My heart gently knocked against my ribs, my feet walked on the silky sand, the wheels of the bus glided on the smooth roads of Vadodara. Amidst all the movement, I imagined myself at a standstill in the streets of Kalol at an Anganwadi.

The air was loaded with keenness and vigor as the reverberation of a Bollywood song bounced within the intricately decorated walls of the beautiful Anganwadi. My eyes met with a mystifying burst of rich colors and patterns printed on the long kurtis worn by a group of adolescent girls. The tensed nerves populating their foreheads relaxed into abundant streams of joy while they practiced dance moves with a passion to learn and explore within and beyond themselves. Drenched in sweat but eager to share, Riti expressed her passion with grace and warmth. Her eyes were brimming with profound love for dance and her words garnished with vessels of dedication. Riti was determined to express and share her talent with me when I felt our connection grow stronger. It was unlike the familiarity of the strength of wifi connection that increases in speed. Instead I discovered a bond that deepened from the external, flowery surface to the unfathomable roots of the base of my heart.

In that moment, I remembered Devendra bhai’s saying, “There should be passion in the heart. If you want success, don’t get into someone’s mind. Find space in their heart to lead you to the tunnel that exists between the heart and mind.”

Riti’s hands gracefully swam through the air and her fingers twirled in harmony with her rapidly moving thin legs. Her body declared the passion hidden in her heart along with the thoughts swirling in her mind as she tried reconciling the two. She had been teaching herself dance for a long time now and she finally had an agency to foster her talent. As she taught me, I only slightly began to understand that the love for dance that inundated her heart and mind wasn’t tethered to any competition, reward or award. But, it was a love so pure that it could be easily mistaken for magic.

I learnt the power of undying emotion and passion from her. My heart sensed her ability to profoundly understand the meaning of “free.” Her head rose and dove steadily as if she were an angelic swan; the expressions complimenting her already sharp features reminded me of the fleeting sunset—glowing exhaustively yet irreversibly intense.

Riti didn’t crave for ownership of her passion because she grasped the power of letting go. She revealed the art of freedom as a way to understand the essence of transition between the heart and mind. The tunnel that exists between the two may be understood as a permanent transitory abode for passion. Passion may develop in the heart and grow in the mind but it needs the tunnel to breathe. Often, possession is given so much importance that protection is forgotten. Protection may seem like a result of possession, however, possession can easily lead to suffocation. Riti understood the power of letting go instead of tying down because unleashing doesn’t mean abandoning. It is appreciating the spirit of sharing with others to allow our passions to grow and prosper. It is to understand the power of transition.