Rhythm Divine : Of grit and guts

Rhythm Divine : Of grit and guts

Radhika Rajamani Classical dancer Subashni Giridhar recovered from a knee surgery for aA multi-ligament tear to perform Bharatanatyam again She...

Radhika Rajamani

of2Classical dancer Subashni Giridhar recovered from a knee surgery for aA multi-ligament tear to perform Bharatanatyam again

She juggles her profession as a chartered accountant and passion as a Bharatanatyam dancer besides running her home with ease and felicity. Trained in the traditional Tanjore style, Subashni Giridhar has found inner bliss through dance. She has been giving solo performances for more than two decades at a national level since her arangetram in 1990.

However, due to a fall two years ago, she was out of action as she had to undergo a knee surgery but with sheer grit and guts she bounced back on stage recently giving her very first performance at Ravindra Bharathi in Hyderabad recently. Although she has been born and brought up in Mumbai she will be relocating to Hyderabad shortly.

The fall Subhashni had on October 28, 2011, was pretty bad. But she had committed to a performance at the ISKON temple at Juhu, Mumbai on October 30 and she honoured the commitment. "The doctor said it was a multi-ligament tear and you are barely able to stand. I had to give the performance as it was printed in the newspaper. I told him I will avoid padams and varnams. I have complete faith in God. I surrendered to God and did the programme swallowing some painkillers." A few weeks after she was laid down she had to undergo the arthroscopic surgery (keyhole surgery) in Mumbai."

The recuperation and recovery was a slow and arduous process. "Initially I had to use a walker, later a knee brace for three weeks and eventually resort to physiotherapy. The muscles in the operated leg were dead due to the knee brace which kept the leg straight though. Then the physiotherapy began. I used to do what the hospital prescribed and go to the gym as well. After seven weeks I started cycling and carrying weights. Then it was tread mill. At the end of 21 weeks I was fine but not to the extent of dancing the whole repertoire. I started off with simple padams. It was painful. But I had to be on stage once again. It was faith in God and his blessings that made get back to dance."

In this dark hour it was her implicit faith in God and her husband's support which kept her going. "I knew god would make me dance. I believe in the Vaishnavite doctrine of sharanagati � surrender to god). When I was bedridden my husband not just gave me moral support but also took care of the home besides going to his office." After a year she had recovered and slowly practised her dance and finally gave her performance in Hyderabad. This surely proves that where there's a will there's a way. Perseverance and dedication surely bears fruit. On World Dance Day (April 28) Subashni will be performing in Bengaluru.

Subashni's career as a chartered accountant too is quite flourishing. She ably juggles her home and career. Dance has helped her in many ways. "It ensures physical fitness and other health benefits too. When I was being operated my blood pressure and sugar were normal. One inhales better." Dance and education went on simultaneously for Subashni. "Dance also helps in focus, determination, memory, sharpness."

Though she rigorously trained in the Thanjavur style she did not want to make dance her profession but let it remain her passion. "You cannot equate everything in monetary terms. Dance gives inner bliss." Her spiritual inclination since a young age has helped her enormously. "I connect to God and it's because of god's miracle that I'm back on stage.

She has used her classical training to choreograph concepts like navarasas in the life of a student till he becomes a professional, her mother's (Lakshmi Raghavan) compositions, the CA (chartered accountancy) motto and emblem with abhinaya and mudras. "I want to look at management themes in dance. I have already written a paper on that." She also learnt Kuchipudi under Shobha Naidu for two years.

Subashni also urges that "more media coverage on the arts is needed for encouragement."She feels with "time management one can manage dance and a career too. Art can continue with profession and studies. The interest has to come from within and parents should cultivate this passion for the arts in the youngsters. We have this rich culture. I must pass this on in an enriched form to the future generation," she signs off on this hopeful note.

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