On behalf of every one at My Room, I wish all of you a very happy and prosperous 2010. Hope all of you had a wonderful time with family and friends this holiday season. For me, it was wonderful as I met a lot of my relatives and friends after a long time. I did not get much time to blog. But now that I am back, I intend to get back to my writing.
My children had quite a long Christmas and New Year break and I tried to take them to various places. It is quite a challenge to keep budding minds engaged and stimulated. Last night, we went to see a Kathak recital and we came back thoroughly enchanted. Kathak, which means to tell a story, is a major classical dance form of North India. In ancient India,the kathakars or the story tellers would perform in the village squares and temples and narrate mythological or moral tales. To enhance their performances, they would use musical instruments like the tabla and the sitar, and also sing along. During the Mughal times, the Royal court patronized this art form. The dance form slowly changed from telling religious stories to entertainment.The dancers however were intelligent. Some were great poets and writers and all of them were trained in etiquette. Sometimes the nobility would send their children to learn the correct manners and civility from these courtesans. It was only in the British times the kathak dancers were branded as mere prostitutes and the society started looking down on them. However after the Independence, there has been a revival of this mesmerising dance form.
Last evening, a highly respected Kathak dancer and teacher Rajashree Shirke and her troupe performed in an auditorium in Mumbai. She has been doing great work with some underprivileged children of the city. She and an NGO in the city are providing training in kathak to girls who otherwise would only dream of learning dance from such respected masters. I was very impressed with the girls who performed last night. Most of them came from extremely poor backgrounds. Last night, few girls walked on stage to get their certificates along with their mothers. It was a joyous moment for the entire family and many eyes in the auditorium were moist to see these girls, dressed in their finest dance costumes proudly walking on stage with their heads held high. I wish I could capture their expressions on camera but unfortunately photography was not permitted inside the auditorium.
To express their gratitude to the lady who spends so much time and effort in training these girls, the NGO felicitated her with a beautifully hand crafted Kashmiri shawl. She was also given a coconut. Those of you who may not be aware, a coconut is a very sacred symbol of Hinduism. It is the most common offering in Hindu temples. We offer coconuts on ocassions of weddings and other important religious rituals.The breaking of a coconut symbolises breaking of the ego. The juice represents our inner desires and the soft kernel our minds. Both are offered to the Lord for purifying.
As every part of the coconut tree, the trunk, the leaves, the coir, the fruit etc are used up by humans, a coconut to Hindus symbolises selfless love.It grows on salty water of earth and converts it into nutritive water.No wonder the people running the NGO offered a coconut to the guru. She through her dedication and training is single handedly transforming the lives of some girls. In this New Year, I only hope there are more selfless people like her, who can change, the destiny of less fortunate people.
(POSTED BY APARNA)
(POSTED BY APARNA)