festivals. And I committed countless blunders. For starters, the trainer would go bonkers trying to make me dance on the beat!!!
I continued my singing too. And I was doing ok. But my father kept on encouraging me. He would discourage me from wasting my time on dance practices though.
During my senior school year he forbid me from any dance practices and asked me to concentrate on my studies. Being the teenage rebel, I defied his orders and picked up a huge fight with him. After much arguments and tears, he grudgingly allowed me just one program that summer with the condition that I start giving my exams for Indian Classical singing. We both kept our side of the deal. That year, I directed and performed in a small dance piece and it was a hit. I also sang three songs on the stage that was received well by the audience. There was no looking back since then.
Though too young to introspect, I realised that day that while dancing lets me express my inner craving to be free like a wild bird, singing soothes my soul.
There are some skills you acquire and some you are gifted with. Dancing is an acquired skill for me but singing is just second nature to me. Through those several fights I had with my father, I ended up learning both and I continue to practice both till this day.
Am all for letting kids flourish in the hobby they enjoy. Now that am a mother , I have decided that I will not impose my likes and my unfulfilled desires on my baby. I keep threatening my hubby to not do the same too. However, one of biggest point of difference with my father on this very aspect gave me innumerable enjoyable moments in life.
My father passed away in 2012. All I have is his memories and everytime I close my eyes I remember singing to him. I remember his radiant smile; And I feel thankful that I did not stop pursuing music. In retrospect, his smile was worth it.