Guru Indra Rajan has left behind a legacy to cherish. Born in 1943, she was a multifaceted, illustrious exponent of Bharatnatyam, who hailed from a household of dancers and musicians and it was this custom that she handed onto dancers like me, who educated below her.
I started studying from her in 1978, and lived in gurukula in Sharadapuram in Mylapore, Chennai. Initially, I discovered it troublesome to keep away from the comforts of house, however my ardour and Indra amma’s dedication to instructing made me proceed with the coaching. Serving to my guru along with her every day chores made me realise how dance outlined her existence. She would compose jathis even when operating errands.
There have been two contrasting sides to her persona. A tricky taskmaster, she additionally had an excellent sense of humour and would usually make witty remarks.
One of many experiences closest to my coronary heart is my ‘salangai puja’. The earlier night, after ending my lengthy apply session, I went to mattress early. However at round 12.30 a.m., Indramma woke me up and advised me to practise. I danced until 3 a.m. and went again to sleep. Nonetheless, she woke me at 5.30 a.m. by sprinkling water on my face and mentioned that it was time to practise once more. She would say, “Summa viru viru nu irukkanaum (one ought to at all times be lively).” Her rendering of jathis with vigour, readability and precision lent an edge to the dance.
Her experience in laya introduced her in contact with vidwan guru Kaaraikudi Mani. Probably the most thrilling second of my life was when guru Mani conceived the thought of a programme that featured three generations — Indra amma, myself and my college students.
It has additionally been a memorable expertise for my dancer-daughter, Vyshnavie Sainath, who educated below this legendary guru.
For the previous few years, she had been residing in a senior residents house in Coimbatore. Her college students from throughout the globe ensured she led a snug life until her final breath. We’re grateful to mridangist T. Viswanathan and his household for his or her help.
That she handed away on Worldwide Dance Day (April 29) reveals her divine join with the artwork.
The author is a senior Bharatanatyam dancer.