Over the last few years, I moved countries, took up work that was out of my comfort zone and made difficult life decisions. Many considered these actions as brave and without a doubt, they were difficult moments for me. They forced me to face my fears and walk on uncharted paths. In hindsight, I can appreciate my own courageous spirit in those moments. However, in all humility, I did not ‘feel’ brave during those times.
It was a small yet significant moment some time ago when I felt brave in the moment. I attended a music show, in a language that I did not understand, and hoped that I would enjoy it alone. For some time now I’ve been toying with this idea of occasionally enjoying one’s own company and having a kick-ass time doing it. However, executing the idea has not been easy. On this occasion, as I entered the music hall brimming with people dressed up for the occasion, I felt like an imposter. They expected me to be one of them but I was not. I did not understand the language or culture and that made me nervous. When someone asked me a question in their language, I shyly replied, ‘English?’
But music has a way of connecting hearts. Within no time, people sitting beside me started translating the host’s speech for me. We conversed with hand gestures and broken sentences to understand each other. And when the music started, the energy of the hall shot up like a rocket into space. My nervousness disappeared as perfume sprayed into the open air. I hummed, tapped and swayed with everyone else. The fact that I was there by myself didn’t matter. The language barrier ceased to exist. Everyone moved together to the beats as one. By the time the show ended, my throat was hurting from all the screaming and I was tired of the high-intensity experience. But my heart was happy and smiling.
I had entered the hall with a sense of fear but I exited with a sense of joy and accomplishment.
On my way back home, the taxi driver may have noticed the sense of contentment on my face and enquired, ‘How was the show?’
‘It was great! So much more fun than I expected,’ I replied.
‘Pardon me but when I saw your name I thought you were Indian’, he said respectfully.
‘I am’, I replied.
‘But the show was in a different language, do you speak it?’ he asked.
‘Nope’, I replied.
‘So you went to see a show that you did not understand?’ he asked in bewilderment.
‘Yup’ I replied.
He looked back at me in the rearview mirror. He had an expression on his face that I had seen before – you’re brave!
I smiled and for the first time in my life I felt ‘yes, I feel the same’.
This experience was surreal and fulfilling in many ways and it taught me a few things:
Oneness of humanity
On the outside, our differences in religion, language, race or political beliefs may seem to segregate us. However, we are all connected at our roots and music, culture and art bring us together. When we tune into these art forms then the outside barriers dissolve and we can truly connect with any other person in our day-to-day life.
Power of me
We often forget ourselves in the realities of life, family and work. Our own priorities and needs take a back seat. Taking time out for ourselves to spend with ourselves is the best gift we can give to our life. We often look to others to give us a boost, motivate us or make our day. However, we are the biggest source of power in our lives.
Meaning of courage
Courage or bravery does not mean imitating another person’s life for what is considered to be brave. It means to challenge our inner fears. Attending a music event alone may not be an act of courage for others, but it is for me. It doesn’t matter how insignificant my fear may seem to others but my inner validation of overcoming it is my moment of courage.
So what is it that you think you cannot do? There lies your moment of courage.
© 2023 Sakshi Daral
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