Monday, 29 July 2013

Kalidas' Nayikas in Odissi Dance

In my post 'An American Odyssey' of 25th Sept. 2012, I have added a video of Kalidas's heroines presented by the American danseuse Sharon Lowen in Odissi dance.

Here is another video on Kalidas's nayikas in Odissi dance, this one presented by Anandi Ramachandran.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Daughter-in-law

God has given me two wonderful gifts in the form of two daughters; I do not have a son. Yet recently I got a still more wonderful gift: a brand new daughter-in-law!

My younger brother expired about 3 years ago; his wife had predeceased him. Their two sons are attached to us. I had constructed a house long back and had no opportunity of living in it till my retirement 4 years ago. The building has a separate, independent and self-contained room. This was like a family guest house. Whichever member of our family, including me, visited this State Capital for some work, would stay there and attend to the purpose of his/her visit. Years ago, the younger son of this brother of mine occupied this room when he came to Bhubaneswar for studies. His parents were alive then. The older boy was studying elsewhere and after taking up a job, now lives where his job takes him. Soon after my retirement and his father’s death, the younger boy got a non-transferable job at the place and so, continues to live in that room and with us. Now we are a four-some: the wife, me and these two nephews, who are like our two sons.

After the death of my younger brother, the pleasant job of getting the boys married fell on us.

There was this reed of pretty girl, who is very distantly related to us. She and the elder boy had several occasions to meet at social events. They developed a liking for each other. He let this known to us. Due to some reasons which are not relevant to mention here, a few members of our extended family did not like the match. However, in so many subtle and not-so-subtle words, he made it transparent to us that he would like only her - and no other girl- as his life-partner.  I spoke to them. Some were persuaded; others acquiesced in.

So the proposal was taken ahead. The wife and I took charge. The marriage took place 2 weeks ago. Everything went off almost as planned.

One thing that touched and moved me was the way the girl wept copiously when she finally left her parents’ house for her new home. It was really heart-rending and touched my emotions. In the car that she was brought to our house, I was sitting in the front; the newly-wedded youngsters were in the back-seat. The journey took three quarters of an hour. Weeping gave way to sobbing and her sobbing went on over half the way. She could not still regain control over her emotions and even after the sobbing slowed down, her convulsive catching of breath continued till we almost reached the door-steps of our house.

This took me back to my childhood days. The weeping of a young bride at the time of leaving for her husband’s house was a much more prolonged affair then. The bride would catch hold of her mother, father, brothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, uncles, aunts and most other members of her parental family one by one and would weep bitterly and really hard, so hard that she would often faint. Ahead of the departure-time, the family-members would be ready with all methods to revive her. Due to deep weeping, the brides’ teeth would sometimes get locked as she fainted. Her jaws would be separated with the help of keys.

There were a number of weeping-songs that the would-be bride would start learning and practicing with her friends much before the marriage. There is a rich literature of such lyrics in Odia. These were folk-songs in which the bride would entreat and beseech her parents and others about how difficult her life would be in her husband’s place. (I have a book of collection of these songs.)    

All these are past. In those days girls were always living in the protective environment of their parents’ houses. They would never have to leave their homes before marriage except of course for visits to relatives. With the spread of female-education, girls started going to schools away from home and to colleges far away. They started staying in college-hostels and women’s-hostels in cities. This way, girls, many of whom took jobs after education, started living away from parents and developed a sense of independence. Pangs of separation from parents got diluted and so leaving for her husband’s house after marriage became less and less painful for a girl. Weeping bitterly at the time of leaving the parental home after marriage, lost its strength and depth. This literature is now extinct and now can be accessed only at Research Centres.

This girl whom we brought to our as our niece-in-law, was just out of her Degree College. I gathered that she had always lived in the cocoon of parental care. She had studied in a college near her home and so, had never to stay in a hostel. She is the youngest daughter and as such her parents always fussed over and hovered around her taking care she would not face the slightest difficulty in anything or anywhere.

As I have said, I have no son. I have seen and have been told that in bringing up children, it is easier to handle girls than to manage boys, particularly adolescent boys. Yet, as luck would have it, we have been handed down two boys - without having to go through the task of bringing them up. Now, we have been gifted with a daughter-in-law; a second one would come in a couple of years hence.

My nephews address me as uncle – as they were doing before the death of their parents. This new addition to our family calls me ‘Bapa’ (father). Early morning everyday, after taking bath, she comes to me and touches my feet.   

We had got two ready-made sons; now we have got a daughter-in-law.

The couple will leave for his place of work in a few days. The pangs of separation are being transferred to the two of us.:(((((((((((((

Just before her entry to our house, she was weeping; now her smiles brighten up wherever she goes. Our life is becoming fuller:)))))))))))))))))) 


 BRIDES OF INDIA - Postage Stamps:

Kashmiri Bride
Kashmiri Bride
Tamil Bride
Tamil Bride
Rajasthani Bride
Rajasthani Bride
Bengali Bride

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Lord Shiva, Nataraja, is the original dancer. The title Natya Shashtra, the definitive treatise on dance,is derived from his name.

I loved this clip on Nataraja Dance. Here it is: 

This dance is apparently inspired by a statute of the dancing Lord Shiva Inside a ring-like device in a  temple in Tamil Nadu.

A replica of this statue occupies a pride of place in my drawing room. Most visitors admire it and often, it serves as a good conversation-piece.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Here is a wonderful clip on Odissi dance: