Many many years ago, probably around 2010-11, a friend of mine from Church suggested I start a blog. He said," I like the things you say, you should write a blog!" I never took him seriously at the time. I thought to myself, ' I don't really know anything about anything! What am I going to write about?' Even if I did figure what I wanted to say, I wasn't even close to being computer savvy enough to do anything more than open a word doc or browse Google, let alone start a website. This buddy of mine was an I.T. guy, he could've helped me, but I was in a very different place in my life back then. I had just been diagnosed with Macular Dystrophy, due to which I lost 40% vision in both my eyes and I had become registered and certified disabled. I was flooded with depression, insecurity, suicidal thoughts and more. I couldn't understand why this had to happen to me. Everything was going fine. I was supposed to go to college, study science and be someone important someday. But instead I ended up doing Fine Art, because a vocational path seem more suited for someone disabled. Took me a while to accept my fate. I started to wonder about what my true purpose on this Earth was.
The day I went Art School scouting with my mom, we ended up at Rachna Sansad College of Fine arts and Crafts in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. We met with a teacher who explained to us what the course was about and to whom my mother explained that I had just lost my vision 2 years ago. The teacher said," Don't worry Mrs. Sequeira! Your daughter will be just fine here. Mark my words, Fine art will change her life forever!" Four years in Art School and you can obviously guess what happened. It changed my life forever. Art saved me. It was the therapy I needed, since actually seeing a counsellor isn't really common in India, nor was it considered and appropriate topic to discuss. My parents never thought to send me to a counsellor to deal with suddenly being disabled. I had to find a way on my own, and painting helped me. I was able to express myself in a way that I never knew or could. Since verbal expressions of emotions wasn't accepted at my house, I found art as the only outlet to say what I wanted. I was finally free. In my world of lines, colors and shapes I would disappear everyday. A place where anything could happen. A place where I could see again, or choose not to see and explore other senses instead. I started to see the world in a whole different way. Because I couldn't see details, contours and silhouettes became my norm. I saw lines and shapes I had never seen before. It's like I suddenly had a superpower. I started to rely more on other senses, like hearing, smell, touch. I had to teach myself new tricks to move around without getting lost or getting hit by a bus! No one taught me how to survive. I had to train myself. Be my own friend and counsellor. It's hard when everything you know is flipped on its head and suddenly you have a new life.
It was in art school, the friends I made there, who helped me through some rough moments. They were the ones who introduced me to Jazz and Blues and all things good. My mind and conscience started to expand. I started hearing things I never had before. I couldn't believe the sounds coming from Chick Corea's piano! I knew someday I wanted to do something creative just like that. I had finally found a way to accept my fate and even turn it into something beautiful and meaningful. This doesn't mean that all my troubles ended ere. It just means that, this was the beginning of the rest of my life.
A soon as I graduated Art School, I enrolled in vocal lessons with a renowned Jazz Singer and Vocal Coach, Samantha Noella. Spent few years training and working with her and with one tiny step at a time and a hell lot of patience over 10 years, I finally found my way to Los Angeles to study at The Musicians Institute in September 2017. I think I am finally getting there. The place I always dreamed of but didn't know how to get there. This isn't just a physical place, butan emotional and mental one too. My journey has only just begun, and that's why i have decided to finally share my thoughts because now I have something to say. And even on days I don't have anything to say, I can be the person who listens. Everyone needs someone to talk to. Everyone likes knowing that they are not the only one in the world going through something. I am hoping that this can be a space where we build a community, share stories and find a way to a good life. Everyone deserves that.
If you have been reading till the end, I thank and appreciate you and I hope you will continue to do so in the future. Come back for more stories about life, art and music. I don't have it all figured out, but maybe we can figure it out together!