After 1997, I have no idea why, but there are so many changes that occurred in my life. The nature of being happy, cheerful, with a bird like heart, I know everything, I can do anything, I will not make any mistake, I can do everything and I shall be successful kind of attitude started doing down a bit. There were successes but a few small instances; a few hurdles have shaken the roots of the tree. So the self-confidence was hit and so the heart would melt with feeling and emotion for everything and started questioning every small work that is being started.
After about 15-16 years of this struggle, one day I happened to see on facebook a small Event that changed this lack of interest, concern or enthusiasm winning my heart. It is the Winter Arts Intensive at Chinmaya Naada Bindu which was conducted 15-21st December in 2013. Such instances can be indicative of what can happen in one week to get peace-of-mind, independency bringing the active, cheerful and jovial life sometimes!!
Last June my daughter completed her studies and returned home. Her efforts to fine finish the art of dance, surprisingly shaken the roots and loosened the soil completely. At that time she wished to go for the “Monsoon session at CNB”, however got other works and could not. We had conducted a “Bhagvadgita parayana”programme, which gave some soothing effect. Then she registered for the “Winter Arts Intensive”. My husband encouraged me also to apply and said you will also have some change. I did not have five days leave at office, they would cut the salary. Then, all the more I felt I must go. In this life whatever we do, what all we do need not be seen for money alone, we must do for ourselves, our happiness and cheerfulness we must give some time, I felt.
There I am, I registered at WAI, CNB. Both of us reached one day earlier, as was instructed. We reached our niece’s house, had lunch, seen around and their family drove us to Kolwan. The atmosphere itself attracted us, the hill ranges, the mud hills, the exultated atmosphere in the moon-lit night, we enjoyed.
We sent them back and reached for dinner where we met ramaakka. There itself she gave us ‘homework’. She gave us a Ganesh stuti and asked each one of us to choreograph a line and reassemble at 6 am sharp. Till late night we saw to that practice, slept, got up early, took bath with the hot water and ran out into the cold weather. Walked for almost 2 km to a Ganesh temple nearby, we all prayed, and did the dance that we all choreographed, all ten of us a line each while she put nattuvangam and sang the song for us. I got over all my doubts, I almost performed what all I prepared to present. In the temple premise, she taught us the steps, pranayama etc. She also explained why a tortoise is kept in the middle of the temple hall. The animal protects itself from the external world and lives a spiritual life, it is in itself crumpled up as if meditating. It also focuses its gaze on its eggs, thus it is said we all also must focus on God in a temple to gain strength from Him.
Later we attended Pramodini Rao and Himanshu Nanda class on Dhyana. Went to our class to do ádavu’s and divided into two groups of five each for practice. We were taught a Siva panchakshari stuti while of the student’s was playing harmonica and were taught the way to choreograph each line separately to bring out the meaning thoroughtly. The entire ‘nava rasas’were brought into and the entire composition was a great lesson.
Next day we went to Pramodini akka’s class where she taught us to do ÓM Kara’saadhana. We all did it individually. The diffidence and hesitation left us and some kind of an energy flow was into us, removing all the cold, cough etc from our bodies. It was more like ‘pranayama’kriya. Another day when we went to her class she has made us do the Öm Kara’with “sa rig a ma …’swaras drawing them in some graphical notations…………. It was extremely a fun and wonderful….. forming a great health healer.
‘sa rig a ma……..’means it reminds me, ramakka one day described her article named ‘swarabhisvaram’ in which she described each of the swara in light of dance – the natya shastra. She taught us hastas, mudras, nava rasas, ashta vidha nayakas and nayikas, bhaavas – the stayi, vivhava and anubhavas,..etc. She taught so many more things regarding dance theory related to practice. She showed as several videos too. Especially the one performed by Ramaa Vaidyanathan – feeding little Krishna while telling Sri Rama story was very enthralling. She also took a demo class on ‘rhythm’for vocal and flute students. She gave several jaati, taala, laya, gati differences and explained very simply.
Since she has kept the workshop in abhinaya and improvisation, she chose a nice ‘padam’- maalai pulozhanile orunaal’ a Tamil song. She taught us with such cleverness that until the end we all did not know the suspense. She chose it also very cleverly such that students in her class aged between 20 and 50 and a boy too could learn, perform and own it by themselves. I had wanted to learn a padam and learnt it, but somehow could not present it fully as probably it was in Tamil. I took a little longer time for practice and am able to do it now. She chose three students for final performance.
Ramakka choreographed the item for us with a lot of discipline, cleverness and skill. Each word she wrote, explained the meaning in English and danced to show subtle differences in abhinaya. She taught in how many ways it can be danced. Every dancer could own for herself/himself. So, all ten people in the class performed it in ten different ways suitable for the person, as if it was choreographed for them individually.
This way WAI made an impact in my heart, made me cheerful, exuberant and happy. I may start the “Sri Gnana Sundari sangeeta nritya academy”, which my mother started and not continued. Whether I do that or not, the earlier lost cheerfulness has come back and I am happy. I would like to thank ramakka for that and give her good wishes.