From seed to tree and still growing

By Magline Rufina
Chennai: 17-02-2020 9:56PM
Last Updated: 17-02-2020 9:56PM

I was about 12 years of age when I met my dance teacher on a bright tropical summer morning. She was then like any other teacher of my school, and I was like any other student waiting to learn something new from this guru my mother had identified after a careful scrutiny process.

I don’t quite recall my first brush with art, given my penchant for singing along with my aunt whose only leisure activity apart from home-management was singing. Not to mention my role in all cultural activities in school. However, that summer morning introduced me not just to one of India’s oldest classical dance forms but to the beginning of a new feeling! A feeling of the art of dancing growing in me – to this day. Just that in the initial years I did not realize the seeds to its growth were sown deep within…

Thereafter, it was years of training for Bharatanatyam under this guru. But thanks to the grind of higher education and corporate struggles, the art form was never given an opportunity to manifest itself. Though the inherent growth ensured that I enjoyed Bhavam in the leaves brushing against each other in a gentle breeze, relished Ragam in the gush of water in mountain streams and noticed Talam every time the rain beat on the patient plains.

Until recently, the resurgence happened – it was as if the seeds of dance outgrew myself! And there I was in pursuit of finding an avenue to feed this growing tree within. Thanks to the country we are born in, anyone who seeks art with a sincere heart does not have to look long nor far. But I did look far to find the right fodder to my growing hunger – ahoy and find did I!

This time, it was a winter evening when I first met my to-be Odissi guru and she was in the middle of a training session – what an artiste! Do you call it an exhilaration or deja-vu, I did not know, because language cannot explain the moment of feeling when it comes back to you again after years of longing and yearning within. Remember – the feeling of the art of dancing growing…?

Yes, my journey with Odissi has begun. From the fire form of Bharatanatyam to the water form of Odissi - it is indeed a big leap. That’s what the balance is all about.

Have geared myself up for this journey. But for that one promise, that I would not ignore the inherent art in corporal pursuits. Maybe, the Supreme One bids that I sign it off in a forum of great people of art.

(This article was first published in 2008)