And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does!

I think most people would agree if I say that childhood is the most colourful part of life.

I grew up alongside my cousin sister who was fortunately the same age as me. I used to see her energetic, enthusiastic self, obsessing about what she wanted to do when we grew up. One week it would be an astronaut, the other week it would be a news reporter or a doctor! That girl changed professions as if she were changing socks, but I guess it paid off since today, she’s an actor. She can be whoever she wants while still somehow following her childhood dream.

But I wasn’t lucky enough. Or you can say that I didn’t have enough courage.

I wanted to dance. And hence, I was a disgrace to my family.

a

We were brought up in a rigid, culturally-brainwashed family. She had to leave home when she was sixteen (which is a huge deal in our country) in order to study acting. As clichéd as that sounds, it took blood, sweat, tears and many, many years to be where she is today, and I couldn’t be prouder. But in a country like ours, where most girls aren’t fortunate enough to build a life for themselves, I can’t help but envy her.

Although, I was ‘allowed’ to pursue higher studies and maybe take up a job if it came up, there were certain hopes which I had to crush before they were even born. If I wasn’t a doctor or an engineer, I had to at least aim for a high paying, ‘prestigious’ job in the government sector. But none of those things ever fitted in my future plans.

I wanted to dance. And hence, I was a disgrace to my family.

Unlike my cousin, who was forever uncertain until she found the stage and camera lights, I always knew my feet were meant to dance. That was my childhood dream. My passion. And for the said passion, I can’t even tell you how close I came to fleeing from home and joining my cousin sister in the metropolitan city.

But life had other plans and I got stuck doing a job I didn’t want to; pretty much like most people in this world. Art is underappreciated to a very upsetting extent. And even if it is noticed, nobody wants that life for their child. At least my parents didn’t. They saw it as a life of struggle, uncertainty, bad reputation and a dark future.

That smile tells you I’m imagining myself on a grand stage in front of millions of people with lights flashing on my face.

b

And I know not many people actually have the guts to live like that for the sake of their dreams, but I did. Maybe not anymore though. And I’ve made peace with it.

I’m happy sneaking out on weekends to teach dancing at the Blind School. My playlist is more sacred to me than probably to any other human being in the world. While travelling in the train or even walking on the road, the huge smile on my face and the bobbing of my head says it all. That smile tells you I’m imagining myself on a grand stage in front of millions of people with lights flashing on my face. It tells you that my body is moving gracefully along the beats, if only in my mind.

And now that I own an apartment (thanks to the job I have always hated), I can put on performances even if it’s just for the walls to see. I blast music and dance my heart out, choreographing each new song that releases, in my head. It’s my form of heaven, my tiny little secret. Neighbours probably think I party every evening.

It doesn’t bother me though. I get to live my childhood dream behind the curtains and the tiny ray of hope that maybe I won’t have to hide someday. One day I can live my dream, turn it into a reality; just the way I’ve always imagined.

With hopes and a lot of regrets,

Someone who never stopped dreaming.



Author: Alisha Jamshed Syed

 

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