mobil pics 832                           Musings on Dance

Dance is self reflection…

As a mirror to my innermost being, it makes me aware and conscious of who i really am.

Being an artist is a risk….

It is the risk of the unknown, to learn something new, we need to unlearn old patterns which limit us

To dance is to share…

To share the deepest part of me is to have an authentic connection with my audience

To dance is pure joy…

To be in the present moment, not withholding oneself back, dance there’s no tomorrow….

My beautiful grandmother:

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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..

Ancient sounds, youthful music

And her sitar led the way, taking the listener through the journey of various sounds and textures, embellishing this musical story like a skilled raconteur. Great masters have often reiterated that ancient music, music of our masters never dies, it lives within us creating and recreating itself, thus making it even more relevant, its pure organic sounds reverberating in the air. One could feel this intense connect of collective experiences, making the listener feel there’s something happening there. Modern and ancient sounds were communicating with one another, giving this canvas a rich complexity of meaning. The sitar as a narrator keeps coming back through out the album and creates that dialogue which is deeply haunting yet restrained, leaving much to the listeners imagination.

   I can still feel the echo of the melodious sitar, the resonant mridangam, the weighty and warm cello, the hang(newly created percussion instrument) and the golden barritone voice of its African singers. To my ears this consonance of music had preserved its traditional classicism and yet was youthfully energetic. After travelling half the world, i feel through this diverse musical canvas we share a lot of histories, and that ancient masters created music that bridged and healed us,  touched our souls and we are after all, a product of each others lives and experiences. 

There is no journey without home…

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A  journey for me is something indeed very special.. For a few cherished days, I am an adventurer, a voyager, a romantic, set out to amass as many visual, sensory, spiritual experiences as i could in my little sac of life.  And yes, later,  this cauldron of wisdom, sensations and experiences  would suffice me, guide me into being  a more conscious soul, by  becoming a compass for the days i feel lost , blue or simply adrift. It is magical to explore a place with all my senses, my eyes, ears, skin, taste, smell..looking for yet another moment of serendipity around the block.

And lo and behold the joy of discovering something as simple as myraid coloured, tender summer blooms, being acutely sensitive to the magnificient art of the old masters, along with the colourful grafitti of street artists, tasting the local cuisines in cozy intimate cafes. One of my favourite activities is people watching and meandering like a nomad under the canopy of stars and witnessing some fine, innovative and edgy local bands..Soaking in some great music in the chilly evenings with a hot cuppa:)

Journeys often do that to us..give us vigour, sparkle, change our( or lack of ) perception of the world, makes us discover who we really are, appreciate the greatness of all cultures and even recognise how inconsequential and trivial our disputes can be and how unworthy mankind is of this beautiful planet that owes us practically nothing.

Travel does make us spend quality time with our kin ( or for some familiarity also breeds contempt ) and helps us rediscover the many joys we shared, to relive them fully again. To walk , on the road less travelled..initiates us on a journey without a destination…

Everytime I travel, I feel a deep sense of gratitude, I come back with a stronger and a profound  feeling of belonging, ever greatful for this window of wonder that life has offered  me..

and hence, there really can be no journey without home….

Cherry Blossoms of Japan

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As I have begun to delve deeper into the Japanese culture, I have fallen in love with it. Although my reach and study is called barely scratching the surface, I am nonetheless astounded by the timeless beauty of it all. What a profoundly advanced culture and philosophy! The more I am mindful about their sublime, enlightened,’man in consonance with nature’ philosophy, the more I feel both the west and east needs to imbibe and emulate it’s brilliance and luminosity.. It’s pure, ethereal, all inclusive, organic, futuristic. To take things as they are and to learn the art of being in the world, as impressed upon by Taoism. To recognise that the art of life lies in constant adjustment to our surroundings. Laotse, it’s founder postulates that only in vacuum lay the truly essential. One who could make of himself a vacuum into which others might freely enter, would become a master of all situations..
Hmm.. Now that’s a thought for all of us to meditate upon..

No Promises. Music by Carla Bruni

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Recently, I stumbled across an album by CarlaBruni, ‘No Promises’. She has given music to soulful poetry written by various poets such as Yeats, Emily Dikinson, Christina Rossetti etc. Lovely rhythmic music set to a swinging guitar, one can get lost in the wistful, yearning words of the poetry and the breezy melody of the songs. Carla’s breathlessness and smokey voice lends the songs a sensual appeal. All the songs exude a peaceful mood laced sometimes with melancholy or with romanticism. Dickinson’s, ‘I felt my life with both hands’ is both beautiful and touching. ‘Afternoon’ by Dorothy Parker is heartfelt and melancholic. Carla sings in a sultry voice and deep emotion. A delightful album, innocent and naive, is ideal to listen with intimate friends or lounging in front of a homely fireplace…sigh..