Dance as a career and how to go about it? Interview with Leena Ketkar

Tell us a bit about yourself 

  • I am a trained Kathak Dancer and running my own institute for the past 15 years.
  • An examiner at Gandharva Mahavidyalay for Kathak Dance Exams.
  • I have judged various dance competitions at city levels and participated in many state and national level programs.

When did you start learning dance?

I started learning when I was in 1st std. I started learning as a hobby and for the initial four years I learnt various styles like – Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Odisi and Folk dance forms. From 5th Std, I started learning from Guru Pandita Shama Bhate. I went on to take dance as my primary subject at college level and did a BA in dance from Lalit Kala Kedra, Pune University.

Now I am doing my MA under Shama Tai’s guidance from Bharati Vidya Peeth

How did you decide to take it up as a career?

What started as a hobby soon turned into a passion. While I was in high school, my Guru Shama Bhateji and Sureshji Talwalkar suggested it to me and even discussed the same with my parents. They clarified my parent’s doubts and were very understanding. With so much confidence being bestowed by my guru, my parents agreed to the suggestion and supported me in my journey.

how different is the learning process from normal colleges?

All dance universities have gurukul system in India. There are two parts to the learning process – theory and practical learning. While the theory portion is covered in college via lectures, the practical training is to be done with a Guru. Usually, universities have a prescribed list of guru’s and you need to choose your guru from that.

All performing arts education admission is based on entrance exams. You have courses from graduation to masters to PhD level in the university system.

Apart from this there are separate examinations conducted by Gandharva Mahavidyalay which is equivalent to University level BA or MA degrees.

What is the life of a professional dancer? How is it like?

Daily riyaaz and being aware about what is new in your field is extremely important. There will be a minimum 2-3 hours of practice every day. You need to be attuned to the latest happenings and explore various genres like fusion or Bollywood music.

Dance is a physically intensive field. Apart from practice, there will be a lot of travel involved as programs happen all year round and all over India. You will have to build your network and take up performances depending on your capacity. Nowadays there are troupes focusing on classical dance. They call dancers from all over the world and perform together based on a concept.

What are the requirements to take dance as a profession?

Consult your Guru to understand your performance level. Your guru is the best person to guide you. This is an intensive field and you need family support. You need to work on your physical and mental stamina as once you take it as a serious career option, it easily involves 8-10 hours of training.

Another thing that I would like to tell the parents and the students interested in pursuing this career is that there is no immediate glamour. The ever increasing reality shows, show only a part of the actual efforts put in by a dancer and there should be enough thought put in before taking it up professionally.

WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT SYSTEM DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A FULFILLING CAREER IN DANCE?

Classical dance forms or any dance forms  are physically and mentally challenging. For starters, you need 8-10 years of economic support.

When you start giving solo performances you will need good stage, good music, costumes, etc. Learning some video and sound editing skills will be an added advantage. If you are performing with live music, you need good musicians and good support dancers.

Any tips for those planning to take it up as a career?

Don’t fall for the glamour. You will be required to learn for atleast 10-12 years. Your training will be rigorous and one-to-one. Choose an able guru, who will not only teach you the techniques but will also help you explore your creativity and present challenging topics and styles. Keep realistic views about the career and focus on building your network.

What are the career options in this field?

After learning Kathak at BA or MA level, apart from being a professional dancer, you can be a faculty at performing arts universities or you can start your own dance academy. There are also career options in the field of dance related costume designing, make-up and stage management. Apart from my dance institute, I teach two Indian girls in Germany via Skype. So that’s a new way to explore.

You can contact Leena Ketkar on – 9881137578

If you are following your passion or want to bust some myths about traditional careers, then do fill in the GoogleForms and I will feature you on my blog.

Culinary Arts – A satisfying career option – Interview Shubha Shree Surendra #BlogChatterProjects

Everybody need not be an Engineer or a Doctor! The mindset that only mainstream careers mean something, is wrong. The whole month of December, I am looking at alternative careers that can be satisfying as well as rewarding.

I caught up with a 21 year old student pursuing culinary arts. You might wonder what that is! I had the same thoughts, so I did a bit of research online.

What is culinary arts?

In really simple terms, culinary art refers to the process of cooking and arranging food. How many of you thought about ‘MasterChef‘? I know, I did! It piqued my interest, so I decided to do an interview with her. Following are the excerpts from it.

Today we interview Shubha Shree Surendra who is pursuing culinary arts at the North Shore International Academy, Auckland, NZ.

What kind of background is required to apply for this course?

Education wise- you could be anything above a 12th pass student. There are age groups from 17 to 50+ at this institute.
but most importantly- one must have LOTS of patience, determination, physical and mental strength for this course.

Are there entrance tests? when should one start preparing?

Not really, most institutes do not require any prior knowledge or technical skills for this course. However, interviews and cover letters play an important role in fixing yourself a spot at any skill-based institute. Questions are usually based on how passionate you are towards the course as well as WHY you chose this field.

What is the course structure like?

The course that I am doing is a LEVEL 4 And 5 in culinary arts (Doing both levels is optional, but recommended if you want a decent position in the industry).
this is a 2-year course, consisting of 4 terms. You will be taught A-Z of culinary foundation through the 2 years – right from holding your knife to presenting a completed dish.

difference between hotel management and culinary arts?

The culinary arts refer to professions that involve preparing and cooking food. Culinary artists often are compared with restaurant managers in both education and career scope. Generally, the major differentiating factor for culinary artists and hotel management students are the specific college programs, the type of training and experience involved and the actual duties associated with each job. A culinary arts program will have subjects like nutrition and sensory evaluation, American cuisine, international cuisine and meat science. Management programs, in contrast, focus on educating individuals on how to operate the restaurant from a business management perspective.

What are the career prospects?

At the end of 2 years, you will be a certified chef, capable of working at any restaurant/hotel- positions may vary with experience, skill, etc. Other job options could be a personal chef, food stylist, cookbook author, food scientist, and so on.

some tips for students looking for a similar course?

Being a chef is not as easy as people presume, it involves a lot of physical and mental dedication every single day. For a chef, the holiday season is the busiest so forget partying during New year’s or vacationing during long weekends- this is when you’d be expected to show up in the kitchen. Do not join this profession if you are not passionate/interested in cooking; a lot of people I know have ended up choosing this course because they think they have no other option or they want to give this a “try”. Take my word, you will not be happy if you cannot give this your 100%.
what some people also don’t know is that cleaning and maintenance of hygiene plays a major role in the kitchen so expect to wash dishes when you enter the industry- that is how you grow and learn.

The kitchen is a hot, loud, noisy, busy but extremely satisfying place with a high swear-word frequency: be mentally prepared.

Can these courses be done in India? what should a student look for while choosing an institute?

India has several schools/colleges that offer a course in hotel management but only a handful that offer a mainstream culinary course.
Personally, I did not enjoy my experience in the culinary college I studied at, in India. Most Indian schools have a different approach with the education system, but then again- it’s just a personal opinion. There are 100’s of wonderfully talented chef’s that Indian schools have produced as well.
My advice before choosing your school would be: RESEARCH. Do thorough research of the school you choose. Ask questions, do not hold back. One tip would be to ask previous alumni- the ones who are not mentioned on the college website, if you want honest answers.

What is the process of applying for foreign universities and what should the student keep in mind?

Pretty much the same goes for any institute across the world. Do thorough research before choosing what fits your criteria and vision. Few things to keep in mind:
– know your rights, rules and regulations of the country before choosing.

  • If you wish to work during your study period, find out visa restrictions and availability of jobs.
  • Research everything about the country- from cost of living to future opportunities (if you wish to stay back).
  • Most students apply for universities/ colleges through an agent- I did too. It is a much faster and easier way of application as they help make sure all criteria are met and processes complete.
  • Most countries require test of language. Exams like IELTS/TOEFL, etc can be attempted, based on what the country accepts.

Last Thoughts

I hope this was an informative interview, the way it was for me. And I sincerely hope this will help more students and parents choose from the various career avenues that are now available.

Are you following your passion and have chosen an alternate career? Or maybe you know someone who has. Connect with me on nehatambe.dm@gmail.com or fill in the form below!Have any queries or wish to add more information or share this post? Share it with #LearnNotEducate

How to be a freelance dietitian and manage home and career #FreelancerFriday

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I am a postgraduate and MPhil in Foods and Nutrition. I have also done some short courses on nutrition along with my internship. One short course which I really enjoyed doing was on ‘Food Management” which I did in Milwaukee, US.

I did my internship at Mallya hospital Bangalore and now I am a freelancer

What are the career options for a certified dietitian?

These days there are a lot of career options for a dietitian or a nutritionist. As people are far more conscious about their health these days, the careers are not only restricted to a hospital. One can join a hospital or a health center as a dietitian or can also start an independent practice after he/she has enough experience. Many people work as an independent consultant also. Writing nutrition or health related articles is also popular these days.

Another option which is one of my favourite is to work as a teacher or a lecturer in the field of foods and nutrition in colleges or high schools.

How did you come up with the idea of being a freelance dietitian?

I always wanted to work in a good hospital as a dietitian but God had some different plans for me. I was still doing my masters when I got married. Then I joined Malaya hospital for an internship but soon moved to the US. I did some courses in food management while staying there. We decided to come back to India after staying in the US for 5 years. Under my father’s guidance who was in teaching line, I did my M.Phil. in Foods and nutrition to be a lecturer. I already had two kids at that time and the younger one was just 1 year old.

At that time, there were not too many options for a dietitian in India. A hospital job had no weekends off and there was an option of only one weekly off. I wanted to be with my girls and also continue my work. So, the idea of being a freelance dietitian came up.

How does it work?

I started this with few of my friends who wanted help with their meal plans. Slowly, through word of mouth people came to know about me. Now I have some online clients. So, it mostly works through emails or phone. Other than consultations, I also write nutrition-related articles according to my knowledge of the subject. The only difference as compared to working in a hospital is that it is more flexible. I can work with the ease of my home and also consult or share the plans whenever I am free.

have you faced any problems when it comes to establishing a trust factor with your patients?

I didn’t find any such problems till now. But in any such profession, trust factor only comes after a client gets the desired results. And that can be in a hospital or a clinic too.

Would you call it a satisfying option?

Yes, I love it as it gives me the flexibility to work. I feel satisfied as at least I am in touch with my field of education through few clients and through my writings. It also gives me the freedom to follow my passion and do other things like blogging and choreography.

Any tips for those looking to go the freelancer way?

As a freelancer, do not expect it to be same as a full-time job. Build a trust with your clients. It takes time to get work and also build a reputation. So, be patient and don’t lose hope. Also, the money factor is not same as what you would get in a full-time job, at least not initially. Slowly you can discover different things and avenues.

Author Bio

Deepa is a dietitian by education, Blogger by passion, a mommy of two girls, she shares all her experiences through her creative eyes as a blogger at http://kreativemommy.com.

Follow her on her blog to read about her thoughts and ideas on everything about life. It is a one place solution for all your queries related to nutrition, travelling, parenting, and everything life.

Making money from Food Blogging – Guest Blog for #FreelancerFriday


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Making money with food blogging

My Journey as a food blogger started somewhere in 2012 when I had already left the corporate world and started full-fledged consultancy. Friends who came over on weekends to taste the new dishes which I curated with my own twists often appreciated it and asked me to start food blogging. This brought in the idea of starting Fashionablefoodz. I initially started Fashionablefoodz.net and switched over to fashionablefoodz.com in the last 2 years or so.

To be honest, nothing comes free or easy. So I had this difficult patch for the first two years. I wondered often if there was ever going to be any income which I would generate from my Blog? Now when I sit back and see the journey, I feel that content plays a major role in selling your blog. The initial period was when IU only populated content on my site and wrote guest posts. This got me a good amount of back-links. I also started socializing a bit at events and ceremonies revolving around blogging. Since I am more of a Lifestyle blogger than a pure Food blogger, I tried my hands at other things too like a bit of fashion posts, Movie reviews and Travel posts apart from my niche of Food, fitness and Nutrition.

My Experience as food blogger

Two years down the line after starting the blog and with some dense content, I got my first break when a company approached me to put up a Food related post which required using and describing their product and offered me money for the services. I think that was the beginning of commercial returns on my Blog. I in turn stuck to my honesty and have been upfront with all my clients telling them clearly that I will write an honest review of their product. 99% of my clients have not just appreciated this but in fact welcomed this. They offer me extra money for consultancy on improvising the nutrition quotient, I advise them on enhancing the taste and the flavors by adjust the proportion of certain ingredients and spices. So it is more like a well woven story which I have with my clients.

I take pride to tell that I have been associated with my client for over 2 years now and they trust my judgments on putting up posts.  Barring a few occasions where the clients have wanted to introduce a freshly made tagline or something, never have any of them actually interfered in my work and given me complete freedom. This bonding is needed to leave a mark in the Industry. Today, I blog full time and make decent money to run a household.

 

Trends in food blogging

Food Industry has got diluted in last couple of years.  There are so many aspiring, directionless new comers who have come in. They write for free or for peanuts. They do free food reviews just for some free food. Their reviews on Zomato and other platform speak about their knowledge of food (“Wow, the food was awesome, Wonderful experience at Hotel XYZ, I was there and the food was good with beautiful ambiance and sincere staff who served well”) Surprisingly some restaurants who are wanting shortcut to success often try these bloggers making them give a 5 Star rating for a free meal. Eventually when customers taste the food and write the reality their ratings drop down drastically.

Hence a class difference has been created. One is the Blogger class who has developed skills of writing, giving in depth feedback keeping Nutrition and other aspects in mind when it comes to food blogging. The other is just generic class. The choice is up to us, as to how we wish to pitch ourselves.

Advice by Baba UK

My Tips for the people who want to join Blogging Industry are these:

  • Make content rich blog. This may take time but original and good content will always attract masses.
  • Always use Hashtags and keywords. This will help your blog ranking climb up faster.
  • Visit other blogs, read their content to get a fair idea where you stand. Comment if you like their posts. They too will come back some day to check yours.
  • Never work for Free for any client. Remember, you are taking this up as a profession, not a hobby.
  • Always follow senior bloggers on social media. You may get lucky to tie up with them on some projects soon.
  • Never copy paste content just for populating your site. Readers are smart and clients are smarter.
  • Be honest and patient. Both Honesty and patience pays. I say this by experience.
  • Last but not the least, stay away from fake limelight which gives momentary glamour but no money.

Over to you

If you are planning to be a serious blogger, try and follow the tips which I gave above. If you are not, then ignore my post. 😀 It is definitely not easy to make money on your blog as soon as you start. Especially when it is a Food Blog, but the satisfaction which you get after writing genuine posts and giving genuine feedback for a review, is much above all. So sit down, make up your mind and if it says a big YES to Blogging, go for it. Success will follow.


About the Author

Utpal Krishna (UK)

I am born and brought up in Mumbai, graduated from the Mumbai University and worked in the corporate world for about 20 years. I quit the corporate world in 2012 and started Full time consultancy in Content management and Food. As a certified nutritionist I have helped many stay fit and also work with corporates from time to time for their Food related content requirements. I run a blog at http://fashionablefoodz.com which is well known by now. After doing voluntary social service for over 10 years, I decided to start a NGO and in April 2017, Being The Real Human came into existence (http://beingtherealhuman.com) 

I am participating in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge

Demystifying Thick Data

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What is Thick Data?

Thick Data is a combination of qualitative and quantitative data that provides insights into the daily lives of consumers. How are brands perceived? Why are they liked or disliked? What does the product stand for? Questions like these are answered with Thick Data analysis. Thick Data often leads to emotional and behavioral insights that brands can weave into their story for elevated impact. Thick Data Strategists gather this information by conducting online surveys, one-on-one customer interviews, via social media, using google analytics, ghost shopping, etc

How is it different from big data?

Big Data focuses on quantitative data with enormous data sets. It sifts through large data sets to identify specific patterns. It delivers numbers and relies on machine learning. If a pattern emerges, thick data tries and identifies the reasons for such a pattern.

We came across a Thick Data expert, Divya Ostwal and had a freewheeling conversation with her to understand all about Thick Data. Do read along.

Name: Divya Ostwaldivya_pic

Education: Advertising and Graphic Design
Current: Thick Data Strategist, KAN, Malmö, Sweden

Past:
Chief Creative Officer, VizioHub, Bangalore, India
Creative Director, Good Old, Malmö, Sweden

Passionate about: Narrative-photo-telling

As a Thick Data Strategist my role is a synthesis of logic and magic. I am a business-brand strategist, a google analyst, a conversion strategist and a story teller. I help brands understand their target audience and their behavior through qualitative and quantitative methods. I have worked in the digital advertising world for over a decade. I started my career in Bangalore, India and currently live in Malmö, Sweden.

During the years, I have worked with various verticals – service sectors, industrial, healthcare, hospitality, real estate, NGOs, educational institutes, tourism boards and lifestyle products amongst others. I spent the early years of my career as a strategic, visual designer and doubled up as marketer. During the later stint I cultivated the special ability to develop brands from insights; and strategy to concept to creative. I soon went on to become the first female Creative Director at a Malmö agency with a deep understanding for conversion centric creatives.

As a Thick Data strategist, I work extensively with a combination of qualitative findings and quantitative data patterns. I am a certified google analyst and enjoy data mining. In my projects, I believe it is a combination of user understanding and data patterns that create value for the brand.

My work process includes three phases: Attract – Engage – Convert
The red thread through this process being understanding consumers through qualitative methods and analyzing their behavior through quantities techniques.


Things I learnt on the job:

  • Applying logic to create magic
  • Taking equal responsibility for the client’s business goals
  • Collaborating to create success
  • Result driven communication
  • Agile planning and long-term focus

Career Options:

In my case, I could choose to be on the agency side and get a variety of brands to work with or alternatively work on the client side and focus on applying Thick Data to one brand.

Looking beyond MBBS

If a child is consistent in scoring 90% marks and shows some interest in Biology, the parents and society at large expects him or her to be a doctor. There is nothing wrong in dreaming about it, however, with only 50,000 seats available all over India for MBBS degree, not everybody’s dream can become a reality.

If you really wish to be in this noble profession, but might not get into MBBS, here are a few alternatives in healthcare careers that are equally lucrative.


(This post, written by me for blogwithpal is reproduced with due permissions)

 

A career in Library Sciences

Book Lovers, listen up! What if we told you that there was a career in loving books? Too good to be true? But yes, it is possible. You can turn your passion into a satisfying career with a Degree in Library Sciences.

Library and Information Science is a course offered by most of the established Universities in India.  These courses help students gain insights and knowledge about collecting, cataloging, preserving, archiving and disseminating information.

We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Mr. D.V Patwardhan, an M.Lib with 44 years of rich work experience. He has worked in research institutes like NAL (National Aerospace Laboratory), manufacturing cum research companies like Kirloskar Electric Company and academic institutes like junior colleges and Engineering colleges. Here is an excerpt of his interview. We are sure this will be very informative for anyone thinking of choosing Library Sciences as a profession.

What are the courses available in Library Science?

Library Science is generally known as Library and Information Sciences. Today there are Diploma, Degree, and Masters Courses available. One can even go on to pursue M.Phil or PhD. in Library Sciences. Usually, when you start off, not many students know what they really want to do in life. M.Lib can be taken up by graduates of any stream. So, if you have an exposure to certain fields like Science or Commerce or Arts, you would be able to understand their needs and better serve your future clientele, especially if you wish to work in professional educational institutes or research institutes.

What is the duration of the course?

B.Lib and M.Lib courses are each of 1-year duration. Some Universities offer an integrated course of 2 years. Completion of B. Lib is mandatory in many of the Colleges if you wish to pursue M.Lib. Usually, there is an entrance test and selected candidates are given admission to M.Lib.

What are the traits, a person must possess if he wishes to pursue a career in Library and Information Science?

A person must be service oriented. He needs to take care of his clientele’s needs like a professional. A librarian acts as a custodian to the process of information exchange. He needs to be people-oriented as a big part of his job entails, interacting with clients and distributors, training his staff and engaging with the system, depending on the institution that he/she works with. Finally, he/she needs to have an innate love for books.

Librarian

What is the nature of a librarian’s job?

A librarian’s job entails selecting books as per the institutional needs and purchase them like a professional Purchase Manager. Process and Catalogue the books based on various classification schemes like Library of Congress or Dewey decimal classification etc. to achieve the ultimate aim of ease of information access. A librarian is also responsible for attending and hosting events related to academics and knowledge dissemination. Day to day work involves creating online databases, creating online public access catalogues, digital libraries of important papers, journals, articles, institute specific papers etc. Additional functions also include managing faculty and student’s book loan accounts, creating and maintaining library accounts, creating defaulter lists and maintaining payments and overdue accounts. In short, you can say that a librarian must be well versed with POSDCORB. As explained by management professionals Luther Gulick and Lyndall Urwick, the acronym stands for Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting, and Budgeting.

What are the Career opportunities for Library and Information Science professionals?

Library and Information Science professionals are in demand in educational institutes, government research institutes, research-oriented industries,  manufacturing companies, government organizations like secretariat libraries, public libraries, university libraries etc.

In the times of online magazines, digital books and libraries, will the profession of a librarian be obsolete?

I don’t believe that. Computers can and have been a great help, but we cannot do away with a librarian. As I see it, the role will undergo changes and a bulk of repetitive, and time-consuming tasks will be taken over by the computer. A librarian will be free to do more of planning, budgeting and coordinating jobs. He will have to assume a greater role, in identifying the correct and rare sources of knowledge and ensuring that they are with the institution that he/she works for. The role will identify ways to ensure a great experience for their clientele and become more people-centric. The librarian who goes beyond efficient management of knowledge and takes upon himself to find new ways to inculcate the love of reading in the coming generation will be a successful one.

( Reproduced from blogwithpal, with due permissions.)

Divya’s Dilemma

Divya came home from work, exhausted. It was financial year ending and the work pressure was tremendous. It was late in the night, when she finally parked her car in the garage of her two storied house. Divya thought ‘I could use a cup of coffee.’ As she entered, her parents stopped their discussions midway. Divya eyed them suspiciously and just shook her head while dumping her bag on the sofa next to her mom. She headed straight to her room. As she freshened up she decided to make a stronger cup of coffee. She knew she had to brace herself for a long discussion and a hot cup of coffee made it all bearable.

Divya came from a traditional Iyer family. They weren’t orthodox to the core, but they had their beliefs and loved sticking to it. They followed all the rituals and having some ‘Homa- Havan’ or ‘Puja’ every six months was considered normal. Divya had always been the black sheep of the family. While other girls in the family went for Bharatnatyam classes and learned to sing Carnatic music, she played Squash and was fascinated with Sports Cars. She loved rock or hip-hop and always preferred jeans over salwar kameez. Her remarkably different tastes were initially attributed to, too much exposure to ‘Western Culture’, then were considered a passing phase and later was seen as a form of rebellion. While some relatives openly taunted her, the more conservative ones refused to talk to this rebellious girl!

While growing up she had been very upset with all the mocking and silent treatment, but then as she grew older she made peace with it. At first she cried and really tried to fit in; doing all that a normal traditional Iyer girl bought up in Chennai is supposed to do, however she just felt trapped. She felt like she was deceiving the world and herself. One day, during one such ‘Puja’ at her cousin’s home, she saw a Car magazine on the table. It was the latest issue, and she had to read it! She quietly smuggled it under her dupatta and rushed to her cousin’s room. As she stepped in and locked the room, she saw her cousin Priya, lying on the bed listening to music, reading Sports Illustrated and eating a gum! Divya stood gaping at her and Priya burst into laughter! That’s when Divya realized that she wasn’t too different from others. It was just that she couldn’t live a dual life trying to please everyone. From that day on she just did what she pleased. She could see the respect in her cousin’s eyes. She knew she was right and never looked back.

Her parents had been the helpless spectators in all this. There had been enough arguments and discussions around it and later they had realized that it was all futile. They silently knew they loved their daughter more than these beliefs. Now they didn’t argue about her preferences but didn’t endorse them either. Divya had been a brilliant student and later had cleared her CA examinations with flying colours. Today, she was a well placed financial manager in an MNC.

Apparently, the latest discussion in her parent’s social circle had been Divya’s wedding and getting some prospective groom’s biodata for review had become a regular affair. However, today something was different, Divya could sense it. She almost ran to her room to freshen up and deliberately took a long time to come down. She was half hoping that her parents would give up and go to bed. She might have the energy for this tomorrow, she thought to herself. As she came down the steps softly, she didn’t see them in the hall and believed that her plan worked. But just then, there was a soft pat on her shoulder and as she turned, she found herself face to face with her parents. Her mom was holding a hot cup of coffee in her hand.

Divya’s eyes were moist. She loved her parents to death and had a fair inkling of what they must be going through in their social circle because of her choices; however she loved herself more and couldn’t do something just to please the society.  She took the coffee without a word and sat down at the dining table. Her parents sat opposite to her and waited patiently, till she had almost finished her coffee. Her mother looked nervously at her father as he cleared his throat to speak.

She braced herself mentally for yet another argument, but suddenly decided it was time to put her foot down. Before her father could say anything she said “Appa, I know you must have found yet another ‘suitable guy’ for me and you want to talk to me about it. I totally understand your concern. I am also aware that I have been the reason for your shame for a long time now. Though you have never come between my dreams and aspirations, I understand it must have been tough on you, but I can’t just say yes to some random guy just because someone believes we are perfect for each other.  Having a car does not translate into loving them and knowing how to hold a racquet does not make someone a squash player. I am sure some aunty must have dropped by in the afternoon and lectured you on your poor parenting skills, remarking casually as to how well they had kept their children on a leash and you should have done the same. And while leaving, must have hinted about some guy who earns well, is a little old but drives a car and has no problems if I play squash! This is all so repetitive that I am totally frustrated with it. I am just 24 years old and I have a whole life ahead of me. Just because I have different likes, does not mean that I should compromise and settle with some stranger who might not even respect my choices. I wish to focus on my career and achieve much more on the work front; it’s an exciting time in my career and I am loving every minute of it. I wish to travel the world and go on a road trip, send you on a cruise and plan your retirement. If a person shares my choices, I will find him on my own and even if I don’t I have no regrets. Love or marriage is nowhere on my radar currently. I love you guys and I know you love me too, but please don’t be pressurized by some extended family relatives. The society as a whole just loves to gossip; they feed off others weakness or sorrow. Today you are the talk of the town, tomorrow it will be someone else. I have no interests in pleasing such a society. It is your opinion that matters to me and as long as you understand my dreams I don’t care about anybody else.”

Divya was crying as she spoke. Her parents just sat there motionless. Their eyes were glistening with tears. Her father just smiled at her and her mother dabbed her eyes from the corner of her saree. Her father took her hand, and patting it affectionately said “We wanted to tell you the same thing. We knew you had different dreams, but we never stood by you wholeheartedly. We were torn between our love for you and our need of being a part of a society. Today, when your aunty called informing that Priya her daughter had walked out of her marriage as their aspirations were different, we realized it was time to make a choice before it was too late. We chose you and will always do so. Our love for you is greater than our need to be a part of a social circle. As Divya heard him speak, she realized once more, how much her parents loved her and respected her as an individual. She quickly got up and hugged them tight. Today, they were truly complete as a family.

Linking this post to #ClickandBlogAStory by Slim Expectations and All About Woman Week 6 Prompt Love. My other post Stress was judged the best post earlier.

ALL ABOUT THE WOMAN