“You were very good on stage” I told her. ”Thank you” she said smiling. It was not that ‘Oh really? Was I really good?’ types thank you. It was more of a ‘Yeah I know that, thanks anyways’ types thank you. I would have considered that rude and boastful had it been somebody else. But I expected it and I liked it.
Chennai, unlike Kolkatta doesn’t don the festive look with the lights and music and dance during Navrathri. But having lived in Chennai for like 22 years I knew where the ‘crowd of the season’ was. If there is a place in Chennai where I hang out most of the time, it is the Mylapore kapaleeshwarar temple. For reasons I don’t know and I can’t understand, I feel at home there. The drive to that place, the shops outside the temple, the little pond right in front of the temple, the very famous karpagambal mess.. mmmm.. brilliant place it is. I mostly would try to visit the place in the mornings .In the evenings, it is a little crowded. It is not just the crowd that im scraed of, it is these kids bullying me when waiting in the queue,the constant crying, nagging and on top of that they even start hitting me!.. brats! urrghhh hate the fact that all I can do is turn back, look at the mommy and smile. For a change, on the third day of navrathri I volunteered myself to get ragged by the kids. I parked my bike among hundred others.
The darshan was over in half an hour. I was strolling around the temple when I saw some bharatnatyam dancers. The make up was overdone but I knew it would look great under the lights. The performance had not started, so I went for another round. It is quite a huge temple but only today did I realize that one end of the temple is totally sound proofed from the other. When I came to that same place in the second round, the performance had already begun and I missed one event(not that i care)
There was huge crowd of music and dance lovers around the stage. The perfect crowd for what I assumed would be a boring performance. The lights were turned on. The flute music was floating in the air and everybody’s eyes were glued to the stage. From where I stood I could only see one girl. She was brilliant.(If you were wondering how the hell I would know about Bharatnatyam, well I was a dancer for 9 years). I stood transfixed. She had perfect abhinayam (that’s expressions in tamil). Her eyes oblivated the need of the carnatic music played. I could see the expressions changing so fast and neat. With the dress well chosen ( there is no dress as appealing as a saree , it beats all the fashionable clothes in the market), few jewels and a four rowed salangai (that’s the dance anklet for you) she looked nothing less than a goddess. Bharatnatyam has that class.Unlike tango or ballet, in Bharatnatyam even the most erotic emotions are expressed with grace.The next was a fusion of Bharatnatyam and folk. The song was too good. The same girl was there in this one too(must be a star dancer or something :) ) . I watched the performance with awe. At the end of it I went up to her.
“You were very good on stage” I told her.”Thank you” she said smiling. It was not that ‘Oh really? Was I really good?’ types thank you. It was more of a ‘Yeah I know that, thanks anyways’ types thank you. I would have considered that rude and boastful had it been somebody else. But I expected it and I liked it.
Dancers have that inherent pride. It is more a respect for oneself, an expression of confidence and is rightly mixed with humility. I did not feel offended by that 'Thank you'. Instead it brought back my memories when I used to enjoy my dance classes.From personal experience i found that dancing improved memory and made one active and even built stamina. My guru was sweet to me for obvious reasons(ahem ahem :) ).When it was the right time to get my Arengtram done( which by the way was delayed for 3 years) , I had already entered tenth std.My dad said this is the only turning point in your life( well.. I heard it again in 12th ,once before councelling, before first sem exam and even last year when I joined TCS.. I don’t blame dad.. what did he know abt the curves and bends in my life!) and you need to concentrate in studies. There ended my dancing career. My guru said she missed me. It cant be more than how much I missed the classes. Today standing there looking at the girl, I felt had I convinced my dad that I could manage both school and dance classes, I would still be standing there appreciating that girl… but without feeling guilty!
When you grow old, people say you repent not doing few things in life. I already have an item in the list.