I've just come back from a Bharathanatyam performance . Nothing remarkable really about that - except that it was by two youngish girls who are married and mothers to school going children and belong to an extremely conservative community. As people said, kudos to their families to let them learn after marriage and travel to Coonoor for 4 years to do that.
I hadnt taken my camera or I could have posted a pic of these two pretty young girls; which is half the battle it seems in Bharanatyam. The looks, the jewellery, the technical perfection, the strong voice of the singer , the smiles on their faces (even if they are called rictus grins it is nice to look at a smiling face) all made it a wonderful performance. Their guru being from Kalakshetra the dance was so good to watch - not the filmy kind at all.
I then realized it has been years since Ive seen a live performance - it seems such a treat so why doesn't it happen more often? One is Ooty is rather a cultural desert - and the second, i dont make an effort to go in other towns .
This evening just happened. My friend called about this performance. I didnt know the family at all but what the heck, all performers need as big an audience as they can get. And after two weeks of being mostly housebound I needed a break. And it was wonderful meeting friends and enjoying what Ms.Geetha Srinvisan termed 'a technically excellent performance'. She was moved to talk about her 'athai 'Rukmini Arundale too. And her regrets over not being allowed to learn this 'devdasi' art form long ago.
I had to feel a bit regretful because I was 'forced' to learn for many many years and never enjoyed it at all. While my elder sister looked forward to the classes, I would go hide when the master appeared and had to be dragged out. Naturally no results.
But I did think happily that a few effects had lingered on when last week a used-car salesman asked me 'Madam are you a Bharathanatyam dancer?" Pleased, I had to say blushingly 'No, no what makes you say so'. Darshini cut short my beams by saying 'Ma, can't you make out he is trying to sell you a lemon'?
Well, I guess we need both - the salesmen to make us temporarily happy and kids to bring us down to earth.
And lovely Bharathanatyam dancers for the occasional high.