Monday 27 September 2010

Mothers by daughters - My mother - Ileana Citaristi

I was rehearsing for my new production 'Karuna' inspired by Mother Teresa's life when the phone rang on the 2nd of August: “Ile, mother has left us one hour ago.” My brother's voice was choked; the phone fell from my hands. She had been sick for the last few months. I had visited her thrice in the hospital, last time in July, along with the members of my troupe. She had been looking forward to our July program in Bergamo, my home town. We had been talking about it over the phone, making plans about where the artistes would stay and which items we should do, until that fatal brain hemorrhage happened in February, after which she had been silent, closed in her own world, but still alive, still listening to our tales, giving a few signs of recognizing us like the tears which dropped from her eyes when I first visited her in the hospital in March.

She was not a dancer or a musician or an artist of any sort; she has been a devoted wife all through her life. I used to envy my father and at times be jealous of him. Even during the few days I would return home, I rarely could have her all by myself. I always thought it was my right perhaps because during my childhood, I had been deprived of her presence and attentions since, being a headmistress, she used to leave home every day in the morning and come back only late in the afternoons.

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Wednesday 4 August 2010

Mothers by daughters - Aai: my dearest mother - Jhelum Paranjape

Aai - that's what we say for mother, in my language - Marathi, the mother tongue of Maharashtra. Aai loved dance, she still does. She is a natural dancer. She was born with dance in her, and her body was nothing but grace and poise. But ...Why am I saying 'was'...? I should say, 'is'...! Today, even at 80 and with joint problems, one can see that inherent grace and poise...and a free spirit... she gets up spontaneously at any party when the music comes on and dances; she does that every year when it rains for the first time too, gets drenched dancing in the rains...I really am lucky, for I have inherited this natural grace and poise. And I must say her beautiful curvaceous bottom too... these three factors are a definite 'add on' for the Odissi dance style.

During the initial stages of my dance career, we all would rag her. Well...not me, but the others in the family... that my dance is actually her surrogate ambition. She was very fond of dance. But her father, a very traditional orthodox man who had stopped even my grandma playing the dilruba after marriage, just did not have the ability to understand that there is music in life, so how could she even dream or think about dance...?

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