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Maya Rao: A legend is no more
- Ashish Mohan Khokar

September 2, 2014

Photo: Sanjeev Nair

Great guru of dance, most gracious lady dancer/teacher/guru/mentor most respected and loved "didi" Maya Rao is no more. Her end came as she lived, smiling, despite hardships. She complained of chest pain, her dancer daughter Madhu took her to nearby Ramaiah hospital. She was in fine fettle and then gone. Medical heroics were tried, to no avail. Born on May 2, 1928 in same city, Bangalore, she breathed her last in the early hours of September 1, 2014 near the auspicious brahma muhurtam.

Just last week she had completed all pujas like Krishna homam and Ganesh Chaturthi and was happy at family reunions. It seems she had taken leave of all. She even paid the pujari in advance! Her book recently released last month will now be her farewell to all and her last production 'Kathak through the Ages,' a memory bank.

She passed on a happy soul. In the 45 years I've known her from Delhi days and last 15 in Bangalore, she was a mother figure to not just many of us but all students, even stray cats that came her way. She was ever smiling, ever gracious and ever kind. Despite many hardships, her sthayi bhava was her smile and graciousness in thought and deed. The hundreds of well wishers and fans she leaves behind and students are a legion. She will be long remembered and recalled for her greatness as a guru but also graciousness as a human being. Despite traditional family origins, she had a modern mind, in every which way and loved all shades of opinion and people. Awards didn't matter and she was neutral in almost all situations. She taught us to value art, value life and above all to try and become a good human being.

Gracious Guru Maya Rao
by Ashish Mohan Khokar

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