There are short-cuts to happiness and dancing is one of them.
I started off learning the basics of Bharatanatyam, as a three-year-old, sitting on my Guru's lap, admiring my mother dance. I vaguely recollect the bright cheerful room in her old Sion house, the awesome 'thud' of foot-falls of all the senior dancers, the metallic-musical clanking of the 'nattuvangam taalam' or sometimes the woody clacks of the 'tattu kuchi'. I remember drawing her face on a scrap of paper intended to keep me quiet, while the grown-ups danced, eating dosas on top of her kitchen table and the bedroom that always smelt of fresh talcum powder!
Now, 19 years later, I have come so far from that little girl, longing to be one of the 'big' girls, dancing alongside my mother. I owe it all to Aunty, as we lovingly call our Guru. She has been more than just a dance teacher to me; an inspiration, a guide, a strict disciplinarian, my sternest critic and strongest supporter; as close as a favorite grandmother. Nothing can be as peaceful and as enjoyable as a good rigorous dance session with my irreplaceable dance friends and Aunty in one her special humorous moods ! No pain so sweet as the ache of tired feet, after a Tillana or two !
I have learnt not just Bharatanatyam and Nattuvangam from Aunty, but also the art of teaching, courage to face my fears, dealing with failure as well as success, the importance of controlling one's emotions (master in Abhinaya that she is !), fortitude even in the most trying of situations, self-confidence, humility (praise from Aunty is praise indeed !), the power of faith... the list is endless. But my most valuable lesson from Aunty is the true meaning of the phrase 'All I know is that I know nothing !
I will always be grateful to Aunty for guiding me to my first love; Dance.