It was the summer of 1973..that time of the year when Bengalis everywhere celebrate Rabindrajayanti, the birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate Tagore through dance, music, drama, poetry. It was my first performance along with a girl called Rumon at our neighborhood celebration.This story has been told ample times by my parents. After my mother had wrapped up in a blue silk saree and dolled me up in a garland made of paper flowers, my father had picked me up and put me on the stage (a make-shift arrangement on a “chouki”).I remember vaguely being carried on my father’s shoulder like this queen of a fairyland. It seems that I went on dancing long after the singer had stopped singing while my partner had decided to storm out mid-way. The song was ” momo chittey niti nritte ke je nache”. That day, my dear parents, knew what they had to do. They took me to a dance teacher . ..and the rest is history in my life. I wish I had photographs to look at from those days.
Flash forward to this day and age, I find myself teaching children of all ages, boys and girls, for the last 20 years. Every year I choreograph dances for these angels and have unlimited bliss when I see them dance away to their hearts’ content on stage. I simply love the sound of happy dancing feet. And equally rewarding is when I go to various schools and colleges in USA for lecture demonstrations on dance, or to give talks about our rich culture and heritage. Sometimes I feel I was born to be a teacher- just like my mother and my aunts. I have seen that teaching and choreographing dance gives me more pleasure than any other work. There is so much happiness in giving back to others what one has learnt from her gurus or teachers. What other profession, other than this, can give me the freedom to dress up, any time of the day, in a beautiful elegant saree, complete with bindi, and flowers, and arrive at a school in USA?
Here is a memory from the 2015 Ugadi celebration at Pittsburgh. In a mango-yellow Ghicha silk with my students- my kuttis.

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