Hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon-Edward Lear
It was the day after my birthday, September 2nd 2019; the bus was ripping through the mountains to reach Anaikatti. On this trail, for few kilometres phone network gets suspended. At this stretch, I rest my head on the window & count the number of mountains I see; sometimes with music on. Clouds were set for a shower, the silence of the mountains took over the noise of the bus’s engine. It started to drizzle, so I didn’t let music distract my solace with mountains. When the network resumed, I opened YouTube; the first song that appeared was “Nila Kaigirathu” by Sid Sriram; hesitantly I played the song. I got down from the bus, listened to the song as I walked to school. The chords of the song hit straight to the heart & ripped a smile on my face.
I heard it the second time, third time and about 1000th time (No exaggeration). When I hear an unplugged version of a song that I have never heard before, I look for the original version. I searched for it, listened to it on loop and this time the chords hit straight to the heart & to my legs & to my hands & to my eyes. I listened to this song on repeat, all the time. I would sit & dance imagining choreography in my head. As my understanding of Tamizh, is minimal; I looked for the translation of the lyrics.
Not being able to be a dancer is the biggest void in my life, there are days I have spent looking at the mirror-posing as a dancer with drenched eyes. This song, ignited a spark to fill that void.
A week later, plans for Children’s Day was setting in. Prema Akka & Vaidehi Akka told me, they have been wanting to do a Dance-Drama for many years. The universe conspired I thought but I had my own self-doubts. I was not sure if I would be able to do justice to the song. I skipped this song, looked for other songs but I was hardly convinced.
As it was for Children’s Day I was looking for a song sung by a child artist and this song happened to be sung by Ms Harini when she was 15 years old. I shared this song with Prema Akka & Vaidehi Akka, they loved it. Every day I would listen to the song, for me to get engulfed in it. As there was a language barrier, I had to prepare myself a lot more than required. Word by word translation is what I needed, all thanks to the internet.
Once I understood the lyrics, the choreography was the next step. I am not a trained dancer, I have learnt Bharatnatyam from a few teachers but it was just to fulfil my void. I lacked the confidence to choreograph or even dance, I watched a few videos of dancers performing for this song; this inspired me. Whenever I had time, I would listen to the song and choreograph steps in my head; be it during lunch or even when I am conversing with someone. The song kept ringing in my head, non-stop!
10 days prior to Children’s Day, we started our practice. I have no dreams to be a performer, neither did I anticipate that I will be performing someday in front of my lovely children.
The first few steps and act was a bit challenging to communicate exactly how I had imagined. The first day was satisfactory but not as much as I expected it to be, I was still under-confident. The second day it all appeared like magic, dance flew through our nerves and showed up on our face.
This song will always remain as a song that let a dancer out of me, a performer out of me, a choreographer out of me, an artist out of me.
There it still rings in my head, “Atho pogindrathu aasai megam…” There it is where it grooves my heartbeats.