I see the ‘Pandemic as a Portal'. It's about using your skills to thrive rather than just survive.

I am originally from India and have spent majority of my life living between New Delhi and Dubai. I was introduced to my husband in 2006 by our common friends whilst we were both working in Dubai. We hit it off quite instantly and had a fairly short courtship. We married in 2007 and our eldest son was born in 2012. Having a child was a planned decision as we both had demanding careers at the time but felt ready to enter a more meaningful phase of our marriage and raise a family together. I was fortunate to have smooth pregnancies both times around. Motherhood has been a hugely gratifying and humbling experience for me. I am on a constant learning curve and my children have taught me so much.

I have spent much of my adult life as an Expat living in the Middle East (Dubai and Oman). While life as an Expat is spent usually on the move and constantly in the face of change and transition, it offers a lot of novelty and so many wonderful learning opportunities which I thoroughly enjoy. My husband’s company offered him a work assignment in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 2018, where we still live today.

I specialize in Drama and Theatre Education and teach at a few International Schools in Amsterdam. I usually work 3 times a week to balance my responsibilities between work and home. I enjoy the flexibility of my work and value being a hands-on parent.

My partner and I believe in an equal partnership and sharing responsibilities for our family, including our two sons who are 8 and 5 years old. We balance things by creating a clear ownership of tasks at home making sure neither one of us feels overwhelmed. In the past, we have been fortunate to enjoy childcare support but don’t shy away from rolling up our sleeves when we need to. We recognize now more than ever how much we need each other to get through this challenging phase, meaning a greater need for interdependence, mutual respect and lots of patience too.

With the closure of schools in mid-March, both work and home were immediately impacted for me. Home schooling children, managing the daily household tasks and an interrupted teaching schedule created its own set of demands. I believe uncertainty often presents us with new opportunities.

I realized much earlier on during this period that I would need to rely on established routines and introduce more creativity and ingenuity to achieve my goals. I have learnt to see the ‘Pandemic as a Portal' and this thinking inspired me to set up my own business; a virtual drama education platform called Theatre4Kids to continue teaching existing students within Amsterdam and reach out to many more in other countries too. I now run virtual drama classes for students both in Amsterdam and India.

During the Corona Crisis I have been busier than usual. I have had to manage my days and hours much more efficiently. Home schooling means that there is less time for me to plan my own work, so I have to pull in long hours after dark. Everything takes longer to accomplish and much of the day revolves around catering to the children with little ‘me-time’ but I understand this is temporary. Keeping my children motivated with their home schooling and the general pressures on my time have proved to be the most difficult aspect for me.

Once the crisis hit, the situation necessitated innovation and the need to embrace technology to in order to continue my work and passion. Staying positive and keeping my creative self-going has helped me cope during this uncertain phase. I genuinely believe that this time I have spent being correctly focused could be a possible catalyst for the rest of my creative career. I have launched online drama lessons under the brand Theatre4Kids to continue reaching existing and new students.

Finding ways to thrive and not just survive by keeping my creative self-growing has been absolutely therapeutic. Quarantine life has been the most successful balancing act ever; starting a new business whilst attending fully to my family’s needs in a challenging time is something, I am very proud to have achieved.

You can learn more about Natasha's initiative Theatre4Kids on her social media accounts:

Instagram @Theatre4Kids

Facebook @kidsoftheatre

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