Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Talent: Inborn or Developed?

I think talent is inborn, though I would love to believe otherwise. I can't even lie because I have gone through some experiences which led to the fortification of this belief.

I have always had issues with dancing. In past and even today, I am scared of going to parties. I am always worried that there might be a dance floor and that I might be forced by colleagues to perform shakes and moves. I can promise that with my size and weight, I am only capable of pushing people besides me or, worse, break the dance floor. I loved and detested people who could dance. I loved women for the beauty and detested men with jealousy.

I would shy away either by hovering around the bar counter with a glass brimming with liquid or find people, who like me, had two left feet. Or better no feet, at all. I remember situations when I was forced to the dance floor and wouldn't know what to do. I would smile like a fool and wriggle myself out of the embarrassment under the dim and flashing lights.

Similar things can be said about my singing but I think I make a positive attempt and am not as nervous when forced.

So last year, I joined Mani's dance class. Mani has studied dance in UK and teaches various Latin American dance forms - Samba, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha and Jive. No, that is not the entire list. I learnt these. During that period, he also did Ballroom and Salsa workshops. He is a great dancer and a fantastic teacher. He breaks down the steps to such fragments that a person like me starts believing that (s)he can dance. He displays an amazing amount of patience.

I tried dancing for about a year and under Mani's tutelage did manage to go through two levels of exams, improving every time. But then whenever I took exams, I would be close to nervous breakdown. If I got the steps it would not be coordinated with the beats. If I concentrated on the beats, I would miss my steps.

Then it had to happen. Other priorities overtook and I had to leave the dance class.

Then, I tried my luck with playing instruments. I joined guitar classes at The Unwind Centre. I must say the experience was no different. On side note, Unwind Centre sucks! The classes would never be on time and teachers were atrocious. I am not saying that they didn't know how to play guitar just that they were very bad teachers. Of course I too missed a class or two. My exam nervousness returned when it came to tests.

I analyzed my failure in my tryst with art. If I wasn't moving that well under Mani, I seemed strumming air rather than the strings in Unwind Centre. There seemed to be one common thread in both cases. During exams, I was sweating from every orifice in my body.

Did I have learning disability?

I seemed to learn languages better. Whether French or German, I seemed to love learning them. I didn't get nervous when I took exams. I took to tennis only a couple of years back. Despite my weight and shape, today, I play competitive tennis, even if it is at amateur level. I seem to learn serving and playing shots better with every game. Even when I play league matches, which is akin to the exams in Dancing and Guitar classes, I seem to look forward to playing them.

Only after this did I start thinking about talent. I believe that if you don't have it, you don't get it. While it may not be about the DNAs you inherit from your parents but the seeds are sown when you are young, I think. You must have a liking for the activity. I am very sure that even if I put more years in practicing, I would never be able to match Mani's grace and elegance.

Savitha, I am so sorry that I mocked at you every time you got into the pool and just watched. As you used to say, now I realize that everyone has his or her own strengths and WEAKNESSES.

Focus on strength, try but don't break your head and heart over the weaknesses. You tried!

1. The person dancing is Mani, not me.
2. Tennis personality is Roger Federer, just in case you thought it was me.
3. I am also not the person whose image first appears in this post. You can find my picture in my profile. It was taken in a restaurant and I love to eat a lot.
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