Oh who? Mallika Sarabhai?

I was wandering aimlessly near Broadway last evening. The sun was already set, there was a fine  breeze about-cooling my soul, making my hair dance and lifting my spirits. The moon, already risen hung on my shoulder and was walking with me in an arms distance.

Nights are always beautiful near the sea. The marine drive was abuzz with normal activities; peanut vendors making noise with their iron tawa hitting on their kadai, tak tak tak it had a rhythm which only these boys could bring to perfection. The Yadav chat walas were preparing numerous chats for innumerous men and woman standing around them; huddled families walking past me, some even pushing me out of their way, the trees were lit in festival lights – red, green, blue, yellow and white. Last year had been all blue which I think was better.

The sea looks black; there is a tranquility in the soft rocking waves on a calm sea, it makes you feel like a baby safe again in  the crook of a mothers arms. The container terminal looms in the distance like a messiah of lights; its reflection in the dark waters making for an altruistic twin image!

container terminal

A ship crosses the port and honks its horn loudly, music drifts to the shore from a colourfuly lit sightseeing tourist boat, someone is clapping to the merry music. A dance is also on inside. Ferry boats cross each other. There were many specks of tiny lights in the sea here and there. It was a near perfect evening. Well, anywhere near the sea is always perfect for me.

I keep walking, swaying my hands and my favorite sling bag sways along too. The husband is on the phone walking a little ahead of me. We see an expo happening in the marine drive grounds named ‘Bharateeyam’. It looked inviting, the name for one and the entrance was designed like the Gateway of India. We decide to go in. We pass the ticket checkers  and see a lot of fun stuff like a giant wheel and merry go rounds inside the ground but nothing is started yet. It is the first day.


We enter the white tents that are stalls, but some of them are yet to be opened . Only a few selling kozhikode halwas, pickles,jute bags, hand made jewellery, marayoor jaggery and the like were open.There was also some stalls about Kerala police and Kerala tourism who were conducting it.  I was in no historical mood to read what Kerala police did in 1886 or 1986 and what their uniform was then!

Literally bored we walk out and then head straight to the eatery section hopefully. There was a rice boat shaped stall and we go in. The bearer beams seeing his first customers but it is all non vegetarian dishes. We walk past it. Most of the stalls are, I realized later. Sunken hear ted I settle for a sugar cane juice which was too watery. The ice has melted in the famous Kochi humidity.

The hopeful smile before entering the rice boat shaped stall…:P

We walk out of the cafeteria section and see a grand stage set in the back of the expo where some cultural activities are going on. We decide to watch it for sometime. Well anything to compensate for the 200 bucks given at the counter!

On the stage, a dance drama rendering is going on. Two young girls dressed as bharatanatyam dancers come on stage be hing a man in a long kurta pajama. They follow him like kids behind pied piper. But they look half dressed,the dress and steps looks like bharatanatyam but something is amiss. Someone is narrating the gestures and they are demonstrating it to perfection.

We sit somewhere in the middle. There are hardly 50 people in the audience. A huge console is set up in the middle of the tent and there are too many people and cameras crammed in it. A huge woman is commanding something to someone over the headphone. Once their piece is done, the 2 dancers walk to the side stage after an elaborate Namaste.

The voice over comes again  and talks about a certain goddess in Hindu mythology  and suddenly the lights are off and a spot light comes on and a figure appears. It is a woman dressed in black. She is dressed like an odissi  and a bharatanatyam dancer. Oh a contemporary fusion. People are walking in more numbers to watch her.

I watch with great enthusiasm. However she looks tired. The steps and mudras misses the grace and perfection of coveted dancers. Like how an old dance teacher would demonstrate to an audience. People around me are watching with great interest. A girl in front of me is almost sitting on the edge of her chair and keenly watching the recital. A few others are taking in the talam – heads swaying to the rhythm of the beats.

I lean over to the husband and whisper ‘can we go’? He is more than happy to. ‘You dint like it?’ He asks me as we walk out. ‘No there is no perfection to the dance and mudras’ I reply like I am a trained classical dancer matteroffacfdly! ‘The kids in Annu’s dance school can do a better job than this, wonder why we paid 200 rs for this?’  I add unnecessarily. On the way back we see a ring a hop and try our luck and I win a Lux soap. 😀 and sufficed with that we go home.

Today morning I am having my tea and he calls me from the bedroom.

‘Hey you know who is Malika Sarabhai?’he asks.

‘Yes of course,  who doesn’t know her ? she is one of the famous dancers in India. Isn’t she the daughter of Vikram Sarabhai after the vikram sarabhai space center? I squeeze out my knowledge on the Sarabhais.

‘ Have you seen her dance’? He asks again.

‘Nopes, but it would be awesome to see hers or Padma Subrahmaniams dance right’, as it is the only 2 names I know in Indian classical dance fraternity!.” I hope we would be able to watch it someday live’ I sip my tea and start dreaming.

And then he starts laughing. ‘Entha y are you laughing?’ I ask him.

‘Nothing, just that we were actually watching Mallika Sarabhais dance last evening and you said her movements are shallow’. And with a huge cheeky grin he showed me the newspaper page he was reading.

And there in all her glory is a 12 x20 sized picture of Mallika Sarabhai dancing at Bharateetam and a news about how Manju Warrier – the acclaimed Malayalam  actress rushed in to get her blessings and touched her feet. 😀

I dint hear but I guess this is the exact situation where troll guys freeze the moment and say ‘PLING’!!  😀 😀

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