Motivation, a spirit of carpe diem and a joie de vivre are the words that come to your mind when you are reading ‘Sonal Mansingh-A life Like No Other’
What would you do if you found your husband in bed with another woman? The same husband who you fought the world to be with and who was once your knight in shining amour. Would you crumble and fall or rise up like a phoenix to shine bigger and brighter like the brightest star in the sky.
If you are Sonal Mansingh you create another Universe where you are the Sun.
Sonal Mansingh has constantly pushed the boundaries whether it was divorcing her first husband when in India Divorce equaled death and then choosing to keep his surname because it was more practical, as everyone just knew her by that name. Even decades later women in India are still shying away from divorce and choosing to stay in crumbling marriages so forget about keeping your husband’s surname that still sounds like a farfetched fairytale.
At each point in her life Sonal has taken the path less trodden path and faced the brickbats for her choices but she has stuck to her guns and soon those naysayers have turned fans and admirers but by the time that has happened Sonal has set off to explore new territories and create new ones.
But throughout all of it one thing that has defined Sonal is her DANCE and she has lived and breathed it.
“On August 24 1974, Sonal had a close brush with death. She was being driven back from Nuremberg to Bayreuth by Georg …In love, and heady like a teenager,Sonal was humming a peppy song, when the car’s headlight unexpectedly picked on a deer standing in the middle of the road…
Georg slammed the brakes hard, but their Volkswagen Beetle skidded on the rain-drenched road, did three somersaults, turned upside down and settled on its roof. Sonal lost consciousness as she was tossed 4 metres away from the car on the hard surface of the motorway.
It was not the pain, overwhelming as it was, that seared her. She overheard one of the doctors tell Georg that it would take several months of physiotherapy before she could walk. Returning to dance seemed improbable. For Sonal, this was like having her pause buttons permanently pushed.
It was a frozen time for her, and newspapers, magazines and radios the world over carried obituaries to her career in dance….
Sonal promised herself that no matter what it would take, she would reclaim her life. This was the beginning of the process of what she loves to call her ‘second birth’…..
A letter written to Kumkum on 22 February 1975 says it all: ‘I am dancing again! Bless my stars and bless my doctor. He is an absolute angel. It seems I have made case history and my x-rays are sent now to universities and clinics for study! I do vigorous exercises, yoga, and have begun to dance from last week……”
But after that not only did she walk but continued dancing and changing the landscape of arts and it was only befitting that she was conferred one of the highest civilian honours Padma Vibhushan, by the government.
Her never say die spirit and the large multihued canvas that she has lived her life on is reflected in the book-A life like no other. The book captures her effervescence, dedication, discipline, fearlessness and also makes you realize that she has always been a thinker ahead of her times. It got me thinking that Sonal would be a trailblazer at any point of time in history because she always came with a perspective that was not shaped by the norm of the day but was breaking, challenging the norm of the day and in the bargain paving the way for a new norm. In that sense she is timelessly eternal and will always be ahead of the curve.
That’s the thing about her life that makes you feel that you want to be a part of the exciting life that she is leading and to keep pace with her you realise you need to accomplish so much. Even though you may not have done accomplished anything at all, you get the burning desire to at least take the first step towards your dreams.
That’s also the beauty of books, when you are down and out and feel that you have been singled out for life’s miseries, a good book like this gives you a different perspective on your life and makes you think of others who have been in worse situations and have reached for the stars and in the process have become bright shining stars themselves.
Sonal Mansigh: A Life Like No Other-Published By Penguin
Till next time love and life Empresssize