Can Hindi films be teaching tools for travels through life?


It is Saturday night.  My husband is far away on a business trip to China, and we are clamoring away on the phone.  Missing him, I have two boys nestled in bed with me – my snuggable six and four-and-a-half year old sons.  We were exhausted after a full day of pee-wee soccer, a friend’s birthday party, and a BollyFit Family event at a local library and a Kindergarten soccer game, capped off with a mini-road trip to a favorite diner that features Indian street food – and yet, something was still missing.



With Daddy gone, I try to make the best of the evening.  I entice twinkling excitement in the eyes of the boys with the prospect of watching a 184-minute Hindi film together, ensuring a much later bedtime.



The kids pick the 1977 film, Amar Akhbar Anthony, one of my all-time favorites.  I watched this movie over a hundred times growing up, like a child today might watch their favorite Disney film.  As I set up the $0.99 copy picked up in an ethnic grocery store, a magical memory curves my lips into a slow smile that reaches my eyes.  I recall my two older sisters and me, dressed up as the title characters in the film – Amar (played by my middle sister), Akhbar (played by me, the youngest), and Anthony (played by my oldest sister).  Mustaches, male clothing and all, we had danced our rendition of the title song in the heart of Detroit at Hart Plaza, well before Bollywood was a household name.  The title song link is:

I find myself pausing the movie every ten minutes or so, compelled to share important life lessons with my life-blood along the way, lessons that appear so vividly in the film.  The boys soak it all in attentively as the three-hour movie drags into the fourth hour.



Many people have strong feelings about Bollywood films – they are loved for their knack for portraying a fantastical story while being upbeat and fun, yet criticized for their sometimes unrealistic depiction of reality.  No matter – my mission is to find the best lessons in the good films, weaving the magic, idealism, joy and love existing here into my own life and into BollyFit classes.



Adults and children alike have heard these lessons before, yet they are often forgotten by the wayside in the busy, stressful environment of today.  We can all use an awakener to remind us of the values that help set our lives on the right path.  How has the concept of respect, family, and money changed in the modern world, for example? My next few blogs will explore these lessons and more in context with our hectic lifestyles, making us pause as we try to apply them to our own lives and inspire the lives of our children.  Along the way, I invite you to share your own stories and experiences.


Experience the Essence


What prompts us to savor a succulent salad at suppertime instead of sugary sogginess? It is the recognition of the experience’s essence that allows us to make the best decision. The more aware we are of what happens within us before, during and after each experience, the more the awe awakens and guides us toward a particular path.


If it is wellness that we seek, it is important to recognize that this is not borrowed or given from elsewhere. Deep within, each being already has hints of health and wellness. It’s a matter of clearing space within and without for this natural state to emerge. With each awakened experience we peer through layers of smog from our surroundings. With each moment there is recognition of the inner glow, the smog sheds and paves the path for another such experience, for the healthy state of being that is already within to emanate.


Trust yourself and embrace what resonates. Most likely it is healthy. Know that being healthy is a natural state. See what happens within with a particular decision. What is the essence of the experience?


This is something I am guiding my soulful six-year-old son about quite a bit now, as he navigates his newfound ability to make his own decisions! I watch what happens within him the first time I ask him get dressed in the morning, for example. What is the experience, the consequence (yes, we use these words!) when he chooses to do something that deep within he knows is the right thing to do? And what happens when he chooses not to? We chat about: What are the possible actions? What is the consequence within himself? And the consequence without?


It’s the same concept, whether six or sixty years old. When aware and conscious in making a decision, whether about food or fitness, the self is free to be who s/he is. That awareness of what happens deep within and without is energizing and healthy. Recognition of an experience of being healthy within ripples from beyond the physical self-wellness into the world.



Invite you to consider and embrace what happens within you and without you, as you consciously experience life. And, yep, would love to hear your thoughts!