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From heirloom habits to nakli stuff
22 Feb 2010
WHAT can I wear to a wedding? It was never so nervewracking, until about five years ago. The occasion always meant a kanjeevaram sari and heirloom jewellery.
Gold, rubies and eternal emeralds
Siva dances, not alone
17 Feb 2010
ANNUALLY, this is a moment of powerful energy convergence on our planet. The night of Siva — Sivaratri.
This past week has seen millions celebrate the eternal night of cosmic energy through prayer, dance, music and meditation throughout the day and night of February 12.
Between drinks and dinner
11 Feb 2010
I speak of the present fascination that urban India has with partying. Our national anthem has become Karan Johar’s tune Where’s the party tonight?
Sangamam breaks barriers
27 Jan 2010
Venue - Nageswara Rao Park, Mylapore. A group of four folk artistes from Nagercoil seated on the edge of the dais watching Chitraveena Ravikiran play Ragam Todi.
Quit when you are ahead
25 Nov 2009
Last week I watched the television live broadcast of tennis hottie Marat Safin playing his final match in Paris. At 29, the tennis world’s most charismatic and temperamental star was retiring. Safin, a gorgeous hunk with movie star looks, was a former world number one.
Indian-ness through sur and taal
18 Nov 2009
It is the dream of any professional dancer to fill mainstage halls of 1000 or more. Capacity crowds who listen and watch in rapt attention and then gift you with a standing ovation. Does this happen? Of course it does. It happens if you are a dance or music teacher in the US or UK with 200 or more students
Travelling with the Monkey King
28 Oct 2009
People who call me on my mobile often ask if I am in town. With good reason: I have been spending more time in airports. Performances and conferences are a major reason for my frequent absence from my hometown, and a certain ‘monkey’ has caught me by his tail. I am speaking of Shun Wu Kong, the impish Monkey King of China
Of Ajanta hips and Ellora breasts
21 Oct 2009
The bane of every woman with advancing age is the specter of arms that resemble wobbly chicken chins - flapping in the wind. We spend many hours in the gym climbing various machines, puffing with personal trainers and standing before mirrors moaning the bulges and flabbiness. As for dancers?
A fountain of memories
30 Sept 2009
"You have to revitalize a landmark that represents tradition and a myriad memories for New Yorkers". That was the challenge given to the architects for redesigning the iconic Lincoln Centre Fountain being inaugurated today in New York City.
Why are our priests so greedy?
23 Sept 2009
Eyes half closed, I extended my hand holding a 100 rupee note towards the hundi at the Kashi Viswanath temple in Varanasi. Eager fingers snatched the money away. Alarmed, my eyes flew open only to see the head priest crumpling the note within his palm. “More”, he said, “I need Rs 400 more.”
Kamboji and Commerce
16 Sept 2009
What could be the possible connection between commerce and Kamboji? As opposite as chalk and cheese? Not much of a connect for the average reader. Except that a classical pianist, two Carnatic singers and a guitarist went through the unlikely grind of doing a B.Com degree.
Women and men preen and strut with puffed chests
9 Sept 2009
Goddess transforms into a common peahen and prays to Lord Siva. Location - Mylapore. Or rather, Mayil-a-puram. The abode of the peacock in central Chennai got its name when Goddess Parvati was so enamoured with the beautiful peacocks and did not pay attention to an important esoteric teaching of Siva.
Yours Authentically Indian!
2 Sept 2009
I am sorry. We cannot sanction the grant for Anita Ratnam’s dance residency. She does not look authentically Indian.” This was the message from the bursar of a college in New England, USA.
I was invited for a performance and teaching residency
I can recognize them as they lunge towards my feet
26 Aug 2009
THEY are everywhere. In sari stores, jewellery kadais and the local kaapi hangouts. Looking slightly odd with hair cuts and crunchies that came out of the eighties. Clutching irritable children and grandchildren who exclaim in sulking tones "Mom. Paaati, it is sooo haatt and I wanna go home."
A living goddess watched another blossom on stage
19 Aug 2009
Feminists today prefer to be called ‘Womanists’ in contrast to the earlier militant rhetoric of their male-bashing sisters. The mid nineties saw a shift from the martial tone of the women’s movement to a more realistic stance of including men in the gender discourse.
Exposing our melons was not modern in ANY context
12 Aug 2009
SITTING next to a dance icon who had just won every award, for his stunning choreography in the Broadway hit The Lion King, was a mini event in my life. Garth Fagan, the Jamaican dance artist was a panelist on the forum Other Cultures Informing Modern Dance