My mind has refused to grow up beyond my college years. Chronologically, though my age graph was rising, psychologically it was static. My body gave gentle reminders, now and then that the only permanent factor in life was change. A few twists and turns in my life also nudged me to grow up.
My phone rang …….
“Hey! Would you mind being our chief guest for Arts club inauguration in our college?” It was a family friend P.
“ME? Why me? Didn’t you find anyone else?” This news, in fact amused me.
“What will I have to do?” I asked
“Just light the lamp and wish them luck!” P was cool.
“Ok!” I said as I was unaware of the real situation.
Things were quite different when I landed at the college grounds. The function was in the open air gallery and there were around 1000 carefree souls, hooting, dancing, howling, whistling and greeting me. My heart missed a beat. Where was I? This isn’t going to be easy…! .
As I was sitting on the dais along with the Principal, professors and union members of the college, I tried to mentally write my speech in my head. One professor gently whispered, “Could you speak in Malayalam?” “Sure”, I smiled hiding my apprehension.
The next moment I was standing in front of the microphone, trying to translate my thoughts in Malayalam. Though I could speak the language, I was not confident in using the right words. My multi-lingual existence had left me speechless during such occasions when I needed to do justice to one language. I started my extempore in Malayalam… “ Malayalam is not my mother tongue ….” I said this in Malayalam and was received with applause from the students. I told them how this moment takes me back to my college days… and the activities like these fill our memory banks than the time spent in the class rooms.. (loud applause again)… I knew I had caught them right.. I told them about my confused existence in my growing up years, about not having a clear goal and not knowing where my future lies( applause again)… When I asked them whether there are any poor souls among them like me I got the whole lot of them raising their hands… I knew they were listening and that I had scored.
They wanted me to perform and I enjoyed performing for these students who were rapt with attention than for any elite, knowledgeable group of artistes. I could clearly experience the vibes, the positive energy.. And I once again experienced the power of tradition, power of culture, power of art.
They were eager to listen to the rhythms of our soil… each one holding the rhythm in their palms as I explained them about the connection between the heart beat and the rhythms in dance. Most of them were not initiated into any art form, they had not even seen classical performances … but they were ready to listen, see and understand… By the end of the talk and performance, the ovation I received was indeed a moment to treasure. A moment I wanted to revisit, so that I am empowered and inspired.
The transformation in the audience at the end of the lecture was a proof that spoke volumes about the positive impact of art. For a moment I felt blessed to be an artiste, to be an instrument in the hands of the Divine.
Even though I had stepped out of my college days as a confused soul, with blurred vision about my future…, as I stepped out of the stage that day, I knew I had a purpose, and that it unfolds at various stages of my life… I only needed to recognize and accept to experience it!