Good Indian Girl, Sort Of: Seema Shah
I currently reside in: San Francisco, CA
What your favorite hangout in San Francisco: There are too many to choose from! The mountains, the ocean, anywhere to rock climb and the dance studio are a few of my favorites.
I currently work as: A Dance Choreographer and Teacher, Strategy Consultant, and also spend much of my free time as an Outdoor Enthusiast.
I do this because I: Love learning, exploring and have a penchant for the outdoors.
What are some Indian traditions you still follow?
Well, I always take my shoes off indoors, eat an Indian meal with my right hand, and I teach dance because I absolutely love sharing this part of Indian culture.
Bollywood or Hollywood, and why? I enjoy both. And aren’t they slowly merging into one, anyway?
Favorite movie? For Hollywood, it’s The Godfather Part 1. And my favorite Bollywood movie is Devdas probably because of the amazing dance sequences.
What’s your favorite thing about Indian culture? I love how colorful and vibrant Indian culture is and how music and dance accompany every aspect of life. I love that it’s a normal part of our culture to break out into song and dance for nearly every occasion. Birthday party? Choreographed dance. Wedding? Definitely choreographed dances. And nobody thinks twice about it.
What’s one piece of advice your parents have given you that should probably be or are abiding by? It’s been over 10 years since both of my parents passed. While I don’t remember exact phrases I do reflect a lot on who they were and the qualities they possessed. Their passing taught me that life is short – enjoy it the fullest! Love without limits, laugh without hesitation and travel whenever you can. Oh, I do remember my mom calling us out on our posture. She’d yell “P” for posture or “C” for the shape of your back when we’d slouch. I’m still working on this one. But the one thing my mom always wanted as a gift was for everyone to get along and be happy. I feel like we could all use this advice.
Good Indian Girl? According to me sort of, but If you asked my extended family back in India, then no way! After my parents so worked hard to provide a better life in the US, I often get questioned why I voluntarily choose to sleep on the ground, spend days climbing mountains around the world, left a consulting job to dance and choreograph in Bollywood, travel around the world solo with a backpack, climb up rocks for fun, spend time in the freezing cold to come down a mountain on skis or spend time trying to stand on a board in the ocean and fearing come across sharks (actually that did happen).
My response, I hope they can one day escape the city lights to see a blanket full of stars at night, enjoy not only the view from the top of a peak, but the journey to get there. To follow through on a dream of doing something you love, to realize that we can live with what is on your back. And to disconnect from technology and enjoy the beauty of nature and pushing your limits learning that you can accomplish a lot more than you actually think. Oh, and they still don’t get the pooping in the woods part. I guess a lot of friends in the US didn’t get that one as well! 😉