Saturday 25 April 2020

With "a lover's smile": Strengthening resolve in the times of Corona - Soch: Column by Dr. Arshiya Sethi

I am a news junkie. That is a genuine confession. I push sleep to look at the news-apps on my phone, just one more time. Recently, my two addictions, news and dance, went on to imbricate. Watching news reports and social media entries pertaining to the clouds cast by the Corona virus, I encountered, somewhat unexpectedly, a dance story on the popular news site, Lallantop. It came as a complete surprise. In the age of diyas, candles and torches, this was a genuine ray of light. Based on Kuldeep Mishra's Hindi poem, recited by him too, NCR based Kathak dancer Mrinalini, who prefers to go only with one name, a twenty-six year old data scientist working at an analytics firm, did an impromptu five minute performance, in what looks like the corridor of an apartment block, possibly her apartment block, since we are in a lockdown.

It took Mrinalini exactly an hour to come up with this choreography, after her mother introduced her to the poem. Like all young, digitally savvy people, quick fingered at making videos and sharing them on various interactive platforms, Mrinalini too posted a recording of it on the photo and video sharing platform, Instagram. While the poetry, when she heard it, may have touched a chord in her, leading her to do this choreography, and maybe her only purpose in making it was to find escape in dance during this time, her artistry apparently touched a chord in several thousand hearts and became a viral hit, collecting over 35000 views. Its hashtag #zarakathakcorona was gripping enough, and its message "India fights Corona" short, sweet and punchy! The comments were encouraging, with people liking it as something different, finding hope in it, and referring to it as the best thing they had seen in this period of quarantine. You can see the choreography here

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