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I am not a very classical person. I am quite catholic in my views - Priya Murle
Priya Murle, a senior disciple of Padmashri Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy, has been training at Shree Bharatalaya, a premier institution of fine arts in Chennai, for over 30 years. Intense training and commitment to the art form have marked Smt. Priya's career in Bharatanatyam.

Hailing from a family with a deep interest in the arts, Priya has a multi-dimensional approach to dance. A performer, a choreographer and a teacher, she also has a keen interest in music, nattuvangam and Sanskrit. She has done research in the field of aesthetics and has worked on the rasa theory as a part of her M.Phil dissertation. She has also contributed articles on dance to many art magazines and portals. She has also worked for the research and documentation centre of Sruti Foundation that brings out Sruti, a premier magazine of music and dance. A versatile dancer, she performs both solo and group presentations. Priya Murle has traveled extensively to countries such as Spain, Russia, the United States, Canada, Switzerland et al to give performances, hold lecture-cum-demonstrations and organize dance workshops. She has assisted her guru in training students of The Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. Priya Murle also conducts Bharatanatyam recitals and is known for her powerful rendering of the jathis.

A graded artiste of the Doordarshan, Priya has several awards and titles to her credit. She was awarded the senior scholarship for dance by the Department of Culture, Government of India. She received the prestigious Yuva Kala Bharathi title in 1991 from Bharath Kalachar and the title of Bharatha Kala Bhushana in 1995 from Shree Bharatlaya. She was conferred the title Nritya Vidya Ratna by Sarasalaya in 1999 and the title Nadanamamani by Sri Kartik Fine Arts in 2002. Priya Murle is an empanelled artiste of The Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Government of India. She also got the Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale endowment Award for best dancer from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in 2006.

Madhana Raghavan. N catches up with her at her favourite hang out, Coffee World in Alwarpet, after a tiring and yet an interesting workshop. She patiently answers to questions on her family, dance and more. And at the end of the interview, she sends a surprise gift for the readers of Carnatic Darbar.

When did you start dancing? How did it happen?
My mother had learnt dance in Bombay while she was young, during the `50s. She didn't dance after she got married. She wanted two sons, for some reason, and a daughter. And, she wanted the daughter to dance. She got two sons and a daughter, which happened to be me. So, I was just put into dancing without any second thought while I was five. I first started learning dance from a person by name Natraj, who used to stay next door. But later we realized the need for a better guru. Dr. Padma Subhramanyam was our family friend. But considering the fact that I had to travel a long distance, I didn't join her. My father had seen Sudha aunty performing and one of our close friends was already learning from her. So I joined her and that was how it started.

How long have you been at Shree Bharathalaya (Prof. Sudharani's dance school)? Why didn't you think of starting a separate school of yours?
It has been almost 39 years since I joined Shree Bharathalaya. I still remember dancing for the 2nd year anniversary function of Shree Bharathalaya. First of all, I have to thank my mom and dad. In my family, music and dance are an integral part. While my brothers have learnt music, I have gone for dance. Whatever we did, we had to do with focus. Classes were held thrice a week then. There was no question of bunking dance class for an outing with friends or for a birthday party. The thought never arouse in our minds. I would tell my friends that I wouldn't come because I had to attend dance classes. As I got into my teens also, I never bunked classes at college. I needed 75% attendance in college. So, I would never go to Mardi Gras or a movie (like other friends) because I needed all the attendance I could possibly have. We always went to class on time. That kind of a focus was instilled in me and my brothers from the beginning by my parents and that helped us in a big way.

The ambience, in general, and the teacher, in particular (Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy), at Shree Bharathalaya interested us a lot. The Sudha aunty then was very different from the Sudha aunty now. She used to be very strict then. We had Nagarajan master who took us through the adavu classes. And when Sudha aunty came to see us dance, our hands and legs would start shivering. What was taught by her the previous day had to be danced by us the following day. It used to be very challenging and required a lot of homework. At the same time, there was this woman who instilled in us a lot of respect for her and we loved her a lot. She never went out alone. She has taken us out with her to watch a number of performances. If Sudha aunty called us to a dance performance, our day was made. The sheer thought of going with her made us feel excited. She would give us only ten minutes to get ready and in that time we had to get dressed beautifully, we had to smell well and look good. If I am whatever I am today, it is because of Sudha aunty.

We also had a Sanskrit sir and a music master (Madurai Srinivasan sir) in class. In addition to this, Sudha aunty would also be taking classes for us. So, we were taught all the things necessary for dance. Our Sanskrit teacher, Thangaswami Sharma sir, was a President's gold medal winner. He would come down to our level and make us comfortable. It was a holistic approach. Sudha aunty also laid emphasis on academics! So, most of us are either post-graduates or PhDs.

Many people ask me why I am stuck here for these many years. Even Sudha aunty has asked me to start my class. But the opportunities for that never arouse. Also, here I enjoy a certain level of comfort and I don't prefer to move from here and change that level radically. I don't think I have lost anything staying here. I am as good or as bad as my other colleagues who have left my class. I always have the institutional backing and that has been a plus point. Moreover, I am married and settled here in Chennai. My dance school is like a second home to me. So it is basically the ambience and the guru that have made me stay here for this long. Of course there are times when we have misunderstandings and arguments. But all these are common in a family. The basic love is always there. That is precisely why I have been there for thirty nine years.

From Priya Mahadevan to Priya Murle - What effect did the transition have on your dance career?
I got married quite late while I was 28. By then, I had finished my M.Phil. I had this `academic luck' - I used to get marks without studying. I lost my father early. I wanted to do my P.hD, which was one way of actually getting away from marriage. But my mother saw through my game. My condition for marriage was that the guy should be here in Chennai and it somehow worked for me.

I didn't know my husband prior to marriage. It was an arranged marriage. When I asked him if he would let me dance after marriage, he said "I am just entering into your life. Why are you asking me permission for something that you've been doing so long?" You do not know much about a person when you are meeting him the first time and talking to him and we base the rest of our entire life on our understanding of that person during that one hour. This particular answer gave me an insight into him and was the main reason why I married him. My husband till date has never said a 'no' to anything related to my dance career. I truly consider his support as a blessing. It might be a simple thing like buying a piece of jewellery or a costume for a programme. He might budget something else but never my dance. He is such a complete support.

My mother-in-law, who passed away, was so thrilled about the fact that I was a dancer; thrilled beyond words. She used to invite all her cousins to my performances. Not just that, she used to cook food and bring for all of them. She would then proudly tell them "Look. how beautifully my maattuponnu is dancing!" Even my sisters-in-law are now very proud that I am a dancer. Support from the family in which I was born has always been there, but if my husband had told a no, I couldn't have continued. Even though things happened late in my life like my husband, son, etc., by the grace and blessings of my spiritual guru Vidwan Madurai.N.Krishnan (who is also a great musician), I've got the best.

Dancing is not like a nine-to-five job. I leave to classes exactly when my son returns from school. When there is a major production coming up, we are in the school even on Saturdays and Sundays. At times like these, there are small problems. But as long as I balance my family and dance properly, there is absolutely no problem.

Since you perform both in groups and in solos quite regularly, I would like to know your views on a dancer's approach towards a group performance and that towards a solo performance.

There are positives and negatives in both group and solo performances. In solo performances, you are the only one and, hence, you have to give your maximum. In a solo performance, it is easy to cover-up a mistake that you do. In group performances, it becomes difficult because there are others doing the right thing. You need to look really confident to make the audience think that the others are wrong. Why I like to work in a group also is because in a group, especially when the dancers are from other schools, there is a healthy competition which helps to improve my dance and my confidence level. I get to know how much I know with respect to another artiste. I want to improve the aspects in which I lack and fill up the lacuna. There are so many energies with you in a group while in a solo you are left all alone. I feel that they both complement each other. Your solo experience helps in a group performance and your group experience helps in a solo performance. I enjoy working both in a group and as a solo artiste.

Can you tell us about the group that you have been a part of for almost seven years?
We four (Srikanth, Roja Kannan, Lavanya Ananth and me) were selected by Natyarangam to work together on Bharathiyar's works. I only knew these four people as artistes. But that group clicked really well. Now Lavanya is not with us because she wanted to concentrate on her solo performances. Now Ashwathy Srikanth has replaced Lavanya, but she isn't new to us because she is Srikanth's wife. I personally believe in destiny and divine grace and I think it is that which brought us together. We did our maiden performance at Bharathiyar Illam in 2002. No other group has worked as well as ours. We have a tacit understanding between us. Roja is the one who takes care of fixing up programmes, arranging the orchestra, administrative jobs, writing letters, etc. I also write letters wherever I have to. But it is Roja Kannan, who is the leader of the group. She has taken up a lot of responsibilities. When it comes to talking about dance, introducing dancers and talking about our production, it is me. The Srikanths contribute a lot towards choreography. We have such a division of labour, but it is very loose and not strict. When we meet, our egos are not there. We have never discussed the differences in our paanis. Each of us dances in our own style and paani and it has gelled. We have not done things that are radically different. Roja and I enjoy doing Srikanth's movements and karnas. When we don't get certain movements properly, Srikanth makes fun of us. We take it easily and laugh also! Though Lavanya is much younger to us, we had something to learn from her, too. Her focus and aramandi are some things that really impressed us.

I have worked in many groups outside my school and there are people who don't gel well in groups. Only some of those have clicked. Once someone strikes a discordant note, you don't want to be a part of that group. So far so good here.

In Shree Bharathalaya's latest production titled "Mammudha - from dust to life" you played Indra as portrayed in the therukoothu and it became a huge hit! How difficult or easy was it to learn and perform it? Can you share that experience with us?
I must tell you that I am a person who loves dance. When I dance, I am completely into it and forget all my problems. I am totally passionate about it. In that sense, I am not a very classical person. I am quite catholic in my views on dance. I love to watch Jodi no.1 or whatever that is telecasted by the name "Dance" on TV. I like to watch and dance the "kuthu dance" form also. But above all, I love Bharathanatyam. I don't belong to the category of dancers who say that "I am a classical dancer and classical dance is the only form which I will watch". Same applies to music, too. I love classical music. My brothers used to listen to a lot of western music. So I started liking western music also. My aunt is a great musician in Bangalore. So I got a lot of exposure to different kinds of music.

If someone asks me not to do something or tells me that I cannot do something, then I feel the urge to do it. I am that kind of a person; even though I belong to a generation that doesn't ask questions. Therefore, I always had this liking towards folk arts and the urge to do something different. In folk dance, there are really fast beats and gives both the performer and the audience a sense of happiness. I studied at Rosary Matriculation where there was a dance teacher by name Saroja Kameswaran. From standard 1 to 12, I have done a lot of folk items under her for every function in school. And, when Mammudha came my way, I didn't want to miss it. I initially said I would like to play the kattiyakaaran (narrator). But later as the production structured, it was found that the Indra role demanded a lot of abhinayam. When I was given the role, I said I would do it because it was not easy to perform with 5 kilos on head and 10 kilos on my arms. The make-up man used to throw blue powder on my eyes as a result of which I suffered from conjunctivitis. But I knew that I wouldn't get another opportunity as a classical dancer to come and actually dance therukoothu on stage.

Initially, I had the misconception that the folk arts are not structured. But thanks to Mammudha, when we learnt the dance, we understood that they are very structured. Purasai Sambandam Sir, our folk dance teacher, told me that I was leaning backward a lot and asked me to contain that. They also have a lot of do's and don'ts, contrary to what I thought. Maybe classical is slightly stricter, but they too have a lot of parameters and are very much structured. Similarly, Smt. Thenmozhi Rajendran, the other folk dance teacher who taught us poikaal kudhirai, was also very strict. My snobbishness of a classical dancer broke. I appreciate and have a great for regard folk dance forms. They are seemingly easy to perform. It requires a lot more energy to perform for a folk song.

I am so happy that as an artiste I got to do something very different. All the while I was doing only dramatic roles like Kannagi, Paanchaali, etc. People knew that Priya would do roles that needed raving and crying. It helped me to prove my versatility to others and also to myself. I always liked Kathakali for its subtleness. Somehow when I performed this role with the painted face, I had the remote feeling of performing Kathakali.

Can you tell us about your research activities related to dance?
Natyarangam is coming up with a series based on the characters of Mahabharatha this August. I have been asked to play the roles of Ambai and Shikhandi because they felt I can do justice as both a girl and a boy. For this, I have been doing a lot of research. For that matter, all good productions are backed by a very strong research work.

I did my M.Phil in Philosophy and my dissertation was based on the concept of "Saadhaarani Karna" or the universalization of Rasa. For instance, assume that I am portraying the sad Sita. I am actually not Sita because I do not exist at that time. And at the same time, I am not Priya also. I am a universal self. My research was on how this universal self could lead one to a higher plane and help him/her reach the Brahman. I used dance and aesthetics to link up with my philosophy. I want to do my P.hD and will do it after my son grows up.

I've heard your students say that you are much of an on-the spot dancer. How important do you think it is for a dancer to be spontaneous?
Spontaneity is very important for a dancer. But having said that, you also need some discipline. You have a basic framework and follow that. Sometimes you get too carried away and end up in a mess. It has happened to me. Yes, a lot of spontaneity is required in terms of expressions. You have to think on your feet when some jewel is hanging loose or when a crown falls down. But otherwise, you need to have a basic framework and also be spontaneous, limiting yourself within that framework.

Apart from dancing, you also excel at playing the nattuvangam. Your clear rendition of jathis and strong wielding of the nattuvangam have added a special flavor to many of your students' performances. How did you lean that?
I should again thank Sudha aunty for having beautifully trained me in playing the Nattuvangam. First, she makes us take classes. Then, she asks us to talk and explain to people about our productions, compositions, etc. She throws us into situations and also helps us to come out of them. When the person who was playing Nattuvangam for us left, she asked me to play the Nattuvangam. I was very afraid and expressed my apprehensions about it because I was not very good at the thaalam-kanakku. I learnt that all much later. I am more instinctive as a dancer. I still have a lot more to learn. But if people say that I am good at playing the Nattuvangam, it is because of Sudha aunty's guidance and the trust that she had on me.

Having talked about that, how important a role do you think does the orchestra have to play in a dance performance?
A dance show will surely flop if the orchestra isn't good. Dance is after all visual music. Moreover, the role of a nattuvanaar, a guru or a person like me, is very important. If the dancer does a mistake, it is quite easy to cover up. But if the person who is playing the nattuvaangam does a mistake, the dancer also gets confused because she doesn't know that you are going to make a mistake. The role of the vocalist is also very important. If he/she is not going to sing well, the dancer cannot relate to it especially in the padams and other abhinaya-oriented pieces. The mridangam helps in maintaining the dancer's kaala pramaanam. Other members of the orchestra also are important, but not as important as these three people. If your orchestra, or for that matter, your sense of music is not good, you cannot make it big. There are a lot of very good "dance singers" today. They all not just sing beautifully and understand the meaning but also have to understand dance. It is not easy to sing for dance. At times when we don't get good singers, we have to compromise with whoever we get. An orchestra is also very expensive. But these are all on the other side of the coin. Basically, a good orchestra is a must for a good performance.

How do you react to reviews and criticisms? What according to you is the role of the press in shaping a dancer?
Suppose you have three shows a season and you don't have a review, nobody knows that you have danced. So it is necessary that you have a review written about your performance because that's how people get to know that you have danced even if they have not come for your show. People's memory is very short. So if you are not written about, people tend to forget you. There are people who have learnt dance, understand the form and criticise unbiased and then there are a few who are harsh. But then as artistes I guess we have to take the pill, sometimes however bitter! We are sensitive people but need to have an attitude to take all kinds of views. See at the end, there is an inner voice that will tell us the truth - we need to develop on what that voice tells us-- we ourselves need to be unbiased and harsh. Then from there stems our veracity as an artiste!

What do you feel about the increasing number of Bharathanatyam-related CDs that are in the market? Isn't it affecting the guru-sishya parampara?
It is very good because a lot of people get access to many more items. We (at Sree Bharathalaya) have exposure to a number of items. Our repertoire is very rich. But as I go outside, I find that a few people have only one or two margams. In such cases, CDs are very helpful. For instance, many of them didn't know about the Navasandhi sthuthis earlier. But after Sudha aunty released the CD on Navasandhi Kavuthuvams, many people started knowing about it. Dancing the Navasandhi Kavithubvam was a temple ritual hundreds of years ago. It is so exciting to learn such items. But if you are going to be entirely dependent on the CDs to learn, then it is not advisable. You must learn up to a certain level from a guru and then enrich your knowledge from the CDs. When I go to the U.S., I see a lot of people trying to imitate the dancer in the CD. They dance one item like one dancer, and another item like another dancer. The individual's style of dancing is lost in the process. So it is better if you start learning from the CDs after a while. CDs are generally meant for practicing. An artiste can also use if he/she doesn't have access to an orchestra. The Guru-sishya parampara is majorly affected because people don't have much time these days. Things have become fast-paced. Moreover, if my dance teacher scolded me, my mom wouldn't question her. But today it is not so. If I scold someone's child once, then I am branded as a strict teacher. The students start learning from another teacher thereafter.

In your opinion what is a "baani"? Many gurus come up with their own baani, which is a mish-mash of the ancient ones. What do you think about this?
Sudha aunty always says that there are as many styles as there are dancers. As an artiste, I can follow a particular baani but if I don't put my mark in it, then it is mere imitation. As an artiste, I am a failure. If I imitate my guru without any of my inputs into my dancing, you will not like it. And, there is also a limitation of the body. The thath-thai-tha-ha remains basically the same everywhere. You cannot twist your hands about your elbows to 180o to do the thath-thai-tha-ha. How much has your guru taken from what her guru taught her? How much of that has she not compromised on? What is she influenced by? All these also count. I basically follow the Tanjore style that was taught by Shri Kitappa Pillai. So, I will not do the adavus the Vazhuvoor way. But there will be something of Sudha aunty plus something of mine in it. Baani is just a main outline. There are so many nice things in the Vazhuvoor baani. There are so many beautiful things in ours. So one should learn to appreciate the beauty of dance as such and not quarrel for this. Baani is very important. It is like one's way of writing. Even in painting, there are styles like the impressionist style, riot of colours, etc. But at the same time, we need to develop a style that brings out our individuality within the parameters of that style. One needs a definite compartment but shouldn't be too rigid about it.

Indian audience vs. audience abroad, Can you draw comparisons?
In India people have too much of music and dance. They are slightly disdainful. They want to leave home from a concert by 8 o clock. The problem with dancing in the second slot is that at 8 o clock, I would be doing a varnam with great passion. But the people want to go home and have their dinner. So I can't hold them. In abroad, people travel a lot to watch the show. They are disappointed if you perform for just an hour while they would have traveled for two hours to reach the auditorium. I personally feel that the people abroad are more rooted in our culture than us. Here we have it in aplenty, so we just take it for granted. Having said that, I would prefer to perform at a sabha in Chennai than at the U.S. because Madras is the Mecca of Bharathanatyam. There is nothing like performing for the audience here. If an artiste doesn't get a chance to perform here during the December season, then it becomes such a pathetic thing for him/her. It has become so prestigious! Acceptance has to come from here first, even if you are from Hyderabad or Bangalore. Roja, Srikanth, Aswathy and I recently went to Singapore to perform at the Esplanade theatre. We all had separate dressing rooms. Each of it has a separate Couch for us to relax, toiletries, nail filers, etc. We gazed at the dressing rooms as a villager would do looking at the buildings in the city. That is the respect they give to the artiste. They understand the process. That kind of an understanding should come here also.

How do you see Bharathanatyam evolving with time? Will the art form survive the test of time?
People who are keen on dancing are taking it really seriously. While I was young, I didn't have the kind of focus that some of the kids have now, though I went to classes regularly. Students who are serious put in everything that they have towards dance. They take it up with an all-consuming passion. I started developing this kind of a focus much later. I now feel that I should have developed this passion while I was younger and fitter, which would have taken me to places. Gurus today have opened up a lot these days against the gurus of those days who would not teach new items so easily. For instance, now we are learning Mrs. Leela Samson's varnam in a workshop. There is so much of give and take today and dancers are enjoying the exposure. This field has become very competitive these days, as any other field in this society has. As a result, only people who put in a lot of efforts are able to succeed. Until a few years ago, I never used to apply for programmes. People used to come and ask us to perform. Then my colleagues told me that I wouldn't get solo programmes if I don't apply. One cannot blame the sabhas also because the supply is much more than the demand. Going and asking for performances, which was once upon a time considered degrading, has now become the norm. That is the change in the society and the change in the outlook. Like anything else, on the flip side, we have people who have learnt dance for just 6 months or 2 years who go and teach dance in America. Even in the outskirts of Chennai, this is rampant. If this practice is controlled, then I see a good future ahead for this art form.

What has been the most defining moment in your dance career so far?
About three years ago a critic by name Tulsi Badrinath had come to review my show at Krishna Gana Sabha. She is a good writer and I was kind of nervous to know that she had come. That day I did Maharaja Swati Thirunal's "Smaratinu Maam", which talks of the relation between Krishna and Sudhama. After the show she met me backstage with tears-filled eyes. She told me that I had brought Kuchela in front of her. It was a very special compliment for me from a critic of that stature. Another time was when Sudha aunty told my mom after a performance that I had made her feel proud as a guru. When Sudha aunty gives an affirmative nod - could be just a nod, then I am really happy. My day is done!

Can you tell us more about your family's interests towards music and dance?
As I already told you, I had two elder brothers, one of whom is not alive. He was a fantastic Guitar player. He also scored the music for the Tamil movie "Nammavar". My second brother learnt the mridangam and tabla. They even had their own performing band. My aunt is a singer. Her name is Seethalakshmi Venkatesan. She is known as the "Bangalore MS". She is the guru of a lot of prominent singers. My father's athaan by name Narayanaswamy was a very famous Veena player. Many of my cousins are also very much into music and dance. My cousin H. Sridhar, who passed away recently, was A.R. Rahman's sound engineer. They are all very passionate about music and dance. My mother is a very strong influence in the lives of me and my brothers. She gave us the strength and the focus that was required to learn the art. My father used to drop me and pick me up from dance classes. It might be a very mundane thing, but otherwise it would have been really difficult for me to pursue the art as a young girl. Because my brother was in the film industry, I got exposure to films too. My father-in-law is an AIR artiste. My husband sings all the time. And now my son is learning mridangam from Umayalpuram Sivaraman Sir.

Your hobbies. I love to listen to music. I watch a lot of TV. I read a lot, mostly fiction and romantic novels. I watch a lot of movies and plays. I also love to eat. I love to be with my students and have a good time. I am still a little girl at heart. I can't accept my age. I feel life is short and I should make the best out of it.

Would you like tell anything to young dancers who wish to take dance as their career? And, any message to the rasikas?
It is just that the young dancers should primarily enjoy the process of dance. And being with one guru always helps instead of constantly changing styles. Also, if they are getting trained in more than one form, then they must choose what they want to do and do well in that. In Kerala, people learn Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam and Bharathanatyam. It is good because they get an exposure to all the forms. But concentration should be on only one form and it should be given your best. These days, there is more emphasis on the body. The audiences want to look at slim dancers. This is not really fair! I am not telling this because I am on the other side. I wish that people start looking at the dance more than the dancer. I agree that as a dancer it is my responsibility to be fit and look nice. But many times, things go out of my hands and people don't understand that. I often have quarrels with people who call me "fat". I really feel bad about it. At times, I feel that I should do something about it and start working out. Later when someone says I did beautiful abhinayam, or when I get a nice review, I feel that I should prove myself in my dance and not in my structure. Indian figures have always been slightly plump and have never looked thin and anorexic. I wish people will not be so hung up on weight.

On that note, ends the interview. And, now to the surprise gift. Here are a couple of video clips that have excerpts from "Mammudha - from dust to life". Smt. Priya Murle, who plays the role of Indra, shares the stage with her guru Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy. Watch and enjoy!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzp6w3u3FaU


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlVxCE-FdZ4
Comments
Roja Kannan - rojak@sify.com
That was really a very exhaustive interview Priya. I have enjoyed myself thoroughly working with you in all our group productions.Yes, like you said, performing in solos and groups really complement each other, contrary to what many believe. I have personally gained a lot from the experience of working in our groups. It has greatly enhanced my solo performances. And the day is not far when we will all be performing in the most coveted slots in leading sabhas. Best wishes to you for a wonderful career in dance about which you are so passionate about.

Gayatri Balagurunathan - gayatrikodha@gmail.com
It was a nice. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with her for Harikesanjali-a margam on Harikesanallur Muthiah bhagavathar compositions. We both were an instant hit with each other. I enjoyed every moment of that experience - be it the delicious chocolate cake she gave me the first time we rehearsed at her peaceful home or the time when she came to my class all drenched in the rains. I am thankful to God for having shown me what fun it can be working with graceful dancers like Priya akka. I am sincerely hoping for all her research to be fruitful.
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