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I'm also coming!
- Rama Vaidyanathan

September 27, 2016

She was nine months pregnant with her fourth child and was an ardent dance lover. Never learnt it formally, but over the years had developed a deep understanding of the dance form as well as its content. She went to watch the prima donna Yamini Krishnamurthy perform at the College of Military Engineering, Pune, where her Army officer husband was posted. So overwhelmed was she by the dance that the infant inside her womb started kicking with great vigour. To top it all, much to the chagrin of the people around her she with her huge belly stood up on a chair to get a better view of the dancer's feet dancing the Tarangam! "This child inside me has to learn dance from this dancer!"she declared to herself.

That night Madhavi Gopalakrishnan gave birth to me. We moved to Delhi, and when I turned six she took me to Yamini Krishnamurthy and enrolled me in Bharatanatyam classes. Looks like the choice of Guru was made even before I was born! Thus began my Mother's selfless support in my journey as a dancer. For twelve years she accompanied me to my classes taking the long and tiring journey of two buses and one autorickshaw ride, and that was just one way! The infamous Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses offered several adventures to the mother daughter duo, including jumping into moving buses, standing and jostling through the whole 45 minutes journey, and of course sometimes with me in and she out and the bus trudging off leaving her screaming in panic.

My mother, steeped in spirituality, was constantly engaged in deep studies of the scriptures. She gave discourses which have had a profound effect in shaping me. She was my in-house resource person, helping me with the research and interpretation of verses from the Puranas. Her whole life revolved around my dance, my programs, tours, rehearsals, students….. She was thrilled when I chose to marry a man whose mother was an established dancer, Saroja Vaidyanathan- hence quelling all her fears of her daughter not being able to pursue dance after marriage.

There was nothing more she liked than to accompany me to my performances in India and all over the world. Of course after every performance the customary review was a must! It was a blessing to have someone who praises or critiques you without an agenda, someone who says, "I'm also coming" to a performance with immense enthusiasm. Today, months after she has passed on, when I am on my way to a performance I still hear her say, "I'm also coming!" And I feel her sitting in the audience reviewing my performance giving me boundless strength, living on through my dance...

Ammay, this is for you.

Rama Vaidyanathan is one of India's top Bharatanatyam performers and is well known all over the world. She has trained intensively under the legendary dancer Yamini Krishnamurty and under the guidance of Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan. Rama has been featured at several major dance venues in India and abroad.

Hello Rama Chechi,
I am always your great fan and this post is so touching, a tribute to your Amma. I could see Dakshina following your fluid feet in the same pace of yours. You are blessed to have a wonderful daughter who is chasing your moves and steps and Dakshina blessed to get a wonderful mother and Guru like you.
Keep writing.
Priya Menon (Nov 27, 2016)

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