By Suchitra Sairam
I can’t claim that this is a journey I planned or ever even expected to be on, but it is one that has influenced every aspect of my life.
Today marks 30 years since my Bharatanatyam Arangetram. It was 3 years into my Bharatanatyam learning journey (I started VERY late compared to most), a couple of months after I graduated from high school, and a week before I left for college. 7 months prior, I didn’t even really know what an Arangetram was – it was only due to observations and encouragement from Radhika Shurajit akka after I had a chance to learn from her that this even became a possibility, let alone a reality.
My appreciation to my first teacher Smt. Bana Ramanath for initiating my journey – she will always have my gratitude for giving me this starting point. I was her first student. I learned a lot through the process, even if I didn’t realize it then; things I wanted to always carry with me, things I wanted to forget, and certainly regrets. I didn’t know this at the time, but it embodied the definition of a journey – you observe, you learn, you do, then you take things forward and leave things behind based on what you want to do and who you want to become. But hopefully as the journey goes on, it is without any regrets.
I have been so so fortunate to have had many people give generously and influence my journey as it has moved forward over these past 30 years. Many things that have been beautiful, many things have been difficult, sometimes surrounded by others, sometimes lonely. But what carries forward is the aspiration to learn more, improve, and be a better person and artist for it. There has definitely been hard work and passion, but it’s mostly been good fortune for which I can’t express enough gratitude.
How lucky am I that mind and body still allow me to do something I love, that is integral to who I am, and on terms that are my choice. It’s always time for gratitude to those who help you make things possible. And there is always time to dance.