Memories of Bharata Kalanjali, Anna & Akka

Priya Mohan

I dont know where to begin about my experiences in Bharathakalanjali with master and akka but I am going try and write it as precisely as I can.

I have been learning from Master and akka for the past 15 years and have had many memorable days at Bharatakalanjali.It was(is) my second home.I learnt a lot from Master and akka who have been like parents to me.They are gurus in the "true" sense of the word. Not only have they taught me (and many of my classmates) how to dance well but have helped us become better human beings.We know a lot about our culture,values and traditions thanks to them. I remember how much I learnt on the dance tours by just being with them. I learnt how to deal with various people from all over the world,how to talk in front of an audience, how to behave,everything.

Now if I am confident and able to present myself well in another country without being the slightest  bit uncomfortable, I know that they are one of the main reasons for it. Master and Akka have composed a few items which they thought would suit me. One of my favourites is a Thillana which is a composition of Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman in Brindavani Raagam.This was composed for my arangetram and is according to me one of their best Thillana compositions. Another favourite is a Javali in kalyani Raagam "Yenthati Kulukke" which I thoroughly enjoy performing. A padam in kedaragowla raagam, "ariya paruvam" and an ashtapadi "thava virahe" is another favourite of mine which was also composed for me many years ago.

There are so many more compositions that were not composed on me but I think are fantastic and great to perform. I am specially fond of "sakhiye varnam" in anandabhairavi raagam since it was the first varnam which was taught to me for my arangetram. I also like are Raama varnam in ragam karaharapriya, Ninne varnam in atana raagam. Maata Paraashakti in ragamalika with brilliant jatis and a universal favourite is the nrittaswaravali, a jatiswaram in ragamalika and taalamalika.

Apart from these,there are some compostitions that I would love to see master and akka perform time and again. I can see master perform "yenna thavam", "vazhi maraikirude" and "bhaja mana  raama" a million times and would want to see it another trillion times!!! Akka is so phenomenal when she performs the ashtapadi "saa virahe" and "kuyile". Akka's adavus till now are the best I have ever seen. Her aramandi, "kai shuddham" is fantastic, I wish I could do it as well as her. I can probably go on and on but I think I will stop here.