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"Dhwani" of Life.

Semester has begun again. New semester, new classrooms, new students and of course, new perspective. Why else would one look forward going to school or work everyday unless they get something new :) I have titled this topic as "Dhwani" of life. Well, "Dhwani" means sound or the "echo". Everything we do in life teaches us back something, it is like a new music that we learn to sing  or dance as we please. I titled this topic because of a couple of reasons. The first one is about an article I read yesterday.

It is about a 99 year old lady named Lillian Weber. It was such an inspiring article. She, at the age of 99, stitches and makes one dress/clothing a day for children in need. This is for a project called Little dresses for Africa. She starts her morning stitching a new dress for a child and completes it by afternoon. What was beautiful about it is that, the lady wants to complete 1000 dresses and she has now done 800 odd dresses. I was also surprised and inspired to see that a group of women all aged over 80 started doing this in 2011. What a soul! Her life's "dhwani" is that she gives back something to her society even at an age, that most of us would wonder - how can we fend even oneself ? I wish I can contribute something like that as long as I live and help echo my music in a positive way to the world.

Why else have I titled this as "Dhwani"? It is because I finally participated in the local India Fest, that is usually organized by the Knoxville Indian community. This was my first time. When a friend (Manasi) suggested that we sing and perform for a group song, I agreed. Of course, the idea was to get a chance to interact and meet more often and also not miss an opportunity to sing on a stage once again (It has been a while). The meetings, the differences, the similarities, the text messages, emails, the food, laughter and of course, the hard work paid off yesterday. We got some great compliments by the "generous" and kind audience. I wished my hubby was home and in town yesterday, for he would have also performed something and yeah, been there to hear us live. This would not have been possible without the help from our partners (three of us in our team are married) - 2 A's and a B, along with the help of few  of our friends who helped us find the karaoke tracks.  We sang the patriotic medley of Telugu song, Tamil and a hindi song. We sang, "Sreelu pongina" from "Leader" Telugu movie which was followed by the pallavi and charanam of "Ninnai Charanadainthaein", a song from Bharathi movie composed by the great Isaignani Illayaraja sir and written by Bharathiyar :). The last song was the charanam from the "Maa tujhe salaam" version composed by all time special favorite ARR ji. I have to thank my team mates-  Manasi, Keerthana, and Preethi for being a great team and making "Dhwani" a success. Yes, "Dhwani" was our team name! That name aptly suits the idea of our group- music. It was nice to be a part of this, as I got to meet some new friends  and learn something too.

Dhwani-Posing for the picture after the performance. © Copyright Meena Arvind 2014. Picture courtesy Preethi Aravind

This event made me realize how much we cherish our past and the heritage when we are away. Things that seem very trivial are appreciated and celebrated. The joy of small things :) With changing times and burgeoning technology, the borders erode, people unite, we come closer but the culture prevails. Sometimes it is the old one and sometimes the new. Nobody wants to leave their culture behind. They continue it and cherish it. If they leave theirs, then they choose to adopt another. It is sometimes like a melange of colors. When an artist paints, the wall brightens up with colors that form a new image, a new idea, a new thought, and sometimes a new paradigm.

The event also helped me realize how much I missed my friends and family every time I turned around. Just like those colors on an wall, every friend adds a dimension to your life. It is not just give- and- take but it is more like a bond that never breaks (or never should break). Why am I saying this now? Well, I remembered every close friend of mine, whom I have met so far when I walked around the event grounds. I smiled when I realized that the new ones I meet today are already forming bonds that will last for a long time to come (hopefully and at least for me). I really missed my hubby and also missed one of my dear friend (Ramya) who left Knoxville last year and moved to a much bigger city (Houston). I wished she were here today and may be she would have been a part of some dance show too! I was also glad that a couple of my friends at university - LaVerne and Ivonne decided to come in and spend some time too. I should have emailed a lot of them but was busy and missed it!

And about the event, even though, I did not stay back for long as our performance was during the first part of the first slot - 4:00-5:15, I enjoyed the ones that I watched before our performance. Also met fellow Knoxvillian and Indian, Gayatri Mahadevan who creatively choreographed a very simple but excellent kids dance that showed the diversity and the unity of India (I loved her enthusiasm and spirit!). She runs a dance school in Knoxville (Nrithya Masala). There was also a Bharathnatyam performance by Nupura dance school (I presume) students.  It was beautiful to watch these little ones enjoy their performance as much as we enjoyed theirs.

These beautify the sense of community and collective ability of people to create wonders. Despite all the differences, ego, attitudes, challenges and all things that are complex, life teaches us the simplest truth that collective unity is much stronger than anything. Of course, an individual can be the reason why something starts, but then that individual would need a group who follows and help make him/her a success.

Just like how each one of you who read my blog and comment and encourage me to continue, help this blog remain alive and make it special and wonderful for me to write more often! And on that note, I sign off with a promise that I will be more regular on this page and hopefully use this page as a pad to work during my qualifiers preparation. Good night! 

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