Those of you who thought The Princess Story ended, well, you were wrong! This, lo and behold, is Part 2!
The grit and determination of the Princess which made her the Champion continued beyond the College Days into her Life itself! Just out of college, it was now time to be "Independent". But being a Princess, it is not easy to 'break free', right? We all know how hard it was for Elsa to leave her Kingdom! 😊 Despite the strong bond with her parents, she managed to convince the King and the Queen that she had had to live on her own feet, that too, in a different city! After much reluctance and perseverance, they gave in, and the Princess came to Bangalore in 2006. With some help from relatives, she set herself up as a Paying Guest in one of the lush localities which made her instantly fall in love with the city. The first great achievement followed soon after - getting a job! With unemployment soaring back then, and thousands of graduates pouring into the city in addition to tens of thousands of graduates already in the city, it was not so easy. But our Princess got through!
Next up was the natural process of finding herself a suitor. In the country that she was in, it was not a natural and easy thing for girls to publicly call out for the male species for marriage. Usually it happens through family network of parents or relatives. But, the Independent Princess, that she was, standing on her own feet, went into a Cyber Cafe (non-existent nowadays), set up a profile in Bharat Matrimony (the Karnataka version of it) and poised herself up for the next greatest achievement: becoming a Queen. After about 190 odd rejections for all kinds of odd Princes, she finally chose one who seemed to be sound and resonated with her well. The best part was his (yours truly!) birthday was on the same date as hers! Five months later, on July 2008, she was no more a Princess. She became the Queen!
Marriage took her happiness to several notches up. Literally too, since she travelled with the King to many places suddenly. Traveling was not something that she had thought too much about, but the King being more of an adventurist and explorer, she hopped on the wagon and made several local trips. Beauty of the Nature caught on to her. Then, with the King having to move to other part of the World, the excitement could hardly be contained. The Nature beckoned in all Her glory in the Beautiful Lands of United States of America in 2009. Weekends meant Traveling! Abruptly, though, the King had to travel back to Motherland and she accompanied him much to her chagrin because she was getting ready for a dance performance just a few days later. Alas, it was not to be. However, it was just as well, because her next achievement was due: she gave birth to her own Princess in 2010! What better way than being on Motherland, near her own Mother!
Next couple of years involved Motherhood and Parenting. Total Involvement. Beautiful and cherished years of her life. Once again, she moved along with the King and her Princess to US, this time for six long years. In 2012, the previously lost chance of a dance performance in US came back. While the last time was an informal, self-prepared, twisting of hands and legs, this time around was under the guidance of a Guru who was dedicated to Bollywood. This involved continuous classes, rehearsals, many long hours of preparation and intensity. Just like a decade ago when she became a Champion, she was now all-in, fully-focussed. Fully taking care of the needs of her the then toddler Princess (who bemusedly looked at her mother on stage dancing away to glory not really understanding why but understanding enough that it seemed to give her joy), the Queen finally made it to a Big Grand Stage in South California to celebrate 100 Years of Bollywood. In all, she performed in about 8 dance sequences including one solo. This was a massive tick in her list of achievements! An 'always-wanted-to-do' thingy!
Soon after, the King's work took him away from SoCal. But the Queen was satisfied with her dance - the performance on the stage was a culmination of the ambition. Now, with the princess no longer being a toddler, travels came back with a bang. Every long weekend was meticulously planned and researched far ahead in advance. From the lonely islands of Hawaii to the desert lands of Arizona, from Niagara Falls to Key West, from Disneyland to NASA, from the Land's End in Mexico to the Northern Lights in Alaska. Mind you, it still was not easy. Indeed, it was an achievement in itself! Being outside on -22 degrees Fahrenheit on an icy night in Fairbanks to watch Aurora Borealis with a Pre-schooler. Three layers of clothing, socks and gloves but still hands get numb because the blood freezes, thats the effort involved! But all worth it. Those colorful greenish, pinkish hue on the dark starry sky! One thing that got missed out during that Alaska trip was the visit to the Arctic Circle which the Queen badly wanted to experience. Not to fret, Mission Accomplished in 2016!
It was now time to get back to beloved Motherland India for good. 2017 was a new year to settle down afresh. In a Palace. In a school that could be relied upon for the next decade for the Princess. It took many months but finally got the bases settled. But, then, the Queen was not yet done! With her immense love for the kids, she always wanted to be a Kindergartner teacher. Now, mind you, there are several qualified teachers who want to do this for a living, for daily bread. But this Queen wanted to be a teacher just for the love of it. Again, just like a decade ago, she was back amongst qualified folks trying to get a job with hardly any experience. Again, just like a decade ago, she excelled herself and got through as a Kindergartner teacher in 2018! It was like an unimaginable dream come true!
After enjoying an year of teaching and getting loads and loads of love from infants, toddlers, kids, picking them up and swaying them for hours, (oh yeah, wiping away their running noses too!), she felt fulfilled with herself and her next dream ignited of being a singer. With her Princess now learning Carnatic Music from a Music Guru, the Guru was kind enough to involve the Queen too in non-classical devotional and folk-tale song renditions. Once again followed many days of training and practices, just like the 2012 Dance days! Success follows those who struggle. Soon, she was on stages of Kannada Sahitya Parishath & Ravindra Kalakshetra. Another massive accomplishment!!
Next up was the toughest of the lot. The Queen had come across Sadhguru's videos in 2015 and now being in India, it was easier to access his practices and ashram in Coimbatore. So, as soon as she got back to India in 2017, she completed the course on Inner Engineering and started practising regularly the Shambhavi Maha Mudra. Then she started reading a lot about Spirituality, Kundalini, Liberation from the cycle of Birth and Death - the works! Now Isha has carefully crafted a number of spiritual programs, one after the other, to finally taste a completely new dimension of life. The Queen went through all of this and decided to go all out! After Inner Engineering, next was Bhava Spandana. It is a 3 day residential program in Isha Center, Coimbatore. This meant staying away from her Princess for the first time in her life. She opted for it. It was heartening to see the mother-daughter cry when the bus pulled away. Next was a week-long Hatha Yoga program, thankfully that was in same city few hours daily. Manageable. Penultimate was Shoonya. This was again a residential program in Coimbatore. Once again the separation. And then the final round of selection for the Ultimate Advanced Program: Samyama - a 8 day, no-talking, no-eye contact, residential Meditation program. Needless to say, she breezed through this one. It was the first time she was staying away and alone from family for such a long time. Samyama is like how folks back in the olden days used to do Tapas, no less. Thanks to Sadhguru who has crafted this program for the mediocre & bourgeois to experience this dimension of life.
Our queen successfully completed Samyama and now all she has to do is sit quietly and tears will flow down her cheeks. She experiences Oneness with the Universe, the Creator within herself. The initiations that she has been through has cleared away her Karmic debt and she has experienced the awakenings of the different chakras within her body. Like the Green Mile movie, she can experience the pain of others as if it is her own. The other day, she watched Aruvi and she cried her heart out feeling the exact pain that Aruvi went through! It was surreal. This dimension of life, which only human beings can experience and no other living being on earth, has been initiated to her through her guru Sadhguru - and it has only been possible because she is a devoted student, through her many hours of sadhana every single day, no matter where she is (airport, railway station, train, hotel, etc.). What an achievement, huh?!
Well, that could have been the toughest, but that is not yet it! Just a few months back, the Queen ignited one another of long cherished dreams of learning Bharatanatyam dance! Although this is an art form that needs to be learnt at a young age, the dance guru of the Princess (who also started learning) encouraged her and the Queen is already making great strides! The recent accomplishment has been a devoted Mother-Daughter dance. Another tick in the already huge list of accomplishments of the Champion!
Now, will there be a Part 3 of this series?! Only time will tell!
But, here I am, once again, seven years later presenting this blog-post as another (hopefully immortal) birthday gift which will make her smile and wonder how she has achieved all those immeasurable and seemingly insurmountable hurdles over the last couple of decades!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR!!