Friday, 6 January 2012

Obit/Tribute - KJ Sarasa: The first light that led me to the Attic - Swarnamalya Ganesh

I have so much more to say but can’t put down over 2 decades of very eventful years here at once. I feel it is only divine ordain that I had the opportunity to learn from such a great guru.  She was a pioneer and a leader, not only to women nattuvanar lineage but to the gender at large. I would like to believe that I have imbibed in me not only dance, music and teaching from her but also her strong personality and ability to face challenges and emerge a winner.

On January 2, 2012, my guru, my guiding light, my mentor, Sarasa ma attained the lotus feet of the Lord. I was there all day with her, hoping she would wake up and call me “Swarna…inga vaa paa.” She didn’t. It seems she has fulfilled all that she was born to do. She has been a good daughter, and a great sister who took care of the entire family. She was a student par excellence, a shadow like follower of Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai, a very devoted mother to her sister’s daughters. But above all of, she was the greatest teacher. She imparted dance, music and values to her disciples as if it were the very air we breathe. I will always miss you, my dear Sarasa ma, Sarasa teacher. I know that you will always look upon me with affection and protective motherly care and bless me, like you always have. 


  1. so amazing.....!

  2. Dear Swarnamalya,

    I am touched by the way you have penned your experiences with Sarasa amma. All I can say is you have been very fortunate to be trained by her. Am sure her blessings would continue to flow into all the dancers, this is a great loss to the field of dance.

    India has failed in honoring some of the best people who deserved Padma awards and amma is the foremost of them. She has crossed all those levels of receiving any awards and as you rightly mentioned the real 'padma' award for her is her disciples.

    Good luck to you and all lucky students of amma.

    Kind regards,
    Prof Vasanth Kiran

  3. Dear Swarnamalya,

    I was one of the students in sarasalaya and did my salangai pooja and arengetram under Sarasamma. This was way back in 1977. I stopped dancing too soon after that and never looked back. I read your article on her and it bought tears to my eyes as Sarasamma could always make an individual feel that she was the best student in her class. As my Arangetram was nearing my parents used to feel that I had to practice a lot and they used to feel I had to be fed with food, Sarasamma would reassure them and tell that she would feed me in her house. I used to feel so honoured sitting next to her and eating the same food. The classes she took for me after that would only be for me. I regret now that not once after 1977 did I look up at her as emotionally our family too was coping up with my fathers death. She was is and will be a person close to our heart and synonomous with dance. May her soul rest in peace!
    Thank you.
    Asha Menon, Doha, Qatar.