As i was aligning my treasured collection of books this morning, i stumbled upon this charming vintage picture of my Aji. Graceful, refined, sublime are mere adjectives, which i feel do not do justice to her timeless appeal. The memory my mind immediately conjures up is that of her shapely hand gripping mine and gradually tracing each alphabet, like a calligraphy artist. She taught me the art of letter writing and we spent many summers writing long letters to family and friends. She bought beauty and grace even to the most mundane daily tasks. Raised by the royal family of Jamkhandi, who lived in Kolhapur, she lived a privileged life, which in a way prepared her for her future as an army officers wife. She blended in that life like a heady mix of cocktail, intoxicated by its endless soirees, mahjong afternoons and a game of tennis in the evenings..
Coming from a progressive family, she was the first woman graduate in the mid 30’s, spoke three languages and wrote passionately. Having blessed with an eye and a love for the arts, she passed on this passion of hers to me and ensured i was trained in dance and music. Some of the cherished remnants of her beautiful life were passed on to me. Her silver filigree comb and hairbrush takes me back to the past..through the sands of time, to a land of grandeur and splendor.
As a child i enjoyed listening to her endless stories and admiring her vast collection of B&W photographs and strutting in front of the mirror in her high gold heels. While delicate chiffons with splashes of hot pink and sunset oranges bathed her body, the milky white pearls accentuated her porcelain complexion, making her look every inch the princess i thought she was. It was she who taught me to value discipline and integrity above all and to always nurture my creative spirit. Though paralysed, she lived to a ripe age of 90 and showed exceptional will power to keep learning and to pursue a mentally active life. Every performance of mine dear Aji is dedicated to you and i know you will always continue to inspire me and keep my inner lamp burning bright..