Dancing to the Beat of Her Own Drum

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is? I have. In fact, it's one of the most common questions I end up asking myself, right up there with, "What am I going to eat?" and "Where are my <keys/wallet/phone>?" Ever since my trip to the Big Apple, I've been thinking about this even more. I even wrote a blog post on it for the Student Branding Blog, where I'm a regular contributor. Will I ever find the answer? One day, I think I will--at least I hope I will!--but until then, let me tell you about someone who did find her purpose and passion: my sister, Heena.

If you know me, you essentially know her because whether we like to admit it or not, we are a part of each other. (And you can throw our big brother in that mix too.) One of my college friends put it best when he met her for the first time, "Whoa! Two Sejal's at once! I don't know if I can handle this!" While we have our similarities (we both get excited about little things, we have a love for dance, we can be loud though she's louder, we're solid Antakshri players, we surround ourselves with amazing people...), we have our differences as well (she excels in math [she's a Berkeley engineer] while I excel in socializing, she likes to bake and I prefer to cook, she can recite ragas and I can recite raps). Long story short, an extended service trip to India lead her to her passion and purpose: tabla. She abandoned her civil engineering dreams, listened to her heart and embarked on a journey to become the premiere female tabla player in the world. (I think her ultimate dream is to educate the world about classical Indian music, becoming a professional tabla player is one of the milestones along the way.)

And man, is she good. And before you say, "You're just saying that because you're her sister!", you need to understand that that's exactly why I am saying that. I went to the concert with low expectations, and because as her sister, that's what I'm supposed to do (attend her concert) and my mind was blown. As her sister, I want nothing but the best for her. I'm the first one to criticize her new haircut (okay, second after our brother--thank goodness Karim was able to fix that, and QUICK too!) and the first one to celebrate her success. I'm the one who will tell her the truth when no one else will and the first one to support her when the going gets tough. As my grandmother used to say, we can't live with each other, but we can't live without each other. And I'm so proud (okay, and maybe a little jealous too!) that she's found her purpose and passion in life. It's much easier to continue on the path you're "supposed" to than to take a risk and take a different route, but she's a living example of what that looks like and how it feels. As I once told her, she's dancing to the beat of her own drum.

Curious to see what a life like that looks like? Here's a video of the first time I ever seen her perform. Better yet, check her out for yourself in her New York City debut as a tabla player on March 25, 2012!

On second thought, I think I have it wrong. Tabla is the purpose of her life, but it's the second purpose. She found the first one many many years ago--it was being her siblings' keeper.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRRmEBwg_eQ&w=560&h=315]

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