A passing side character in someone else’s life

Hello everyone 🙂

This is also not a travel blog post, sorrrry. But those of you that read my most recent post, learned that I just started volunteering at the Strathmore Music Center. I’d been going to the Strathmore for years as a kid – for festivals, for outdoor movies, and for music performances. In fact, I am so in love with the Strathmore that I would happily have every important event the rest of my life in a Strathmore affiliated location — music center for my wedding, pavilion for my next huge work accomplishment, mansion for a momentous birthday party — needless to say, I love Strathmore. This isn’t even a paid partnership, I just genuinely love the Strathmore. Anyway, so point is, I started volunteering for the shows, which I love.

So today I volunteered at the National Philharmonic Orchestra’s Broadway’s Brightest Lights Show, and omg it was incredible. This is actually the second Nat Phil show I’ve worked in the last few weeks, and it’s really such an honor to be able to help the patrons of these shows and to listen/watch for free! I’ll admit, that I am not as caught up on Broadway music as a few of my friends are, like yes I know Wicked, and I can tell you all the words to the songs in Hamilton, but other than that, if it’s not Aladdin or Lion King, then I have no idea what’s going on. I know. I’m so uncultural and low brow. But I do appreciate beautiful music and good singing.

(Minor sidenote: Speaking of Aladdin, Michael Maliakel performed several songs yesterday, and the only song I was thinking of while he was singing was “A Whole New World” because damn. And maybe it’s because I’m reading Island of Missing Trees and about forbidden loves, but it felt approrpriate that I was the lil usher with silly lil usher problems and he was the BIG STAR. Obviously our love wouldn’t work for many reasons: 1) it was a one-sided crush at best hahaha, 2) he has a beautiful family and just welcomed a little daughter into the world, and 3) the excitement of the prospect is what really had me going and not the actual possibility of ever talking to this man or meeting him. But I did talk to Katie, one of the managers of Nat Phil, at Strathmore, and she suggested, “Maybe he has a brother” and like I jokingly told my friend Lianna on the phone, “SIGH, if I can’t marry Aladdin, I guess his brother is good enough.” But there it was, my short lived love. Of course today, he responded to my instagram story of the program and said “Thanks for coming!” so the crush is a little back, but again, see reasons 1-3!)

So as an usher, your call time is 1.5 hours before the show. Sometimes these 1.5 hours go by really quickly, and other times, not so much. This Nat Phil concert was only my third show. So, I was stationed at a new location. The first time I was on the promenade (don’t you just love the word promenade, it feels so classy!), the second time I was on the orchestra level, and yesterday I was in the left orchestra boxes, so Box 1 and 3. Now, the left orchestra boxes have 18 seats total, so it’s very lowkey work to be honest. It was even more lowkey yesterday because we were swimming with ushers and there were only 500 patrons. To put into context, if divided evenly, each usher would only have to be responsible for 12.5 people, so think of it as 12 people and a child. So, my job was slow. Luckily, I brought this book with me — for once it wasn’t Lessons in Chemistry, though it is my security blanket book.

But I was paired with a lovely usher, Judith. While we were sitting and waiting, she asked what I do, and I said, “Oh I’m a lawyer!” and she said, “I used to be a lawyer!” and then proceeded to tell me her entire life story. She told me about her career changes, her family drama, her divorces, her volunteer work, how she went to law school part time, how she hated being a lawyer, and how she finally found happiness being an occupational therapist. It was a fascinating story. I sat for 75 minutes and listened to a woman 3x the age I am, tell me about her journey to happiness. And if any of you read my post from Thursday, you know that being on a journey to happiness is really important to me.

It’s amazing that Judith is telling me, a fellow usher she’s known for all of 30 seconds and knows nothing about besides the fact that I enjoy wearing blue eyeliner, have a big smile, and am a lawyer, about her entire life story. It’s amazing because even I felt like I became entranced in her story and someday she’ll tell the story of that usher Sandhya who intently listened to her share about the most vulnerable parts of her life.

Imagine that. That if everyone you came across, you started talking about your fears, your mistakes, your regrets, and your vulnerabilities, and I’m just a little side character in her life (and a side character in Michael Maliakel’s life hahaha).

It’s just really humbling to think of yourself as both the main character of your life, but also the side character in so many others’. I talked a lot about who I am and all the “imperfect messes” that we are, but I tend to romanticize a lot of things in life. I think the key is not to take yourself too seriously and romanticize everything.

Hopefully I’m a supportive side character in my friends and family’s stories, and hopefully for people like Judith, I’m someone that she felt she could confide in and was happy to have the company with while we were waiting for the show to start, and all of 6 patrons that came down our hallway. I’m also a side character in the day of Strathmore — a music hall that hosts so many shows and performances, and I am just a passerby, quietly entering and enjoying its beauty. Then when I leave, I continue my life, but the music continues to echo in those beautiful halls.

On the way home from Strathmore, I called my friends Lianna and Jack because I wanted some company while driving, and I too felt like a reoccurring side character in their lives – like the permanent third wheel who won’t leave their marriage alone 😉 (just kidding! … hopefully!)

I think as a challenge to myself this week, I’m going to think of myself as a side character in everyone else’s life — a team player at work, a supportive friend, a helpful daughter, and an all-around net-positive person. I think this reframe will help with the perspective too! And to all of you, to which I am also a side character in your lives, I wish you all a well, humbling, and safe Saturday and rest of your weekend! (fingers crossed I write a travel post soon)

Until next time,



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2 Comments Add yours

  1. You’re in love with Aladdin!? AGAIN? I’m SHOCKED.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sandhya says:

      LOLOLOL never stopped:)


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