“I think it’s ok to be unsure of your identity and what you want from life because we’re given such a specific image of success from a young age. Our identities are defined in terms of what we wear, our talents, education and interests; not our character or the way we treat people. We’re obsessed with the image we put out into the world because it’s the only attempt at controlling how others understand you, but one of the lessons I’ve learnt over the last couple of years is that certain things will always be out of your control, and the only thing worth putting any energy into is learning how to grow from your own experiences, instead of getting caught up with everyone else’s definition of stability. This isn’t to say that success is not achievable, but it means different things for different people. For me, success is about loving my life, learning from the bad days and appreciating the good days.
Whenever people asked me “what are you passionate about?” I’d always give an answer they would want to hear like ‘my culture’ or ‘music’ but at the root of it, they’re just parts of a whole. I’m passionate about loving my life. This one of the reasons why me and my brother started caesarmusic. Music, being one of many things, has brought me closer to people, has helped me come to terms with difficult situations and has shown me that I’ve got so much more to learn from life.”
“My brother and I weren’t born in the UK; my parents had to constantly move between countries to try and build a life for us, eventually settling in London. Not only did they experience a Civil War, but they migrated to a completely foreign country, leaving most of their own families behind and starting a fresh where Tamil was not their first language.
Whilst growing up, I would say I was completely oblivious to what mum and dad went through in order to let me have the freedoms and opportunities I have today. Only when visiting Sri Lanka did I realise how different things were and are back home. Seeing the contrast led me to appreciate the setbacks my parents went through just to make sure that we did not have to go through the same struggles as them.
“This is actually one of my mum’s sarees. I’ve always wanted to wear one of hers because growing up I helped my mum drape her saree for numerous occasions. It was always the same routine: pin it to the back of her blouse, flatten her pleats down the front with my hands, and stand back once it was all done and make sure she looked perfect. And she did. She would wear the simplest of sarees and look stunning.
“Well basically, I’m finding my course hard and at times I’m like should I just drop out? For my maths module, I have a lecturer who chooses a ‘Physicist of the week’. He puts up a picture of the famous person on the screen (who was born or died that day of the week) and tells the class a little anecdote about the mathematician/ scientist. One Friday afternoon when I was feeling particularly ready to give up, he slid up a picture of Subramanium Chandresekhar on the screen and it was as if the picture was looking straight at me.
Chandresekhar was a famous astrophysicist who is credited to discovering the Chandrasekhar limit and even has one of the 4 Great Observatories named after him – the Chandra X-Ray Observatory satellite.