A glimpse of Tribe of Taal



What Really Happens When You Don’t Follow Your Heart.


What Really Happens When You Don’t Follow Your Heart

May. 8, 2012

By Alexa Owen

This day will start out like any other day. You’ll be eating or working or jogging when an idea pops into your head: a grand idea to go somewhere great or do something crazy. You’ll dismiss it like you have a thousand other outlandish ideas and think that you won’t look back because, after all, it’s just another dream. And besides, you haven’t attached yourself to the idea yet; your heart isn’t in it. So you keep eating or working or jogging and try not to think about it anymore.

But it keeps coming back: it has landed itself in your mind and its tendrils are wrapping themselves around you, tightening around your brain and your body and your heart. It doesn’t matter what the idea was — a faraway trip, a creative project, a confession — whatever it is it will begin to consume you.

Days go by. Sometimes you indulge in dreaming about the possibilities of this idea, and other times you trap yourself in the impossibilities of it. Every day you try to rid yourself of it, to distract yourself with more eating or working or jogging, with other ideas to which your heart won’t hopelessly attach itself. When that doesn’t work, you surrender just a little bit and try to think of ways you could follow through on this idea without risking as much as you thought you’d have to. Perhaps you can wait a couple years to go on the trip, when you’ll be done with your current job. Maybe you can wait for some fancy grant money to come through to fund your project so you don’t have to worry about doing that and paying rent for the next six months. And that confession? Well, writing it down is almost just as good as saying it in person to that person… so why not just do that?

You spin these webs and congratulate yourself on being mature about the situation by taking inventory of all your options. But after several weeks you realize you’re getting stuck, and that the only way to get unstuck may be the most impossible thing to do. It is also the only thing to do: to follow your heart.

You think about this statement and what it really entails. You realize that “following your heart” holds much more weight and responsibility than your mom once implied on your birthday cards when you were growing up. You have grown up, and now following your heart means actually doing what your entire body and mind are begging you to do, no matter what the risks or consequences. You could lose your job. You could squander your savings. You could get seriously emotionally hurt.

And you’re there. You find yourself in the place of risk and possibility, of mustering the courage and fighting like hell to hold onto it. The adrenaline of making the decision to go for it pulses hot and thick through your body, and you can’t help but imagine gushing to all your friends and even call your parents to tell them. “I’m traveling to this place!” “I’m pursuing this project!” “I’m telling this person how I really feel!” Everyone will be excited for you, proud of you. You’re on your way, kid, and the whole world will know it.

Then your blood starts to cool.

You start trying to figure out the logistics of your plan. You see they might be a bit more complicated than you thought. You psych yourself out as the doubt of your decision creeps, more and more, into your life. You convince yourself more easily than you ever thought possible to back down, to allow cowardice masked as reason to break down the idea you’ve built up. You convince yourself you’re not giving up, just putting it on hold, and that this is the mature thing to do. You are proud of yourself for being so wise, so patient.

And just like that you’ve let it go. The agony of the past several weeks finally dissipates, and you feel relaxed. Content. You carry on with your life. Sometimes you revisit the idea, but only when you’re alone, and only from a distance.

You think everything is fine. But then something starts happening. It catches you off-guard and starts to throw you off balance. It’s something stirring deep in your gut. You don’t know what it is at first, and you try to ignore it. You take some deep breaths, drink a glass of water, and carry on with your day.

But it’s festering now, this stirring which now feels more like a twisting knot. It’s making you angry. You become short with your friends and stop calling your parents. You lash out at anyone who asks you how work is going, or when you plan to travel next, or if there is anything you want to get off your chest. You realize what’s happening, how every time someone asks one of these innocent questions your mind darts back to that moment that you could have quit your job, taken a trip, or made your confession — that moment that has long since passed.

Now there’s not much you can do. You see the grave error you’ve made and beat yourself bloody with guilt and shame for not being true to yourself. You carry on, keeping the worst episodes to yourself so people don’t think you’ve completely lost it. You tell yourself that everything will be okay, that this is not irrevocable. But weeks, months, years down the road, you will never forget that feeling of turning your back on yourself, of that time you stopped following your heart.

Just wanted to share this with all of you….Megha D’souza

a wandering dancer’s musing


This is the new age style of expressing – acronyms. OMG, LOLs leave me wondering if there is a short form for acronym itself :).

So here it is – a term that can define my way of living. I am in a constant state of NKKM – Naye ki khoj mein; a literal translation “in search of something new” does full justice.

I am perpetually in a state of learning, or rather seeking new learnings. And these 2 have very distinctive meanings. While learning implies that one has or is in the process of picking up a new ‘whatever it is’ –a new word, a new dance form, a new language etc; seeking on the other hand signifies a quest, a craving, an exploration. These indicate a personal journey of sorts. Journey it is, as against arriving at one’s destination. You never really arrive, do you? At least I can speak for the unenlightened ones like me. Life (for us) is all about this zest, this yearning, this passage/trip from one stage to another. If you seek, if you yearn, if you explore then you LIVE! Did I hear you sigh “IKR”? 🙂

My inexorable need to explore new dance forms is an indication of NKKM syndrome. While one may know a particular dance form, an exponent is still only a performer/an exemplar and there is enough and more to continue fueling the fire of discovery. And since I have what they call a ‘keeda’ (hindi slang for a bugging drive), I am relentlessly seeking an internal journey through new dance forms.  While I have trained in Bharata Natyam for 12 years +, I had this urge to learn Kathak & Odissi. It’s now been 2 years since I am learning Kathak from Pt. Birju Maharaj’s Kalashram, Mumbai, but not for once was it a situation of either-or. Alongside the chakkars and abhinaya, soon I will be exploring the characteristic tribhangi and the inimitable torso movement unique to Odissi.

Whilst I continue to enrich my life experience through NKKM, I am hopeful that many more get infected by this syndrome and LIVE it up.

Esoteric. What’s that?


Esoteric. What’s that?

es·o·ter·ic: /ˌɛsəˈtɛrɪk/[es-uh-ter-ik]: adjective

1. understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest;

2. belonging to the select few.

It is one of the most euphonious words for me. Also, it is a word I seem to use more frequently as I grow up.

On my recent trip to Thailand, this word came rushing to me as I sat down to watch ‘Nijinsky Siam’ performed by The Pichet Klunchun Dance Company. Set in a slightly run down auditorium of a beautiful University campus, I saw an interesting mix of what looked like Thai’s elite in the front seats, juxtaposed with young students at the back.

Lights dim. Curtains rise. And to a deafening silence, three beautiful men dressed in traditional Thai prints begin the show with slow, restrained and highly controlled movements. All three of them holding the character’s portrait in hand, just moved from one side of stage to another in flawless synchronicity. This continued for a good 6 minutes. (Or more.) The concept then took the audience through a beautiful story of a prince, a princess and a villainous monkey. No music. No sound effects – Simple story telling via hard-hitting bodylines and fluid movements. I was spellbound.

Then I saw the silhouette near me twitching, shifting weight from one side to the other, moving in front, staring at the stage, moving behind, staring at the stage. Then the silhouette’s face moved and I heard a loud, bored yawn leaving his mouth. I froze in my seat. And then I yawned too.

This experience made me wonder if art really needs to be too complicated to be called ‘arty’. As a dancer, I was thrilled with the dancers, their talent and their sheer dedication that reflected in every movement of their lithesome body. But beyond that, I didn’t understand anything. Would it be too plebeian of me to ask for some kind of a synopsis before the acts begin? Would it insult the artist’s craft? If art remains so distant, how will it reach everyone?

On the other hand, does the artist not have the freedom to just express? If he has to spell out or justify every act of his, how does he cope with his own emotional struggles? Does an artist owe a justification to anyone besides himself?

Is art for the artist or is it for the audience? I am still thinking.

I am an artist too and it is my constant battle to seek such answers. This is just one step further in this search. And if ever you are in Bangkok, try and get a seat for yourself when Pichet Klunchun is performing. You will not regret it. You will only start thinking.

Megha D’souza

Saying ‘I dance’ would be an understatement and an insult to my life.

I express. I move. I create.

Every dance movement I make helps me orient myself in reality,

my own emotions, and my own body.”

– Joseph Baldock


Part of me…For life


Since I was a little girl I wanted a tattoo. Even then, I remember being aware of its intransience. I wanted to wait until that ‘one’ thing came my way.  In anticipation, I used to buy Fusen Gum for its tattoo wrap & got addicted to bubble gum 🙂

A lot of things transpired in the years that followed. A lot of people connected; a lot more I didn’t bother to connect with. A lot of experiences left a mark; a lot more books & trips made me the person I am today. Not to forget some musicians made a lasting impression. My tattoo could be inspired by any of these…So why did I pick this, one would wonder?

All my close friends & family were asked to guess what could be my tattoo design? Something that is a part of me…for life? Unanimous answer was ‘Dance…’, ‘something related to dance’.

I waited for years to finally figure that something I stumbled upon years back is the ONE I want to live with for the rest of my life. While physically dance existed in my life since I was five, today it is connected to me spiritually. Ghungroos…to me signify dance, symbolize music, denote poise, embody expression, epitomize my raison d’être. Today, dance has become something that will define me for life.

Kevin Andrade, an incredible tattoo artist, got my brief bang on. He eternalized my dancing feet and manifested my love for dance through this beautiful master piece.

-Parinda Singh
Partner, Tribe of Taal

The feeling I get when I have my ghungroos on... it is ineffable.

Ever inspiring, grace immortalized


Legend has it that all Gods and Goddesses were dancers themselves. Isn’t that evident from the temple art around India?

My experience at Khajuraho (apart from the dance fest) was surreal. As I glanced upon the figurines carved upon the temple walls, I tried to envisage what lilting movements preceded that finally got immortalized into these divine sculptures. The grace and poise in these supposedly lifeless murtis is far from frozen.

There are various choreographers and artists who have been mystified by these svelte stone danseuses. Attempts have been made to recreate the magical moves that resulted in these eventual alluring postures.

I am posting some pics from my Khajuraho collection.  Some depicting shringaar ras (expression of adornment), some enjoying a daily ritual and others simply living in the moment, these left me mesmerized.

One day Tribe of Taal will endeavor at reliving the dance of Gods.


Partner – Tribe of Taal