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Parvati, my rock!
- Geeta Chandran

May 27, 2016

As an only child, from early years on, my mother was my whole universe. While my adoring father was busy working for the Government of India, my mother dedicated her entire existence to bringing me up. And what a determined upbringing I had.

Despite her abundant love for me, that never deflected her from her ambition for me. I had to excel in everything! Dance, music, sports and academics. I was immersed in everything and pushed by her to excel. There was no scope for any laxity in any. And never a choice if I could do just one activity and not the others. So she micro-managed my schedule and accompanied me everywhere.

I was made to get up very early in the morning to practise my music. Then off to school, return and finish homework and then trot off to either dance class or music class. Then back late evening to study till I would simply nod off to sleep.

My mother had her own unique way of handling issues. I remember, one dance class when my teacher Swarna Saraswathy Amma was unfair (according to me). I rebelled and complained bitterly to my mother. She gave me a patient hearing, patted my hair and calmed me down. But come next dance class, and I was subtly returned to Swarnamma. It was her commitment to my learning the arts that propelled me to achieve whatever I have done. Full credit goes to her for keeping me ahead of everyone else and keeping her sights very high.

She was a fine critic too who analysed with fine nuances every show and performance we attended. That critical eye helped me develop my own high standards and my own critical faculties that I hold dear to this day.

It is only her tempestuous passion, her icha-yagna and sampoorna commitment and unshakeable cussedness that propelled me to become an artist.

Geeta Chandran, Founder-President of Natya Vriksha, engages in a strategic range of dance-related activities: performing, teaching, conducting, singing, collaborating, organizing, writing and speaking to new youth audiences. Geeta was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India in 2007. In 2014-2015, Geeta marked four decades of her engagement with dance since her arangetram in 1974.

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