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First stage steps
- Bhramari Shivaprakash

November 24, 2009

As I sit back to pen my thoughts after finishing my performance in Connecticut Hoysala Kannada Koota, my mind races back a month to Janmaashtami celebrations in Sri Krishna Vrundavana in New Jersey. The cultural festivities included almost fifty kids aged 1 through 8 dressed as Krishna or Radha and our dance performance. We had planned to dance to the singing of Vasantha Shashi.

My 2 year old son Saaranga was hyper active that day and took a late afternoon nap which was a blessing in disguise for all of us, the mothers, to get our make up on and be ready for the performance. Around 6pm, as the performance time neared, I asked my husband to wake Saaranga up. Poor kid was dreaming of white sand and waters of New Jersey beaches we had visited few weeks before. Saaranga's dad used the opportunity without breaking the kid's imaginative trip, to wash his face and get all the 'sands' off of him.

Once fresh, Saaranga remembered that he had to accompany me in one of the dance numbers and all the things he is supposed to do in the dance number. He thought of the missing mascara and in spite of my trembling hands, egged me on to apply it. Soon it was time for our entrance. I was to perform as Yashoda in 'Jagadoddharana' - a song by Purandara Dasa praising Yashoda playing with Lord Krishna in his childhood. The blinding lights, music and spontaneous claps by the audience, stunned the little kid for a few seconds. As we continued, the tension eased and he followed his well rehearsed steps of playing with me, eating stuff I give him, playing hide and seek and piggy back ride. As I completed the song, I was really surprised at the cooperation little Saaranga showed on the stage in his very first performance.

As I was rehearsing for the next set of performances, little Saaranga's interest made me to incorporate the same song into my numbers. In Boston Mandara Kannada Koota, he asked me to peel a banana for him which was offered to Lord Ganesha and in Connecticut when he tried to escape from the stage, the ring around the roses made him so dizzy that he fell down. Such natural moves gave me and also the audience there a wonderful real time experience and pleasure.

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