Memories of Bharata Kalanjali, Anna & Akka

Gayatri Krishnamurthy
Our Gurus our Guiding light

I am Gayatri Krishnamurthy one of the “Trio sisters,” now settled in Sydney(Australia). I am happy to be called one of the senior students of the Dhananjayan and excited to hear that Barathakalanjali is launching its website. As a librarian, working in the information field, I am constantly using the web to seek information. I am thrilled to hear that in the future I will be able to login to the Barathakalanjali’s webpage and feel the happiness and belonging I felt in my younger days when I was a part of this great institution. I hope, I will be able to capture all those joyous moments we shared with our teachers.

My memory is as fresh and green with every thing my teachers thought me and all the life’s greatest lessons we learnt by just observing their life. They were our living examples, all our hopes and motivation in life and every moment we aspired to be like them and tried to emulate their ways. Not that their geniuses (genii) could have been copied, but certainly their simple ways of life and their strong faith that hard work will eventually be rewarded, even when returns are not so easily forthcoming was a lesson indeed to be learnt.

I’ve known the Dhananjayans for nearly three decades and it is nothing but admiration that we have for our Gurus. Now recollecting the past, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been simply amazed at their style of teaching values to their students. I must confess that it is the training that we acquired at Bharatakalanjali that has taught us several disciplines in life. I owe it all to my gurus.

Living so far away from my sisters and the rest of my family, I always think of the most pleasant moments of my childhood. And here I should confess that most of them in some way were linked to my Gurus. Be it the small story telling sessions in the make up room, or travelling on the train with them for dance performances or simply time spent talking with my Master when he had some time to spare in his office. Not to forget those happy moments spent with Akka trying to pack costume boxes or painting the pots and the sticks used in folk dances or ironing/ mending clothes. It is just by doing things with them I’ve learnt several values, which come in handy now when I am on my own trying to cope up with my work and running my family. I don’t know what gurukulam system is, but only know the Dhananjayan’s homely atmosphere given to us.

My mother sent us to the Dhananjayans who lived close to where we lived. We were three sisters all one year apart, should say more than a handful for my mother to handle. That is how our great association with dancing began. Eventually it became a passion and a driving force for both my sisters. Though I secretly hoped that the “Trio sisters” would suddenly become a big hit on the stage. That dream stayed a drem, but yet I am happy those memories of the dream are still alive in me. We were from a very middle class family and did not have any aspirations to make it big in dance any way. But of course any young mind has its own dreams and hopes, and at some point I did want to make it big in dance. At one point, I even neglected my studies and contemplated on taking dancing my profession and so started teaching at Barathakalanjali. But eventually, I took up librarian ship as my profession and went far away from dance.

Though my dreams of becoming a great dancer never became a reality, the pleasure of learning the great art from the great gurus is indeed a valuable treasure and the most precious thing that I’ve earned in my life.

My guru is my guiding light and I am a great admirer of his ways. Even as a young child I tried to copy him - both in dancing and in life. Now, I still think of him fondly, when ever I hear Indian music or practise my items. Should I be asked what I like to achieve in life. The answer would be - “I want to be like my Guru”. I know that’s not an easy task, but I will try my best to emulate his ways.

Into the future there is still that sliver lining in my cloud and I hope to teach dance and be associated with the most precious gift that my gurus have given me.