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Mother, writer and daydreamer. Also chocoholic and chick-flick lover. But mainly mommy. To two boys, at that! When not escorting my Elder One (EO) to karate class, I'm trying to get in as many cuddles as possible from my Younger One (YO). And when not doing either, I'm hard-at-work trying to maintain a steady relationship with my laptop. And as for the Man I Married (MIM), well, let’s just put it this way – even though we share a bedroom, our most meaningful conversations are held over the cell-phone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Irresistable Pull of the Ghungroos

I wanted to be a professional Odissi dancer.

It was not some odd-ball, little girl fantasy. While other little girls wanted to be mommies, nurses, dancers and beauty queens, I would get a far-away look in my eyes and imagine myself decked-up in full Odissi-style splendour, dancing on stage before God, guru, family and friends.

There's a history there. I was learning ballet and tap in New York and having a blast learning both. When we moved to Bangalore, I remember being introduced to the gorgeously splendourful and entrancing world of Indian classical dance. While I was awed by them all, the Odissi performances captivated me the most. I felt like I was privy to the celestial dance of the apsaras and my heart was moved beyond measure.

Then and there, I decided that this was the path I was meant to follow. I sent Maa-Janoni on a wild quest to find a teacher or school for me where I could learn this art. But it was not meant to be. Bangalore was teeming with Bhartnatyam and Kathak classes, but not Odissi and I was stubborn in my refusal to learn anything else. Today, I regret my stubbornness, for had I learned either one of those dance forms, at least I would have been blessed with some form of dance in my life.

And then, the wonderful happened. Protima Gauri, my Odissi icon, opened Nrityagram. I was in the 8th grade. I wanted to leave everything and go there. I was serious. I sobbed, wailed, ranted and raved. I stopped eating for many days. Daddy Dearest was still living in New York in those days and my Maa-Janoni was at wit's end, trying to deal with me.

I never made it there. For a field trip, yes. For the yearly Vasant Habba celebrations, yes. But never as a student.

And it is the biggest regret of my life.

And Odissi still remains my life's biggest yearning.

Lately, the pull of the ghungroos and dancing beats has become too strong to ignore. I don't know whether I'm becoming pre-menopausal (I still have a couple of years to go before I hit my mid thirties, for cryig out loud!) or whether it's a mid-life crisis. But I do know this. I have to sign up for classes and learn. Even if it's for a year or six months. I know I'll never make it to the stage as a pro... I mean hey! At my age and bulk, who am I kidding?

But, I can still dance for me. And for the Gods.

15 comments:

wordjunkie said...

Hi, followed your link from the nice comment you left on my blog.
Protima Gauri was someone I really admired, and she started to learn dance when she was in her 30s too. So definitely, you should go for it.

Nice blog, and I shall be returning often to read your posts.. especially the ones about your classes..:)

pseudo intellectual said...

love the title of this post!
dance was a part of my life practically before i learnt to talk.i trained in kathak (through city/university/guru changes, et al), and completed my graduation in 2006. i love odissi too, and as a matter of fact, i started learning it in 2nd year of college. but i couldn't give time to it,n eventually had to give it up. one regret in common between us, see? :)
however, don't let age be a deterrent. if u really want to do it, go ahead! your soul will thank you for it :)
as for me, i still dance. in my room. on the terrace. sometimes even on the streets when it rains :)
you learnt tap and ballet? that's SO cool! i really really want to learn one western form of dance too. maybe post graduation (i seem to planning to do everything except study...heh)

dipali said...

Absolutely! I'll come and watch:)

shankari said...

Just do it!

Jira said...

First time here from M2's blog.
Odissi is my favourite too. Fell in love with it the first time I saw a recital- Madhavi Mudgal's! The aesthetics of the movements is just amazing!
At least I learnt Bharatnatyam for a while. So thats good :) When I decided to continue after a long gap, my classmates were all 11 year olds. So it was a bit odd! And time was a constraint too :(

But yeah, join the classes. Give it a try!

Goofy Mumma said...

Go ahead, learn, and be happy. There is no age barrier to learning, and if you stop thinking you cannot, i am sure you will give an awesome stage performance some day, so go.... learn! Happy Dancing.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support.

The search for a guru/dance school has begun...

Will keep you all posted!

Monika,Ansh said...

YOu go for it M4. There is no age for learning. :)

Mama - Mia said...

wow!! you go girl!

my respect and adniration for you keeps growing! :)

have lotsa fun!

hugs

abha

Nikita said...

Ur post has made me all nostalgic about my school days when I yearned to learn Kathak and managed it too but just for a month :-( Later on learned Salsa, that too for a month. Guess my dancing stints are jinxed.
You should really go ahead and learn Odissi, it's never too late to follow ur dreams

Anonymous said...

You know Surupa Sen, who runs Nityagram now, was a bharatnatyam dancer until 1987 (we were classmates) - when the rest of our batch went off to various colleges, she joined Nityagram, changed from Bharatnatyam to Odissi...so go for it!

Nityagram runs some city classes - maybe you could access those?

M (first comment, I think)

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Dear Monika, Namesake, Nikita and M...thank you all so much. Like I said before, I am going all out on my quest!

And welcome M! What's the name of your blog?

chandni said...

:) Do it I say!

Anonymous said...

i must have 2 when nrityagram began...i read about it when i was eight and again at 15..the thought of going there possessed me at one point...the dreams took up all my waking hours...i did everything with going to nrityagram as a goal. then plans changed, for the better...but what came out of all this is that after two years of fantasising i began learning odissi and now my career path is also being shaped by art...so im happy about the first push that thought gave me..

Anonymous said...

and do begin learning...i know fifty year olds who learn and are good at what they do :) ur not old at all...

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(The previous comment was mine..)