As a person who loves theatre, movies or any medium of performing arts, my only role in it was being the audience.
Whether it was crying buckets when I saw the last scene of Bimal Roy’s’ Do Bheega Zameen’ or feeling my hair rise up when I saw ‘ Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind’.
Similar feelings arose when I saw Daksha Sheth’s dance oriented performance in Sari or Sujay Saple’s Moonfool, Vinay Varma’s Agnes of God or Anupama Chandrashekar’s play Free Outgoing.
All the above made me have a catharsis.
Whether it was because of some personal experiences or just being shaken up by the raw performances of the actors/dancers, it just moved me deeply.
That said, I never thought I would one day enroll myself in an acting workshop conducted by the versatile Hyderabad based Theatre group SUTRADHAR.
I always thought I could best express my thoughts and feelings through writing or whatever little I knew of it.
So when I saw the posting of a workshop conducted by Sutradhar aptly named PARWAAZ – meaning to fly, ‘flight’, to spread your wings and explore, it got me curious.
One part of me just wanted to attend it out of curiosity, while the other part of me was just plain shy and embarrassed.
Why embarrassed? Because just like any layman I was embarrassed with myself to think I was worth enough to try this.
I was highly judgemental and self critical,thinking oh my god what are my close friends going to say if I tell them I was attending an acting workshop?? Will I be laughed at?
It set me thinking as to what was it that was making me not acknowledge this aspect?
To not accept that I would like to explore this medium?
Was it the stigma that I was brought up on in my generation and in my childhood hanging heavy in me? The taunts that yeh sab kuch nautanki hai would come back at me? Maybe…
But most importantly, I wanted to unlearn.. Yes not just learn, but UNLEARN!
I wanted to Unlearn the frigidness I built up in me, the cautious person that I let myself be.
I wanted to Unlearn not being the free spirit. Unlearn the high criticism to the point of berating myself all the time.
And so with that thought, I jumped in with a friend into the workshop and did I jump!
I literally jumped into a movement exercise and realized how stiff and rigid I had become, how much I was avoiding eye contact when I was confronting another person.
The feelings of love, lust, anger,suspicion, fear – all this and more was so difficult when it came to expressing.
As Vinay Varma ably put it, until and unless we internalize, until we take situations and circumstances that relate to us, we cannot express nor we can move forward.
I remember after the first day of the workshop, when I went back home, I actually ‘saw’ myself in the mirror for the first time in my life.
Not doing anything, neither brushing my hair nor dressing up but just standing still and watching myself.
I saw a transparency in my face, a face that could show so much emotion but was scared and had hidden it all these years for the fear of getting hurt.
The face in the mirror talked back to me, telling me to just feel free, to not get scared, to not be worried about what others are thinking when you are trying something, to not think of consequences but just jump in with all the enthusiasm of a child,to fall, again and again and rise up and do it all over again.
This workshop was a beginning, a firsts in many ways after a long time..
I felt humility, honesty, genuineness in the teacher when he taught.
It was so important to be a good human being, to believe in principles in a world we live today that constantly pushes you to be the opposite.
After two days of role play, movements, conversations, sharing experiences, even if it was something simple as sharing biscuits with chai or Mohini’s awesomely delicious Biryani, I felt togetherness in the group which I was missing for a long time.
Every person in the workshop had a goal, a vision, however small or big it was, it was their personal goal.
To communicate more with their loved ones, a change in their careers, or to stop living the lie they were fed up of, to be honest to themselves, it was all there.
As two days went fast by, I stand right here, looking at the mirror, exploring what I have deep inside me and knowing this is just a tiny step to a thousand miles. A journey to the infinite. There is more to go.
And am I ready to fly? Yes I am, slowly, gently, sometimes flapping like crazy in my discomfort, sometimes gliding but yup definitely no more on the ground for there is a wide world out there ready to be explored 🙂