It’s a long way from the coveted realm of Google to the dance arena. But Surabhi Jain made the move gracefully and wishes she had done it earlier.
The dream job, or so it seemed
Fresh out of IIT Delhi in 2009, Surabhi Jain was all set for the corporate life. Through campus placements she joined Morgan Stanley in Mumbai and moved to Google in March 2011. “The time at Google was about a high salary, working with the top engineers and product managers of the country and working on cutting edge technology. It offers some of the best perks of corporate life like free food, luxurious office and a very fun environment,” she says. But for this young woman that would not be enough.
Dancing for happiness
Surabhi had always been dancing. “I was also aware that it was more than a hobby,” she says. She was also certain that life was not to be spent inside an AC room in front of a computer. “There is much more to it and I would like to explore, discover and experience different aspects of life, meet different kinds of people, find myself and my purpose,” she says with a conviction that belies her youthfulness. Surabhi started learning contemporary dance at RDA in UK (while still working at Google) and realized that there was a strong connection and it gave her an uplifting, wholesome feeling. “I finally decided to quit my job and pursue it full-time,” she says.
From tech to finding rhythm
When Surabhi started working in 2009 in Mumbai she was also doing part-time theatre with DTCA. When she moved to Google Bangalore, she took her love of dancing with her and started learning Jazz at Swingers. Google UK was next and she set about mastering contemporary dance at RDA. “So I was always engaged with dance and art,” she explains. “I was just waiting for an impulse which would convince me that the thoughts about not spending my entire life in a cubicle are actually strong and I need to take a step. The first few weeks of contemporary dance training at RDA did that for me. I was convinced that this is what I want to do. It was easy after that. I found Attakkalari in India to be a good place to begin my next journey. My partner was also looking to move back to India. So we both resigned from our jobs and moved to Bangalore.” She remembers that the rigorous routines were exhausting and financially, too, there were compromises to be made. “But real strength comes from the mind and willpower,” says Surabhi. And that saw her through.
Looking at life differently
Chasing her passion feels awesome for Surabhi. “Art, not just dancing, has made me so much more connected with myself and changed how I perceive life Attakkalari provided a very strong foundation. Then, I won a scholarship to pursue a 1 year programme at Trinity Laban in UK and here I am experiencing the most thrilling time of my life - learning, improvising, creating and teaching dance and also living a student life again on a tight budget! The thrill is to follow your heart and keep going without having a clear destination and just hope that all is going to work out well eventually. So, no regrets at all about quitting the corporate life? “Only that I should have done it earlier,” says this dancer who’s found the rhythm of life.
She sums it all up in a poem…
I had a dream locked in the closet of my heart
Knocking and checking time and again
Can you hear me yet?
Well I could hear you, I could discern your voice
But was busy proving myself to life
Well, whatever that means.
One day I opened the closet, yes it took some strength
We were smiling but judging each other
I knew you are here to stay, not going anywhere you creep!
In our Q & A you won, and so charmingly
As I could not answer
What else is life about if not following me?
Don't stifle me you said
The fun is in being free, getting lost
In accumulating experiences, not material
What to do
I had to give in
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