Saturday, April 23, 2011

Meet Priyanka...


            “I love to laugh,” Priyanka flashes a 100-watt smile, framed by a pink plastic headband and perfectly plaited pigtails. “Whenever I’m sad, I try to make myself laugh,” she explains, and through Priyanka’s eyes, there is little reason in life not to laugh and be happy. She describes her home as small, but comfortable, and with pleasant neighbors. Her two older sisters shower her with love and attention when she comes home from the children’s hostel she stays in at Gandhi Ashram. She calls her mom her best friend.
            As her mother’s best friend, Priyanka believes it is her duty to not cause her any undue pain.
“I sometimes worry,” Priyanka admits, “but I do not tell my parents. I don’t want to cause them sadness.” As an outsider looking in, Priyanka’s world is filled with reasons for worry. Her parents’ cleaning jobs have unstable incomes, and any money earned is used up quickly by the household. Until recently, they lit their home with candles because they could not afford electricity. But according to her parents, life will always be filled with one worry or another.
“Showing others our worries will not reduce our own suffering,” Priyanka’s father says.  The family follows the principle of always trying to stay positive and smiling.
“We do not get defeated by little difficulties.”

Near the beginning of the EKATVA journey in June of 2010, Priyanka decided she no longer wanted to participate in the audition process. In an uncharacteristic display of tears, she explained that her legs were tired and aching from the dance lessons. Her youthful perspective did not reach beyond a few hours of discomfort, to the fruit that her efforts may produce.
 Her mentors explained to her that pain is an inevitable part of any journey of self-growth. With patience and practice, her soreness would evolve into a realization of the great potential she holds as a dancer and person.
A few days later, 11-year old Priyanka came back and gave the auditions another shot, putting aside her fear of pain. She was eventually selected as one of the final 16 children, from the initial 250 that were auditioned.


The aches and pains haven’t stopped. But now, when she stumbles during dance rehearsal, or sometimes falls from the daring human pyramid the children build in one number, Priyanka motivates herself to practice more by imagining the professional dancer she hopes to become one day.

“That is how I become stronger.”

video


written with love by Pooja Shah :)

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