Born in Delhi, in a Punjabi family, I was about three years old when I shifted to Kolkata, West Bengal with my parents, as my father got a job transfer. It was in Kolkata, that my life actually started, from my education to the coming up of dance in my life.
My earliest memory goes to visiting the Durga Puja Pandal while holding my parents’ hands. I don’t know if it was the joy-filled air or the crowd at the pandal, but everything felt mesmerizing. My most prominent memories of performing on stage have been on such occasions.
It was the dance class I was a part of where I got the first opportunity to go on the stage at the age of four. It was a group performance meant for Durga Puja, my group members included my friends both from my school and my neighborhood. I was comfortable, well why not, because I wasn’t alone.
I remember wearing ghunghroos (anklet bells) on both feet and the dance involved me holding dafli (tambourine). Dafli for me was the best element of the entire performance, or at least what I remember of it. I still have my purple-colored dafli intact with me, which keeps my memories alive. Whether it was holding a prop in my hands, or be it having to do makeup as a kid, everything was intriguing.
No goosebumps, no stage fear, all that mattered was the joy of being on the stage, just me and my happy feet. God, I wish I have that fearless nature and confidence today. I don’t remember looking for my parents through the crowd out of nervousness. I remember the face of my nervous dance teacher taking us to the stage, holding the flock of naughty kids together, taking us to our respective positions, and then cheering in our support from behind the curtain.
I remember people coming up to us after the performance and pulling our cheeks to say khoob bhalo (very good). The praise was enough to bring a cheer to our faces, knowing that we did something right. My parents pampering me, being happier than me, and congratulating me for my first ever performance is something I still cherish. My five years in Kolkata gave me wings, and memories that will last with me for a lifetime, especially about all the firsts that I had there. It paved the way for my professional dance journey till date.