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
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.