Her conversations with the Ocean

I am sipping tea, and we’re standing between Mumbai and Vadodara, somewhere on the highway. Everyone’s sleeping in the bus, after all, it’s 3 AM and we’re tired after a long day, an exhaustive performance, so much travel, and a workshop on ‘voice and speech’. We travelled by bus, a team of 10 people, to a festival which was competitive in nature. We came back with a merit and few words of appreciation. An experience to remember.

With 2 nights of constant travel, the driver needed rest. We halted. I stepped out. Behind me came one of my youngest team mates, ‘you know, paranormal activity happens between 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM’ he said. “Is it?” I inquired curfc423c07-032b-4240-bf74-bdedc28957a3iously, with a smile. Another colleague got down and joined me for tea, “It’s 3:30 AM” I smiled, “eerie time to be awake huh?”;  “Perhaps!” said the 15 year old.  “But we have the moon with us! The light will help.” said my colleague, and we looked up to the sky. Interestingly mesmerizing, was the view of the moon. We stood in silence, sipping tea and drawing inferences. I could hear the ocean, distant. I could also hear the winds, in conversation.

Theatre is like an ocean” my colleague had said in the workshop, where the mentor asked us why we do theatre. Theatre is like a ocean. “Why would you say that?” I ask him now, in an afterthought. He says, “It’s beyond the purview of our common sight.”  “You may read a dailogue and simply speak it out, but the depths that lie in each word, need a lot more of reading between the lines, flowing between the lines to really comprehend.” He says, in a matter of fact manner.

I knew, I always knew it is beyond.

In fact, in one of my childhood poems I had a line about my dreams (theatre), it ended on the sentence, ‘I know it calls me far beyond, than where I walk to it.”

In this journey, it called me beyond my limits, my language, my identity, my perspectives, my belief systems, and my spirituality too.

Something like Love.

We begin our journeys in love with a certain belief system. With a certain expectation. With a certain idea. For some it’s traditional, for some it’s free spirit – but ultimately, it is a belief system. And when that doesn’t work, we either feel rejected or we feel dejected. Isn’t it?

For one thing, I have always been liberal, generous, and spontaneous. I have been loving, and caring too. I have centred my life, around love. I have made it a priority too. And still I find myself, disappointed in some ways. Though, happy in some too.

Happy because I centred my life around love, but it wasn’t one love.

Yes! As disturbing, ironical, disgraceful as that may sound – it wasn’t one love. I centred my life around love for my people and love for my work. I centred my life around my romance with a person and with an idea.

In most cases, the ideas survived, the person taught me something more about life and left. The disappointment isn’t so much in leaving, as much as how the goodbyes happen.  This song perfectly defines it, ‘Mana ke hum yaar nahi”, where she says “raaste mein jab milo toh, hath milane ruk jana.” Effectively, yes, we aren’t friends anymore but can we still greet eachother on the crossroads of life? In respect of our past. Let’s begin with believing that we were right people, just different in opinion and expectations; is it possible to achieve this each time we are disappointed in people?

And perhaps that’s where my disappointment lies. In the love that despises, rejects, turns away and disowns. Like you never existed. Like life, goes on, like it never mattered and it never counted. Do we really need to be heartless to be strong? Do we have to be free from emotions to be brave?alia-bhatt_640x480_71478076956

But then, even as these questions persists, the answers lie in the second love. More often than not, I found that these encounters smooth out, that people do come back in one way or the other. It’s rare that someone who mattered too much to you, walked out and you never saw or heard of them again. Even in death, one will certainly walk to the funeral of the other. I especially like that scene in the movie, Dear Zindagi, the last scene, when Kyra makes her film and at the premiere, are each of her past flames. Putting their past behind them and respecting that journey, you seem them cheer her on.alia-bhatt-4

And you can see, what has set her free! It wasn’t another ‘shoulder’; it wasn’t another person, but her romance with life, her love for her work.

Yes, there was a Shahrukh Khan in Dear Zindagi too.

A special friend, a special bond that helped her find her calling, her ‘second love’ (her work), but it didn’t take away anything from her own journey. The interaction helped her define her own ways and routes, and in the end, that’s what we need to strive for.

“It’s 4 AM” says my 15 year old friend, “What are you thinking so much?”

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Applause Vadodara at BHAVAI 2017, Mumbai

“Nothing” I reply, “just about our Play!”  The play, Kundalu by Makarand Musale, was about 3 characters: “A” who is stuck in his circle and strongly believes that life is meant to be lived in limits, “B” who is trying to understand the limits while being curious about the horizons beyond and “C” who has lived a life of explorations, beyond the questions, followed the heart, respected the struggles and cherished the journey.

“Ah! You were thinking about the end right? Which path did B chose? The life of security or the life of discovery!” he asks excitedly.

Our play din’t have an end, and left it to the imagination of the audience, which path to take.

“Whichever way you go, just don’t get stuck in the same circle” adds my colleague, as the three of us walk back to the bus.06068cfb-e9ff-421e-b53c-b597dd75f5e1

I smile on the inference, it’s ultimately about growing, becoming better, stronger, wiser and closer to the  self, and not make the same mistakes.  It’s about breaking the limits – the circles, the loops that twine our thoughts, confuse our actions and end up limiting our journey. Like the performing the play, Kundalu, taught us.

Taking it a little further…

Don’t get into the loops that chain you. Set yourself free.

Continue to love, though you can love differently.

Let there be romances,

Just make sure there are two 😉

One with the person

And one with you!

 

As I get back into the bus, I can hear the ocean call me. They are both my love and my friendship. My passion, my theatre, my romance as well as my companion, my listener and my lyric.

She as1ked the ocean,

“What do you see?”

He said “I see footsteps,

And a long journey”.2

She asked the ocean,

what is sunset?

He smiled, it’s the beginning,

for a new day you must rest.

She asked the ocean, “where do you head?3

Will I see you again or is this an end?”

He returned in response, as a gentle touch, as a wave,

“You can see me when you want, I am right where you left.”

4

She asked the ocean,

“What language do you speak?”

He answered in a riddle,

“Ask your heart what it seeks.”

‘S5he asked the ocean,

“what is love and what is friendship?”

He answered with comfort,

“that my waves merge in deepness is love,

and that is return is friendship”

~ Apsra

And let me leave you with the song that I mentioned earlier, and while you hear it, please pen down your thoughts in the comments or write to me at apsara.iyengar@gmail.com.

Lots of love, always!

Apsara

 

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The Relationship and the Claw

You don’t want to go there but it’s like an imaginary claw is stuck in your chest, it pulls you forward. You don’t want to go there. But there is no other way out. You are pulled, and pulled. But wait! This can’t happen. After all, wasn’t this so beautiful? Okay. It wasn’t all that beautiful, but like they say – a known devil is better than an unknown one! You knew this one. You knew this world.

You know these roads, these sands, these places, these trees, this music, this weather. You know it all. You identify. You may not relate to but you understand. Wait. Hold on. That’s not enough, right? Understanding isn’t enough. You have to accept, you have to stay. You have to give up. And then you see in this world of yours, there are hardly the things you unpacked. So the things you brought aren’t there anymore.

You don’t have your favorite diary or you favorite dress. You don’t have that picture frame someone gifted you, years back, and that you loved. You don’t have that old guitar you used to play. You don’t have even your Cinderella shoes! You look around and you know everything about this place, you love it, you value it, you adore it but then, it doesn’t have your flavor in there. It doesn’t have your stories, your memories, your views, your thoughts, your identity. It’s just not there.

And suddenly, everyone thinks you are going to continue waiting, just like you waited before. What you did voluntarily, they expect unconditionally. They expect you to wait, and love and understand. You hardly spoke because you were in the ‘i-support-you/you all’ mode, but somehow that became a habit. Now, you can’t speak unless it’s your turn and you know what? It’s never your turn. You don’t want to leave because love is not a matter of whims; it is a choice but not a whim. To act on our emotion is upon us, but to feel that emotion, not always. And so, you don’t want to leave because your heart is there. But then, your heart is indeed your heart!  What is life if your heart has no love or space for yourself? What is life if you heart only gives and doesn’t consider receiving? It’s not like people don’t love you or you don’t receive any warmth. You do. But what is life if your own need for warmth is only secondary? Probably, not even secondary. Probably your own need isn’t even visible to you.

Until that one point, when the invisible claw climbs into your chest and attempts to pulls out your heart. What is the need for your own heart in your own body when you have no value for it? Why must it stay with you? Donate it. Give it away. Throw it away.

You consider the option of donation. Why not? If you heart, has no value for you, then why not give it away to someone else who can live with it. But then again, what is the sense of a heart that doesn’t beat? What good will it do to give a dead heart to living soul that needs a real thriving beautiful heart to help it heal?

This is too much philosophy for you and so you decide not to listen to the claw. You ignore it, but then it pulls you forward. Slowly, slowly, and slowly a little more. Ouch! You squeal. Wait. I didn’t see that coming. And suddenly, it hurts, and it hurts beyond more. And you don’t how what’s happening. You don’t want to leave, but you don’t want your heart to be pulled out by that evil claw. You fight it, your struggle, a tear rolls down your eyes. You are weeping but you won’t give up the fight. Either you fight the claw and stay where you are, put your heart back and pump it up with life, or you let the heart go, away, distant, someplace you don’t know. You don’t know what that claw will do with your heart.

But wait a second, you have tears and you squeal isn’t too subtle; they can indeed hear you. Then why aren’t they coming forward? Surely they can do this much, can’t they? Can’t they just walk up and hold your hand, or help you claw out the claw. But they are just there, watching. Wait, they aren’t even watching. They aren’t even interested. What exactly is happening? Do you not exist. Do you? Did you just cease to exist for them? But you are a live person and you are right there. But they can’t see you or they chose to look away? The only energy you know is the claw that is pulling your heart away from you and you don’t want that to happen. Or maybe you do. You don’t know but the pain is getting too much. If you let the heart go, you will be numb and things will be fine. You want have a beating heart to worry about or warm emotion waiting to heal, you will not feel and you will be fine. But you still don’t want to give up the fight. You don’t want to resign. You don’t want to be defeated. And so, you walk. You walk in the direction that the claw is pulling you in. After all, how bad can it get? The world that was so meaningful to you doesn’t see you anymore, you don’t even exist. What is the point of being there? You walk. You heart aches, you can see it torn out a little with the claw but you continue to walk. You walk. You walk. You continue to walk. It hurts, it pains, but you continue to walk. And then you see, you are right before a cliff. A cliff? A cliff, really? But what sense does this make? Why a cliff? Why all this walk and all this claw and all this pain and then a cliff? Why? What meaning does this have? But I don’t know how to fly. How will I save my life? Or is my life anything at all? Do I serve any purpose or have a mission to draw? You see the cliff and pull back a little but as you go closer, you know you want to be there. You want to jump. But you don’t know how to fly. And you still want to. You want to jump. You take some small steps forward. Suddenly you hear your old world calling you back. Your eyes light up with hope and a small smile comes up in a glint of the eye, but when you hear them closely, you notice they only have reprimanding words to share, they expect you to wait and stare a little longer and of course, take the blame. May be it is your fault. May be you were always wrong. Maybe you just made the big mistake of calling your world your world.

But if your wor4142942-happy-girl-alone[1]ld is calling you and all it has to say, is that you aren’t good enough, then, it’s time to go off to the cliff. You turn to the cliff. Your tears wiped back. The claw doesn’t hurt and then at the count of three, you jump. You actually jump. You actually jump down from the cliff. You feel free. Absolutely free. There are tears of joy now, and your heart is free. It’s absolutely set free, even  more than you could have ever imagined. And your heart has wings! You never knew. You thought you couldn’t fly but then, your heart has wings! It can set you free, it can make you fly! If it wasn’t for the claw and it wasn’t for the cliff, how would you ever know that an end could be a new beginning? That an end could be your beginning? That your heart can have a way to take you away, and heal you to happiness? How would you have ever known.  For some people, they jump down their own cliff only to find each other again, with parachutes. The parachutes save them from falling, save them from drowning in the sea or  being lost in the sky. Sometimes they land on the same ground, sometimes they walk a short distance before the claw and the cliff, another one ofcourse, waits for them. And then they jump. And the story goes on. For others, like yourself, there is just the claw. The claw is like a clutch. It will open the parachute when it is time for you to land. Until, enjoy the flight. It’s morning again, it’s dawn, it’s a beautiful day and you are absolutely free. You have no memory of any baggage you have no pain to carry. The old world is another world now, you live in another destiny. There is a new life to your heart, you rejoice it. You see it thrive and you enjoy it. You donate a little of your heart too, after all what’s the harm? This is good stuff. Your thriving heart can make a difference. You smile. Because you are free.  You have found meaning in loving yourself. Abundant love. Abundant compassion. Abundant happiness. You have learnt to fly. you have learnt to land. You have learnt to love. You have learnt to lose. And you have learnt to survive. You smile as you fly, the cliff after all, was the greatest lesson you learnt and the most beautiful experience of your life.

Thank you.

 

The Relationship and the claw is more of a rant and I hope that I will record and perform it someday! Contrary to the first read you will notice that it’s neither negative, nor so much about romantic relationships, as much as it is about our own emotions and feelings of being ‘trapped’. This could be a situation in love, marriage, work, friendships, siblings, comrades or anyone for that matter.  The key learning is that the heart has wings! 🙂 Everyone’s heart has wings! We have to let ourselves go, we have to let ourselves fly, we have to allow ourselves to enjoy the flight, because victory lies on the other end of our challenges! And joy lies in making it to the other side and knowing that you are still okay. Happiness lies is knowing that we all will make it and we all simply need to trust that we will!

This post is more of a monologue, performance material and if you wish to use it, please reach out to me and keep me informed! I wrote this a few days ago, and my friends encouraged me to publish it as a special on my birthday! So, there you go. Just in time! Hope that this year we write more, talk more and have more stories and learning to share. Have an amazing day!

p.s. Thanks Shubh! See, now you’re mentioned on my blog 😀 it’s your lucky day too, just like mine! 😉

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