It's my life!

It's my life!

Two evenings in the week, Delhi homemaker Seema Malhotra (39) discards her salwar kameez for tights and T-shirt, cooks dinner early, puts her hair in a pony tail and gets ready for the long drive that takes her to the dance class she signed up for a year ago. “I wait for those two days desperately. Dance makes me come alive,” she says. Seema loved dance all her life. But it was only at 38 that she finally picked up her courage, stopped listening to the voice in the head that said middle-aged housewives only look after home and hearth, and decided to enroll for Ashley Lobo’s dance classes. Her subject: jazz. “It has brought so much happiness in my life, I can’t even start to explain,” she says.

Living in the moment
A small but growing breed of Indian women has started living dreams that had been put on the backburner for years. Not only is this helping them find themselves but also bringing freshness in old relationships. “I married a nice guy. Nobody told me to stop painting,” says Radhika Rao, “but after the kids came along, there was never any time. I was always busy with the house and the family. Slowly, I lost touch. Over the years, I also lost the confidence to paint. After a decade and a half when I picked up my paintbrush, after much prodding from a college friend I’d met on Facebook, it was as if I had gone back in time. I was once again this vivacious, talented girl. I found something that used to give me so much pleasure. And, to think I might have just died one day without realising what I had lost!” she exclaims.

Song in her heart
There are many others like Radhika. Harini Kapoor (38), electrical engineer from Delhi College of Engineering, quit her job of 12 years when the responsibilities of aging in-laws and growing kids fell on her shoulders. “I have no regrets,” she says. Because, she went back to the secret love of her life — Hindustani classical music. A visharad from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, she got out her harmonium.
“In whatever time I could spare, I started taking music classes at Search Years, a Palam Vihar NGO that works with underprivileged children,” she says. Now she makes some heady cocktails — mixing music with science. And if you pass by her NGO, you’ll find children reciting songs about the solar system comparing the moons of budh, mangal and prithvi. The songs might actually be based on Raag Yaman Kalyan or it could just be my imagination.

Picture perfect
And then there is glamourous Monika Rawat (34), senior manager in a leading BPO in Delhi. Also, devoted wife and hands-on mother to a six-year-old. It’s difficult to catch her in India, forget at home, because she is always touring — Australia, Japan, USA and Canada. “I’ll be in Toronto at -20 degrees, so it’s not as cool as it sounds,” she grins. But if you do really want to meet her a good place would be Chandni Chowk on the weekends, where she scouts the streets at break of day with her camera, looking for captivating images. She needs to be back home before her daughter wakes up. “The streets speak to me. They tell me stories I didn’t know. Photography works as a stress reliever. When I am with my camera, I usually don’t need anyone with me,” she says. Monika took up photography a year ago and has already started participating in exhibitions. “My husband has been a great support. He has almost been a ‘mother’ to my child, taking her out for movies and to theme parks,” she says.
Monika reveals that some people don’t understand why she spends so much time on her hobby. “When I am clicking or even processing pictures, I connect with my subjects emotionally. It is amazing how this gives me a new perspective to life. It is like finding myself again,” she says.

 Monika has a message for all women: “I think you should take up your hobbies (again). It helps you evolve as a person.” And the writer has a message too: Start living for yourself girls, that’s when all your other relationships will come alive too.

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