“A madman is just a dreamer awake” -Sigmund Freud
As Lao Tzu once said, “new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” The adage certainly holds true, albeit the painful ending wasn’t mine.
My journey as a dreamer, a realist and a practicing psychotherapist started when I was about ten years of age. My mother’s friend, our neighbor, was struggling with an abusive marriage and she often used to drop by our house to vent to my mother. Unknowingly, week after week, listening in on their conversation, I couldn’t help but notice my mother’s calm demeanor; and watching her listen, without judgement, altered something in me. I got curious, was it my mum lending a listening ear to her or the no-judgement zone, aunty changed, and so did I.
As the time passed, in my heightened sense of inquisitiveness, I noticed, as giggly teens- my girlfriends and I ranted endlessly to each other about every topic under the sun, and just how cathartic it was!
I’m not sure whether I was driven by the curiosity to pin back my ears or a desire to express and let others do the same, but from
my formative years, the power of listening was unleashed to me. And one thing was for sure: I loved being at the other end of the spectrum: listening.
So, in the beginning of senior school, I had made up my mind that I wanted to study psychology, and I haven’t looked back since.
I’m a firm believer of letting things take their own course and from experience I have learnt that what’s meant to happen, somehow always does. Jump to a few years down the line to my college days, where sweet serendipity came knocking on my door.
I did my graduation from SNDT, Mumbai, where I had shifted from Pune, and that’s where I discovered my love for the arts. I was a total nerd when it came to studies, but I never shied away from the stage! Days turned into nights at the theatre; performing musicals, enacting and dancing, and that helped me develop into the person I am today, to find my inner voice.
The stage was almost like an allegory of my life, it helped me acquire not just knowledge, but momentous life skills like perseverance, self-expression and so much more. I am truly a by-product of the learnings I had up on the stage, being someone, I wasn’t, until I was.
So, enchanted I was that when I was in college, I had even considered completing my degree but pursuing my first love, theatre.
But, as fate would have it, theatre and I developed an on and off relationship.
After college, my life moved on to the fast lane- I finished my post-graduation, got married, and started working as a counsellor in a school. In the due course of time, my family and career became my priority and my hobbies took a back-seat. After I conceived my beautiful daughter, I took a complete sabbatical and started as a full-time mommy! When my daughter was five years old, I started working again.
I have always been quenchless in my pursuit of learning and after multiple courses in Hypnotherapy, NLP, and various other healing modalities, I now practice as a mental health practitioner and Life transformation coach in Mumbai and I have clients who believe in me.
Belief. One word that can alter the course of one’s life, and it’s usually a two-way street.
In 2014, fate came knocking once again and this time, I wasn’t one to shy away from it. Mr. Anand Mhasvekar, my esteemed mentor from college and a renowned playwright and filmmaker asked me for a role, albeit small, in a film he was writing- Amhi Bolato Marathi.
After all those years, when I never supposed I could go back to acting, to dramatics; the belief he instilled in me led me to believe
that I actually could start afresh, without budging an inch. I got a few offers for roles in short films post that, but I guess it was the wrong time.
Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands for the wheels of fate to turn, and so I did. In 2017, I enrolled myself with Viva Voice Academy led by Ms. Vandana Sengupta, who’s my mentor now. Even though I’m not a voice artist, but I feel more in tune with my navrasas than ever before. Since then, I have done a few films, started writing again, and I’m most grateful for performing on stage once again, for their Annual Function.
When I look back at my 20-year long career of being a psychotherapist, which was always intermingled with theatre, I can’t help but think, if time is a mere construction only in the four walls of our brain?
Unlike popular belief, psychotherapists don’t have everything figured out. I, for one, have reached where I am by trial and error, following my gut, tagging along the crazy in me, always (well, almost…)
If there’s one takeaway you have from this is that you might not always see light at the end of the tunnel, or even at the beginning, but you have to keep going.
We have to deliberately make time for the things that we love, that makes us happy to be alive.
Because tiny, wobbly baby steps are better than not moving at all. Because at the end of this long, bittersweet life, when we’ll look back and total those baby steps, we’ll be amazed at the strides we’ve taken, at the room of dreams we’ve created.