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The pursuit of what one believes to be “good” takes the person on daring adventures often isolating them from their own lands. It has been five years since the desire for an impeccably distinct education and job has brought me here. At first, it was overwhelmingly new and my inquisitiveness took better of me, leading me on a path I never knew could have probably led to my destruction.

Let me not bore you much with details about my education and professional experience. I have only one word for it – Weird. At times it was traumatic, at times it was not. At times, I felt that no one could understand what I was trying to say, the way I was thinking and/or feeling. Days of surviving many failures have knit all of us into a family. As a dancer, director, , and a part time ; it was too many responsibilities to struggle with each one requiring an increasing amount of commitment in terms of time, energy, resources, and mental faculties. It was my first independent show. A musical direction – A Play of Lights – talking about Flight – the burning desire for freedom to , to break all shackles of society.

It was a risk. A multilingual play with songs in different languages and of different genres – all playing together.  The protagonist tried to make sense of the chaos and restore the environment to . I was tensed. (That being an understatement) Juggling between dancing on stage and making sure the lights, , and backstage functions smoothly, with a sprained foot. I never told anyone. I had enough of people holding me back from what they called this to be “too ambitious a project.” With much disasters and crisis management, the show went on. It was time for the finale – the moment when the protagonist thrashed, turned, swirled and tried to get free. I did not realize there was broken glass on stage until I stepped on it. The dance continued as the percussion increased. Smiles on the face, blood flowing from the heel, until the final lift and it was all over.

I cannot describe or piece together what followed next.  It was a mixture of happiness, shrieks, scolding, and applause. But if there is anything I do remember clearly, it is Him – radiating joy from his soul and love flowing from his eyes. And soon, the rest followed. The opposition quietened down. I found a new family in my core team.  They were people quite unlike me but something connected us. Though I had initially lost those I believed to be my friends and family, it did not matter now. I had broken free from the shackles of society.

I do not dance anymore now. My feet cannot take that much pressure. Some of the others lived in fame for a few years, after which they retired. The path that I had initially chosen could have landed me into depression, drugs, and politics. I had, at many times, considered latter. I was dangerously veering towards it but he always came and pulled me out before I sank in abyss. We all (including him) had our own families and live. I had too, till a certain point in time.

I miss my . But that is not reason enough to take me back to the place and people I left. The existence of sanity in this world leads to a certain level of isolation. People from diverse backgrounds and experiences, some left, some stayed. But whatever it was, it was one ‘Family’- our family. Though isolated from the rest of society, we have never left each other no matter what society spoke about us. As I hold his daughter in my arms today, I recall him, those eyes, and that distinct smell. She has his eyes, I see.

The mind wanders like a drunken . Desires take man across lands in search of something he can call his Own. But true ownership is in letting go of all that constrain you. Leave it free. Four walls can build fortresses, which will eventually get destroyed. The body is but a cage, which will rot one day. Alas! Those who make homes out of cement shallows shall always roam in despair. Though living in different worlds now, I know I have found a home – In him. It resides within me. And this legacy will be carried forward in my child – a hearth of freedom and love that burns within those who are left of us. Home is where the heart is, where the hearth is…

-Amee Parikh
Mumbai, India

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