When Was The Last Time That I Did Something For the First Time?
I attended a dance performance by Natyalakshana, called ‘The Fires Within’ which was sponsored by Bosch Cultural Events at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall this Friday. For those who were wondering about my new found interest in traditional art forms, I have to ascribe due credit to those unconventional inspirations that result from boredom.
And how glad I was that my whim took me there. How I thanked my friends for their exotic and audacious suggestion to take me there! The show was a beautiful symphony of music, dance and art, where flying feet gave voice to age old legends. The legendary poems represented are selected verses from Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’, Bharathiyar’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and a few selection of Mirza Ghalib’s poetry in Kathak. I loved the ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Ghalib’s poetry representation, where I felt that the dancers delivered a magnificent justice to the poems.
Shama and Sanjay’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Hari and Chandana’s ‘Mirza Ghalib piece’ had a delicate balance of perfection and expression and they held me in rapture through out. The dance drama that followed, called Tagore’s ‘Tasher Desh’ was a little bit disappointing, but the blame rests with my expectations which reached the sky by the end of the first two performances. If I have to define the experience, words would surely fail me as I am running short of superlatives. I could never realize that poetry could be so brilliantly enticing and soul wrenching. I was swaying in a world, so out of myself and the feeling is liberating. I believe that the credit of those beautiful moments goes to those on back stage as well. A special mention for Usha Venkateshwaran, the director of Natyalakshana who choreographed and produced the dances. Simone for the wonderful sway of lights and Sri Gurumurthy and Ustad Faizal Khan for their mellifluous music.
This event did make me reflect on my opinions towards conventional art forms. For to achieve perfection in blending, a music so divine, a dance that lent life to poetry and expressions that tugged heart, it must either have been Divine’s grace or years’ practice. It did teach me a thing or two about the immense beauty that’s submerged in Indian tradition and art. Like a welcome summer rain, my heart kissed the joy and danced along enticed in the magical world of dance, music and poetry. A worthy life long memory that’s for me for keeps.
Here are the translations in English for the Ghalib’s poetry that’s recited in the Event.
“O God Thy blessings on the soul
Whose name just came to my lips.
And as I willed that it be sung,
My speech rained kisses on my tongue.
These images drawn by Thee to make
Thine grand image, this world
Stand there like supplicants bowed in prayer:
Their burden they can’t bear.
The Fire in me, it rages high,
Though I be bound in chains.
The chain rings bounce,for they are light
Like hair all curled by flame
No simile matches her playfulness
And her quick-silver, passionate ways,
For, lighting lacks, by far, her play
And her temper is hotter than a blaze.
It is the nature of love, no doubt:
A kind of freak fire, which
You cannot start just when you wish,
Nor can you put it out.
A fire is raging in my heart
On this lonely night
My own shadow doth run from me
A smoke from fire takes flight.
It is ages since my beloved’s feet
Did cross this poor threshold.
So let her, with her twinkling cups,
Light up my dark abode.
My bustling crowd of desires
Each took my breath away!
Though I could quench many, many of them,
Yet millions remain un-slaked.