Hidden somewhere in the sub conscious was this desire to learn Bharatnatyam. It would rise up to the conscious at times.. and I would wonder when it would happen. I was very sure that it will happen.

It has been an on and off relationship… me and Bharatnatyam. The story began when I was maybe 9 or 10, when I had first been enrolled for Bharatnatyam classes . Just before I was enrolled , I remember watching the movie Jhanak Jhanak Paayal Baaje on the recommendation of an acquaintance of dad’s. Also, we had watched one of his colleagues’ daughters dance… a simple and elegant folk dance. All this, so that I would get an idea about dance!

Some of the details are still etched in my mind. I went to the class accompanied by my maama who was 4 years older than me… We would take the bus…  But, I am unable to recollect anything about my teacher or about the class itself! This, however, was short lived. We shifted our home to another area, and hence could not continue going to the class.

But guess what… just a few days later, we were delighted to hear the sound of ghunghroo nearby… found out that it was from a dance class right behind our house!! So, began our second stint at learning Bharatnatyam. This time sis1 also joined me. In fact, sis2 would also come with us and observe the class. She would then go home and show all the steps we’d learnt to mom! Sadly, this phase was also short lived. We moved again. And, this time, I had to discontinue dance due to health reasons. Was unaware of this till dad told me of this recently. And, we moved again. Leaving dance, and any hopes to continue it, behind…

Somehow, dance has been with me always. I would love to move my body to the rhythm of the music. Physically or just in my mind… I’ve always enjoyed dancing. And, I had this strange resolve that I will learn it formally, at some point in my life… no matter what my age. The thought that I may not find a guru who would accept me did not occur at all…

Life went on… The desire lived on in some remote corner…

For a couple of years now, I had been on the lookout for dance classes around where I live. I was hoping that Ammu would be interested in learning. But, I did not find any. And, Ammu, though she loves to dance, she was not quite interested in joining a class. I now realize that the quest for a dance class was truly for myself and not for her! I had toyed with the idea that she would learn and I could pick it up from her. But, somewhere down the line I found myself wanting to go out and do it myself… In fact, the desire was brought to the fore and rekindled in surprising ways…

Earlier this year, I found out about this place where a lot of activities/classes happen. Though the place is located quite far from where I live, I decided to give it a try.I went there with sis2 to enquire… and found it bustling with activity. We spoke to a couple of people, one, a dance teacher, but she didnt seem to care. A couple of weeks later.. or maybe a month, we went there again. Not knowing whom to approach, we just  strolled around the campus… we saw Bharatnatyam classes going on in 2 of the rooms. But hesitated to disturb them. So, we just walked around. We heard the sound of ghungroos coming from one room. And, we went towards it.. we were literally drawn towards that sound!!

We opened the door to find one pupil dancing and a couple of others practicing by themselves. The teacher called us in. We told her that we were interested in learning Bharatnatyam and she welcomed us! She told us that the day was auspicious and we could enroll right away! After lunch 😀 We were quite speechless at the turn of events. We had lunch and went back and enrolled. Thus started my third stint with Bharatnatyam.

Our teacher is a very fine woman… someone we look up to. She understands the pulse of the students and their aspirations well. I guess I’ll have to do another post on her 🙂 Suffice to say, that we landed at the right place!! And, we’ve enjoyed our journey so far with her and the fellow students in our class.. mostly grown ups who have had a desire to learn but could not for some reason. Their stories, from whatever little I know, are amazing as well!

On Dec 23rd, it was the annual day of our dance class. We performed 3 dances!! We had not expected to even learn a complete dance within such a short period, 6 months.. let alone perform in front of an audience.. so what if it was mostly friends and family of students… 🙂 Dressed up in traditional Bharatnatyam attire and dancing on stage! It was a dream come true!! And how!!! It still is the first step though, and I’ve a long way to go…

We were of the idea that the annual day happens every year. But only on the day of our performance did we get to know that it is happening after 5 years this time! We were truly delighted and felt so blessed.

One other thing, the most important one, which made it very very special for me was my ability to actually dance! Exactly a decade ago, I was inflicted with rheumatoid arthritis. I had great trouble moving my limbs and doing even the most routine things was very painful. Especially during the winter months. So, to have recovered sufficiently and to be able to live a normal life is a miracle in itself. And, to be able to dance is truly the icing on the cake for me. There are really no words that can express my gratitude, for this ecstasy.. for the grace showered on me!!

I hope and pray that I will be able to continue on this journey for a very long time 🙂

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