From New Delhi to New York

The snow of March had melted in New York and the rains were here to refresh and release the pent up essence of New Yorkers. It was May already and I still wore my jacket. I couldn’t really leave it at home. Spring had been kind of funny. There was still a slight nip in the air. I sat sipping  my favorite White Chocolate Mocha with extra white chocolate at Starbucks which was close to the New York Times Building at Times Square on 42nd street. I had just finished my workout at “Doonya”, a Bollywood based dance studio in New York. The workout had been invigorating and it put a smile on my lips. The instructor was energetic and had made the class workout for an hour , combining Bhangra, Bharatnatyam, Bollywood and Garba to the tunes of Baby Doll Ragini MMS and other Bollywood rhythms. I was flooded with memories of Nursing College. Undergraduate college was where my love affair with dancing had started. It was an impromptu dance routine which I did for my friends. I couldn’t stop myself from swaying my hips and throwing my hair back over my shoulders when the music poured over my senses. It was like liquid fire which coursed through my veins , igniting me and turning me into a sultry siren. I forgot where I was, the music enrapturing me and I allowed my body to give expression to the music.  Everybody went wild and I wondered whether there was something drastically wrong with what I did. The applause was so astounding! And all of my sixteen classmates started to join in , choreographing moves spontaneously. I couldn’t believe it! It felt like a flash mob routine. It didn’t feel like I was in Nursing School. It was as if I had mistakenly enrolled for an undergraduate degree in dance!

Graduate school brought me face to face with Hispanic dancers, African dancers, Latino dancers and I allowed myself to be taught different moves even as I marveled at the sheer diversity of dance. Salsa taught me to be sensual, Swing dancing taught me to have fun, Belly dancing taught me the art of mesmerizing the onlooker with just a turn of her hips, Bharatnatyam allowed me to evolve into a storyteller with intricate footwork.

Yes…those were the days. Dance had transformed my outlook on Nursing. I was always following new research which touted the benefits of Dance and Creative Arts on the health of people. I felt special and blessed that I was in New York. It was a cauldron of artists and healthcare innovators. So much was possible.   I sighed deeply. I wouldn’t have been here if I hadn’t said yes to my heart. As much pain as I had gone through because I had decided to follow my heart, it must have been destiny. New York was my destiny. How could it not? A beautiful city filled with artists playing music with instruments I had never seen, belting tunes in subways which mingled with the rattling of the trains. I hoped that the pain didn’t matter anymore. Those tears which I cried in the middle of the night, the doubts which had plagued and ripped me apart. I hoped that I could tell my parents one day that this had been my destiny. I was afraid that their prophecies would come true, that I had indeed made a mistake by making my choice. But I longed to tell them that my heart was right. It hadn’t betrayed me. Nothing in this universe is a mistake. Its all Serendipity, fortuitous happenstance.After all, If I hadn’t listened to it, I wouldn’t be here in Times Square, near the New York Times Building, watching the traffic pass by on one of the busiest streets in the world. It hadn’t been easy but then, I was growing stronger. And that’s all I wanted. The strength to carry on and to dream on.

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