The Geometry Box

After the brain numbing scrolling of Instagram for 25 minutes, I finally got up this morning.

And the voice in my head shoots.

“Good Morning Vriddhi” (with fake smile greeting in the mirror)

“So, what are the plans for today- Make some good decisions today. It’s been already a year since you’ve become a CA- Do CPA”

“No just focus on your work”, shouts the other opinion.

“What did you learn from Corona? Have some passive income at least.”

And mummy interrupts the pointless noises: “Finished brushing? Have your tea”

“Vande….  Maataram….” We hear a group of student sing in a nearby building as we sip in the steaming cup of tea. And I asked mummy “Will you oil my hair after this?” She agreed.

Next moment she was oiling my hair and softly massaging my head. As she did that she also rambled about my sister’s childhood, her sister’s childhood and somewhere I heard her mentioning Aasha Tai. I waited for her to complete her stories. After a pause I asked her: “Mummy, how is Aasha Tai a relative to us? Why do you all call her Tai?”  

“She is Nana’s so-called sister” Mummy replied.

As she said that I went back to my only memory with Aasha Tai. 

To me spending summer vacation at my Nana-Nani’s place was a every day dream for whole of the academic year. One day on this dream vacation Aasha Tai visited us. Tall and lean as she greeted mummy and everyone in her soft voice, I was enchanted with her smile and the red-brown coloured hair nicely tied in a bun.  She sat there smiling as an idol of happiness and deep satisfaction. I was hardly in my 7th standard then. While she sat and chatted with everyone I was moving around playfully- clueless of how to behave.

Before she took a leave- she called me. I stood before her, she turned to her purse and took out a brand new ‘Camel Scholar’ geometry box. I received that with both my hands and thanking her grinning in shyness. Little did she know that she was gifting it to the most notorious, fidgeting child of the whole family (then not now). I stood by mummy waving a bye as she left. For that moment it was just a magical box as I didn’t know to use it. 

Coming back to today. I still have that geometry box. I started using it in my 10th Boards and used it till the last attempt of CA Final. I developed an inclination towards this box as it accompanied me year after year – during board exams, college exams and CA exams- nearly decade.

I looked for it and opened it to find the only tool from the original set being the Compasses. It also had a pen I received as a token of honour from my school principal, a gratitude stone- holding which I thanked for a good study session, a sharpener (I didn’t know I have so many sharpeners), a decade old eraser and the last CA Final exam hall ticket. It is rusted now and the other original tools of the sets were broken or lost on the journey. This unboxes a reminder to me of how far I have come in the journey of losing and gaining. And now all I need to do is to hold on to the sense of gratitude.

Having written that buys me some peace from the noises of my head.

Thank You Aasha Tai…

My Dancing Journey So Far and the Takeaways

Dancing was just an inspiration of learning something new to the 13 year old me when I acknowledged that my mother was trained in Bharatnatyam and Kathak. “Mumma is my inspiration and I should learn it too someday”- a wish set free into the Universe years ago. In the growing flood of interest for academics, back then at schooling, that wish never got the required attention to become real.  

After a period of over a decade, January-2019, I was on a routine walk at a park. Same playlist, same passers-by, same waving off to the watchman uncle and a gaze at the swinging-happy-children. Usual was too the group of hip-hop boys who practiced at the garden- their unending practices is what I admired the most. But that day the walk caught the wish of little Vriddhi from the years back and converted it into a plan to put for execution. Searched for a class nearby, timings matched my schedules and there I was attending the dancing lessons. 

I got the opportunity to learn and polish this art when I was facing challenges in final years of my academics (Chartered Accountancy-Recognized as one of the toughest course in the world). Dancing helped me to transform my office frustrations into motivation to practice the sums of Consolidations and Business Combinations. It was the new source of motivation for me to wake up every day, complete office tasks and achieve my study targets. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Days on which I had classes) were the most awaited days of every week then. And after a beautiful journey of 8 months of training in freestyle dancing I think I am able to write a brief about my gains from the study of this discipline and present you here:

Eligibility- You need to work for that: The most important part of dancing is warm-ups. I was taught to do a lot of stretching and other exercises to improve my flexibility and improve my body balancing. This was my favourite part of the class. It made me understand that to achieve great things in life you have to learn to become an open bowl. No knowledge in the world can come to you unless you are qualified enough to understand it i.e., you should deserve it. Lesson: We have to work hard to deserve things in life and to become worthy.

Memory: One of the unnoticed power dancers develop is the use of memory. A great mental effort in learning dancing is to remember the flow of steps. This practices of remembering and revising has helped me to develop a great memory. I used to re-perform the difficult steps in my mind on my way back home. I developed a habit of mentally revising the steps during the breaks. So, while I was sitting on the floor tired my brain didn’t stop- it revised and revised and continued. This mental exercise was applied to my studies- Remembering Sections of Company Law, Tax Laws, Ind AS. And it helped a lot in writing impressive answers in exams too J. Gain: Developed techniques of building a great memory.

Love for Fitness: Having learnt dancing of course cultivates a very ‘cool’ side of your personality when you are in a profession looked upon as a boring one. It is a fact that it made me feel much more confident about my body. I became very fond of exercising on regular basis, as I felt good that I was doing something for my fitness. It’s a different level of realisation when you are in a good shape and that has an amplified effect on yourself confidence, which also in turn improves your work performance.

Became So Expressive: Every year, as a CA student I participated in a moderate number of elocution, study sessions at office and other competitions. Having learned dancing has helped me improved my body language as a speaker- irrespective of how scared I am. I have seen myself grow literally well. The expression of thoughts, opinions and debating got so much of power than ever before. This in turn also helps me in networking. And today even if I am travelling somewhere I end up exchanging compliments and ideas freely and make newer connections.

Lookup in the Mirror at Yourself: Well I was lucky enough to be a part of a batch of 10 people only -lesser with absentees ;). We all got to look at ourselves in the mirror while learning the steps and performing. Our teachers used to shout at us and fed into our mind to “focus on yourself only and not others”. Of course, the class had perfect mixture of distractions – an eye candy, fun-making school kids and many others befriended. But, we were told to look at ourselves in the mirror only and focus on improving ourselves. Hence, learnt my lesson of raising above the distraction and improving my focus. That’s exactly how I managed to achieved this degree ignoring the problems and distractions of my life back then.

Have Patience With Yourself: Now comes the time to talk about the difficult steps. When my teacher were trying to get us do any difficult steps, the dance floor used to turn into a war zone in my head. There was a kid in my batch who always grasped things very quickly. And that made me put up a lot of pressure on me. That’s where the lesson of self-acceptance came in. Once I accepted my limited capabilities, I could proceed to patiently work on the difficult part. Going slow is not a bad thing as far as you manage to do all the things in a right manner.

Balancing the best of both: As a very obedient youngest kid of the house I have always chosen the toughest struggling paths. I had shunned my interest in dance for a very long time. But if I want to put it right, in pursuit of whatever you are chasing restlessly please, please, please add some flavour of joy by doing what you love to do. Make it a journey of hardship and joy at the same time. I want to request all the ambitious readers here: Please never cut a deal with “what you love to do” for “what you should do”, for life is very short and uncertain (as learnt from the recent pandemic). Manage to find a way to make your struggles enjoyable. Try to create a balance in your life of both – “the things you should do” and “the things you love doing”. The least you can have is zero regrets for not deferring your happy moments.

I am immensely grateful to my teachers Nikita Shrimali (Mam) and Jayraj Dodiya (Sir) to bless me with taking my baby steps towards the knowledge of this art. I consider it as a blessing because I believe- An art is not just an inspiration to the artist himself but it an inspiration to the viewer too.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU…

-CA. Vriddhi Bhatt