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Together in the war against Corona
- Ratikant Mohapatra
Photos: Debiprasad Mishra

April 19, 2020

With every passing day, the Corona Virus has brought in major changes and forced many adjustments in our lives. In the new normal, artistes - especially performing artistes - have been very badly hit. In comparison, other professionals are somehow managing their lives. Vegetables, fruits, and a variety of food stuff are being sold; some companies are getting their work done 'online' by their employees from home. The plight of performing artistes is however terribly poignant. We are unable to leave our houses, no colleagues - professional musicians, dancers, and other technicians like light designers, and recording professionals - have been available to us for a month and god knows for how much longer we will have to bear this privation! So I have been thinking hard on how best to use this difficult incarceration, and keep the mood a little upbeat of those around me. Indeed, the whole world is in great stress and the agony of individuals is being communicated to large number of people through telephone calls, video calls and other communication devices. It is a great consolation that so far our normal communication channels are still available to us - and the dreadful Corona Virus has not been able to affect our exchange of creative ideas and nominal information.

On my own, I have been quietly and patiently dredging into the deep recesses of my mind and hunting for two important things - 1, How best to keep my family environment reasonably stress-reduced and 2, how best to use the difficult time as a blessing in disguise to create new ideas in dance, music, communication and most importantly shoring up the confidence and creativity of a large number of colleagues and fellow artistes in my immediate environment as also in my worldwide network of dance, music, choreography.

In this context, I wish to address a specific area of my work in teaching and instructing - online - at least 50 students of Srjan and Sri Sri University whom I am entrusted to teach dance and dance theory for almost 8 hours daily - all this in spite of frequent disruptions in online data services and telecom facilities.

Conducting online class


I am experiencing, like many like-minded people all over the world, great distress at our curtailment of freedom, movement and attendant flow of creativity and human emotions. The dilemma is mostly in having to witness the gradual sinking of optimism and energy of a large number of friends and compatriots who, normally, would be full of energy, enthusiasm, and ideas. This assault on our creative energies is hard to accept. I fervently appeal to my friends, fellow artistes, audiences worldwide and numerous well-wishers to spread a message of hope, sustenance and vitality. All of us must find renewed energy and power to fight this terrible threat to our lives, Art and creativity. Even if we, momentarily, feel that the nine emotions of the Navarasa core of our souls seems to be embroiled in a chaotic whirlpool of disruption and disturbance, we must work with renewed strength to bring a measure of stability and vitality in our lives and in the lives of all those whose work and talent we hold in great value.

The desolation

I refuse to be cowed down by a rowdy virus, however powerful and destructive it might be. Take care my friends, and use every precaution to fight this pestilence till the world is rid of this curse. Be strong and generate a similar strength among others in your immediate environment. Make this effort, starting now. And do not rest until you feel you have given your best to mankind, which has given you so much joy in dance, music and aesthetics. Our extra effort, our painstaking labour, in fact our very own vitality and commitment, will be our ultimate fulfillment.

Odissi Guru Ratikant Mohapatra is the artistic director of Srjan, Bhubaneswar.

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