Memories of Bharata Kalanjali, Anna & Akka

Harinakshi (Dolly) Desai

When I went to Chennai to do my advance course under Guruji Dhananjay and Shanta Akka, I was full of doubts in my mind. Leaving my parents and my State Gujarat, and going to a place where I did not know anyone or the language of that State was really bad, but not knowing the people under whom I was going to study was worse. Even today I remember my first meeting with them. Guruji's loving smile made me feel welcome and Akka's quiet but sympathetic approach made me easy. I never knew at that time that I am meeting two people who will influence my life so deeply not only in dance but in every aspect of my life. They never allowed me to feel that I was away from home. They were loving teachers as well as my guide. They taught me with such loving care that it made my stay there easy and the golden period of my life. Their devotion to dance, their hard work and their method of teaching student has left it's indelible print on my mind.

They opened my eyes to the vast knowledge of dance and today in my own institution as a teacher I try to be like them. Their approach to dance helped me in becoming a professional dancer and a teacher. Without saying anything, by their behaviour, they taught me how to live life in true sense.

In their training with students they are stern, perfect and loving but most of all patient. Whenever I think of them my heart is full of love and loyalty towards them. I am very happy to understand that not only I, but each one of us, who have studied under them has something of them within us. They live in our hearts.

My favourite item - Ganesha Shabdam and Atana Varnam.

At the time of my programme, Guruji composed, specially for me, a Geetgovind "Astapadi" - 'Nibhrut Nikunj Griham Gataya Nishi'.