Everywhere I went, they asked me, “What do you do?” I didn’t know how to answer that. I did so many things. And like Alice, I felt like I would change so many times over.
Then one day, it occurred to me. Who I was was more important than what I did. I was a strong girl when I began, full of thoughts and ideas about the way of life. I felt like I could take on anything. My words were my strength. I considered myself a writer. That was also my reply when someone asked me what I did. But somewhere in time, along the way, I felt I was being defined by words. I was slotting myself into categories. I was either a writer, a stylist, a blogger or a girl waiting to meet a boy. I went into a cocoon. I found comfort hiding behind these titles. I was static. Until one day, my heart started beating really fast. Every conversation I had was with another woman who had found herself. And somehow I was waiting. To break free from the cocoon. And emerge a butterfly. A happy creature with wings that could lift any weight on my shoulders. I came into my own and was truly my best self. I feel like that even now. Lighter, free and ready to take on the world. Almost as if my whole life has been a preparation for this very moment. Where I can put my best self forward and vibe on the same frequency as others.
I know there are many more who feel this way. And so, with this post, I am kick-starting a campaign. ‘Embrace yourself‘ is an all inclusive collaboration of cross-cultural and multi-faced creators who have one primary goal. To come into their own and give back to society and the world at large.
I have already embarked on this venture with a hugely talented and diverse set of women. I am going to trace their individual journeys for you. Keep reading until the end for a surprise.
Alice (Dhruvi): When someone asks what do you do?, what is your reply?
Medha (the model): I recently read somewhere that if you ever want to get to know a person well, instead of asking them ‘what do you do?’, ask them what they are most passionate about and that’ll get you a far more honest and interesting answer.
I am slowly beginning to bring about that change of perception in me.
I do a lot of things. I am an actor, I write and direct plays under my theatre production company (Bread & Butter Ent.), I sketch portraits and paint large canvasses that only my friends and family have seen because I don’t sell my artwork as yet. I have taken on a completely new journey in life of preparing to be a scuba diving instructor. I am obsessively going after it because I know I find the most joy when I am underwater. I travel on my own every few months to a completely new city/country and wish to alter that habit to every single month. I practice yoga, not as a mode of fitness but as a practice that’s closest to my natural self. I sometimes borrow a Scooty from friends to ride and to remind myself of the absolute freedom I have in this world that’s gradually shrinking in it’s abundance and equilibrium. I even go for swims for the same reason. I also write long rants on social media expressing my disappointment in the changing ways of the world. I often read Ayn Rand to get back my lost peace. Perhaps, I am just an old hag or like my mother often says, ‘born too precocious’.
Alice: Does anyone ever ask who are you? Do you know who you are? That is a strange question. Something a caterpillar would ask alice.
Medha: For the first part of the question, my answer would be ‘No, rarely anyone ever asks who I am’. I guess they discover in due course of time.
For the second part of the question I can only say that I know who I am at this moment because we are all constantly evolving with every passing moment. So yes, I do know who I am at this instance. I am a seeker, a wanderer and an adventurer. I am best defined by a German term ‘Sehnsucht’ which means ‘an intense yearning for something far-off and indefinable’. I am an empath. I feel I am a soul who’s in constant motion, understanding and absorbing and even learning and unlearning the ways of the world. I am completely anachronistic in my being.
Alice: What was your cocoon? When did you feel like a caterpillar? Do you feel like a butterfly now?
Medha: I think my cocoon for the longest time in my life was my conditioning that taught me to be sensitive and receptive yet self-absorbed in a world that lays a lot of emphasis on survival and warped definitions of success. Even as I say this I know the sentence is full of oxymorons and ironies and is difficult to grasp entirely. I’ll explain myself. I grew up in a family surround by art and creativity. We had a huge collection of books at home and the children in the family had to read every single day. We painted and drew cards for each other on all occasions and eventually went on to create large canvasses and learnt to appreciate different kinds of music and cuisines. I belong to a family where everyone writes poetry to express their selves. I remember we’d spend evenings on our round dining table and share our work with each other. Soon my interaction with the real world taught me that there are certain very specific things expected out of me and that goes beyond the kindness, etiquette and artistic skills that I have learnt so far. Growing up taught me that the world has a very peculiar definition of success and achievements for every human being. For years after, those definitions confused me and they compelled me to comply with the ways of the world I perhaps didn’t even agree with entirely. It took me a long time to unlearn those definitions and form new ones for myself that were more in sync with my beliefs. It is then it struck me that I must choose to do things in life that bring me joy.
This brings me to the second part of the question. It is from that point on I embraced my failures and inabilities with as much love as I embraced my achievements. I stopped worrying about how the world defined money, careers and success and instead embraced all that was closest to my heart – nature, animals, people, poetry and travel. My first response to any living being I meet is that of a big warm hug. Be it a cat or a dog or an elephant or a human being.
The answer to the third part of the question is that I am in transition. I know I am not a butterfly as yet. I am in transition because I find myself struggling for basics in a world that is not quite as idealistic as I am. I am greatly unapologetic about my disregard for capitalist, consumerist ways of life. Though my implementation of it is yet to be a 100%. My butterfly moment will be to pack my bags and move from one destination to another and scuba dive for the rest of my life. I think I am slowly getting there.
With Medha, Himani Shah was able to capture a visual representation of this chrysalis. Bhoomika Chouhan’s designs and Gazal Rawlyani’s make-up artistry blew me away. All of us have had a fascinating story to share and there’s more from where that came. So, Natania Lalwani’s words and melodies are going to set the tone for these revelations. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you watch the promo below.
I might be a little obsessed with this project. But then again, we’re all mad here.
Coming next on the blog: How Embrace Yourself Came About and 3 fascinating stories!