Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sickness and Health

Note: Here's something I wrote and shared with a bunch of friends by email sometime in late October 2009. I was in Washington, DC, and could not perform at a festival as planned. My knee injury had acted up, and I had to take a call and refrain from performing at the event which was, in fact, the main reason for being there in DC.My personal angst at not being able to perform notwithstanding, the festival and shows were a great success. Dakshina's (the company) team of seven dancers presented "Karna," a new work created by Daniel Singh and me, very beautifully.

My dear dancers,

I don't think I need to tell you that I was quite saddened about not being able to dance in the festival this past weekend (the last weekend of Oct 2009). It sort of became acute on the second day (Saturday), when it felt like everyone was dancing and it was only I who could not. So, after the matinee show on Saturday, I came home to cry. I did not want to sulk in front of everyone. But I am sure I did that too!

I also quietly admitted one truth to myself: that besides feeling bad for not dancing, I was jealous of you all. I just decided to face that fact, have a good cry, and get it over with. And that's what I did. 

Something really beautiful and paradigm-shifting happened after that. While walking back to the theater, I found myself humming the lines of a song that I have not remembered in months. It is a song by Subramanya Bharathiyar, one of Tamil's most dearest poets. The lines of this particular song go like this:

காயிலே புளிப்பதென்னே கண்ணப்பெருமானே - நீ 

கனியிலே இனிப்பதென்னே கண்ணப்பெருமானே ........

How do you taste so sour in this raw fruit, Oh, Kanna!
How do you taste so sweet in this ripe one, Oh Kanna!

And then, 

நோயிலே படுப்பதென்னே கண்ணப்பெருமானே - நீ

நோன்பிலே உயிர்ப்பதென்னே கண்ணப்பெருமானே 

You are what lies enervated in illness, Oh, Kanna!
You are what springs alive after a fast, Oh, Kanna!

Never before has the song made sense to me in the spectacular light in which I occurred to me at that moment. If I love my dancing, agile self, I must also love my healing, wounded body, for it is all "Kanna" finally! If I can offer my dancing body in prayer, I can offer by limping one too! :) That shift was tectonic in scale. 

I wanted to share this experience with you.


Anonymous said...


Vrinda said...

What a beautiful thought Ani! Life has a weird way of teaching you its best lessons, don't you think?

"If I can offer my dancing body in prayer, I can offer by limping one too!" How true that. Blessed be!


Anonymous said...

Oh wow. That is beautiful and really profound (especially imagining how painful it would've been for you to not be able to do what you were there for to begin with). But, wow...I guess life as it has turned out since then is also testament to why what happened then, did?!

I'm so grateful that you are in my life :-)

Love you,

Anonymous said...


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umaa said...

that was really nice ani...we are all very depressed when it comes to not being able to finally, we are dancing to the tunes of Him (whichever force of nature you may think it is)....isnt it?? So we have to accept both sides of it....we fail to realise that....good post by the way...:)

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