Friday, April 12, 2013


It has been a while and this memory refuses to wane.

I had just rushed into a vilAsininAtyam recital by Swapnasundari at Kalakshetra; I was late by about an hour. She was wrapping a padam up.

This was a jAvaLi in kedaragowLai beginning 'attavAru'. I do not comprehend Telugu much. She translated it for us - a mugda nayikA, an inexperienced adolescent, yearns for a night's union with her beloved before she is taken away to her husband's place by her mother-in-law.

I understand abhinaya and this is my rough rewriting of what i saw.

I was much younger 
and unaware
as i jumped around and played,
my loving mother 
undid my two swaying pigtails
to make one - one plait for each decade that i shall be his -
behind my head,
and wrapped me with other prickly jewelry
and those bangles, whose jingle i fell for, that morning.

I did not get why my cloth 
was tied to his.

Had i known of your handsome self, 
had i known then of you, O Gopala,
i would have cried 
at least a voice louder
that i be yours.

I don't joke when my wedding knot weighs me down.
The sun shall rise soon; They are here to take me away.

Give me this moment. 

A jAvaLi is usually a fast paced piece, as this was as well. This huge old lady transformed into a light-footed child. And the two pigtails, as she slowly undid them, told me what it may feel to actually be 'given-away' unaware. I doubt if i have felt the weight of objectification ever before like i did then; A parakIyA* suddenly made sense; so did the abhisArikA**.

Art made sense.

Many a conversation with my friends have passed where i jokingly argued for child-marriage. I take them back, now. I am sorry.


*parakIyA is a woman whose loyality lies or has to lie with a man other than her beloved.

**abhisArikA is a woman who sneaks out to meet her beloved.


Prasanna said...

Transforming experience, was it? :)

ramya said...

A very engaging post. And, a lovely description of the abhinaya!