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I started my dance career at the tender age of 3 years. I joined the institute of classical dance at Bharatiya Kala Kendram, Kolkata at the age of 8 years to learn the most ancient Indian dance form, Bharatanatyam (Thanjavur Devdasi style of Bharatanatyam) under the guidance of Guru Vaishali Chaudhuri (student of Late Guru N. Pandarinathan, India’s eminent dance teacher, Guru and former head of the Dept. of Dance, Rabindra Bharati University). Late Guru N. Pandarinathan whose origin is the traditional Nattuvanar family of Kumbhakonam, Tamil Nadu. He was a disciple of the legendary dance guru and exponent of the most ancient Thanjavur style of Bharatanatyam, Bharatha Vidwan Kuppiah Pillai, who is regarded today as an institution par excellence of Bharatanatyam. My Guruji, Vaishali madam is a member of the prestigious International Dance Council; UNESCO, an eminent guru, choreographer and performer, additional United Nation’s representative in New York, U.S.A. She is the Director of ‘Arts and Culture Dept. of Institute of International Social Development’, New York, U.S.A.
My learning of dance started under the strict ‘Guru – Shishya Parampara’ system (teacher-student disciple succession) which also included the orthodox system of training for teachers of this ancient and invaluable art form of India. After a six - year long tutelage under my Guruji in Bharatanatyam in the Thanjavur Devdasi style, I was all set for a public acknowledgement of my talent and years of meticulous maturing of my potentialities.
‘Arangetram’ is the debut on-stage performance of a classical dance student after undertaking years of training. It is a public graduation performance of any classical dance form. The word ‘Arangetram’ is from the Tamil Language and means, ‘ascending the stage by a dancer on the completion of her training’. Many Indian classical dance forms perform an Arangetram once the time has come for a disciple. To perform an Arangetram is an old tradition which marks the pathway of a dancer to perform alone or be able to give training to other dancers. Once a dancer completes his/her training, he/she should have an understanding of classical music and the many aspects of dancing. Performing an Arangetram does not entail the end of a dancer’s career. My Arangetram (the professional debut of a dancer) was performed at the age of 14. I was acknowledged and honoured as a classical dancer by my guruji: Guru Vaishali Chaudhuri,Director of Bharatiya Kala Kendram: Srimati Swapna Chaudhuri, Sri Ansu Sur: (Chief -Executive Officer of Nandan), other delegates and media. I got the recognition to be a teacher of Bharatanatyam. I’ve also completed Masters in dance from Bangiya Sangeet Parishad (affiliated to Rabindra Bharati University).
I’ve been awarded ‘Sangeet Bibhakar’ in Bharatanatyam and ‘Sangeet Ratna’ in Rabindra Dance with 1st Div. Distinction from Bangiya Sangeet Parishad (affiliated to Rabindra Bharati University). I’ve received numerous awards in the fields of dance, music and education: State and District Level. I’ve performed prestigious dance and music competitions (State Level, District Level, Inter-collegiate) and stood first, performed prestigious dance and music programmes at the eminent and well-known places in Kolkata & India.
I’ve mentioned some of the important dance and music performances in my website.
I’ve completed M.A. and M.Phil. in ‘Philosophy’ with high 1st class from University of Calcutta. My Specialization was ‘Comparative Study of Religion’. I’ve achieved ‘National Scholarship’ from ‘The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India’ for my excellent result in Philosophy. I was a part-time Lecturer of Philosophy at a renowned college : S. A. Jaipuria College, Kolkata.
I’ve also completed my Graduation in Classical Music, Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti from Prachin Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, India, Sarba Bharatiya Sangeet O Sanskriti Parishad, India and Purbi Sangeet O Kala Kendra, India. I was selected as a singer from all over India at the famous cultural institution in India, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Academy, Mumbai. I’ve performed programmes on television. I’m also an Anchor, Researcher and Writer. Some of my writings have been published in renowned journals. Writing poetry is also my favourite hobby. I’m a Truth-seeker. That’s why I want to start Ph.D. in Philosophy very soon in U.S.A. My preferred research topic is `Science, Philosophy and Spirituality’ / ‘Science and Non-duality'.
Anyway, getting awards, pursuing research or performing dance, music...is not the only story of my life. My life is totally different from others. My life is a story of a true fighter who never admitted defeat against bad fate.
Unfortunately, during my teenage, a massive leg operation (Wide Resection P.T (R) and CMP Replacement)on 22.03.99 at (M.N. Orthopaedic Hospital, Chennai) due to (Osteosarcoma (R) Upper tibia) had to be done. I was under the treatment of Prof. Dr. Mayilvahanan Natarajan (Padma Laureate, Vice-Chancellor of The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, Chennai). He had operated my leg. Uncle is a ‘Representative of God’ and savior on earth to me. He saved my life from the valley of death. God has sent him like a father to save me and give me a new life. I couldn’t survive without uncle’s treatment, love and care. ‘Osteosarcoma’ disease is a malignant bone-tumour. It is one type of bone cancer. This disease is very rare and only a few can survive but by God’s grace and due to my Natarajan uncle’s blessings, my parents’ specially, my mother’s blessings and care, Dr. Sanmay Ganguly’s treatment, my grandparents, relatives, teachers, friends, well-wishers’ good wishes, blessings, support and due to my determination, courage, patience, will-power and a passionate love for dance and music…I could survive. Dr. Sanmay Ganguly and Dr. Dipak Roy Chowdhuri were my doctors in Kolkata. They treated me like their own daughter. I’ll never forget their love, care, affection and inspiration. Late Dr. Tanmay Das Ghose, Dr. Anirban Nandy and all the doctors, sisters of M.N.Orthopaedic Hospital, Chennai who had given their treatment, care, affection and love…I convey my gratitude to all of them. My doctors are like my own family members.
Anyway, doctors pronounced that dancing would be very difficult for me and no one supported me on that time. Dancing was almost an impossible task for me. But, dance being my life and breath, I could continue my dance after a few months of the operation. I continued my life and achieved above mentioned awards, certificates, degrees after the major leg-operation on 1999. Doctors told me that it is my new life after 1999. Anyone can understand how tough and difficult it was for me to do all the works. My right leg was nothing but a heavy steel-made machine! Half of my leg, knee-joint was artificial. I live in a small town (Howrah) in West Bengal, India and I had to do all my works, education, lectureship job, dancing, singing, anchoring, all the programmes, library work in Kolkata. These places in Kolkata are far away from my residence in Howrah. I had no car and luxurious life. I travelled a lot by crowded bus, walking, rickshaw to go to Kolkata from Howrah and in this leg condition; it was very painful journey for me. The environment of my family is not at all supportive to pursue educational, cultural or any kind of creative work. I’ve no resemblance with my family members. I’d done all these by myself. I’ve done this struggle because of my mother’s inspiration, help, my strong will-power, determination, courage, self-confidence, patience, hardships and of course a strong belief on God. My mother stood by my side always. She struggled a lot to give me a huge world, my dream world. She helped me a lot to enter into the world of dance and take the teaching from my Guruji. I belong to an ordinary, middle-class, orthodox, joint-family and the family which has no cultural background. My father was always against of performing dance, music, pursuing higher education and everything. It was very tough for a girl like me to continue studies, dance, music and travel to Kolkata from Howrah. But, due to the blessings of God and my mother’s help, I could continue my studies, music, dance and my inspiration is also my Dance Guruji: Guru Vaishali Chaudhuri. My Guruji’s love, care, blessing, teaching have given me confidence to enhance my perfection of dance. Whatever a little I know about dance is only because of my Guruji’s teaching. She is a dedicated teacher. Whenever I’d lost my confidence, she motivated me. Her inspiration has given me extra fuel of confidence to walk on the difficult path of my life and of course, the support and care of my grandparents, my maternal uncles, aunts, my elder sister and her family helped me to continue my journey of life.
When this operation was done, I was a school girl, just passed my Higher Secondary Education with high first division and star mark. I got admission at one of the eminent and prestigious colleges in India, Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata. But due to my operation, I had to leave the college. Those days were so miserable and painful, no one can imagine! I had lost everything, my normal life, my original leg…everything! But, I was never defeated. I’d never felt depressed for getting any type of negativity. Anyway, after this massive operation, I'd passed Graduation, Masters and M.Phil. with high first class and got ‘National Scholarship’ from Indian Government. I got the job of part-time Lectureship in Philosophy at S.A. Jaipuria College, Kolkata, one of the eminent colleges in West Bengal. Side by side, I was performing various prestigious dance, music programmes and competitions at the famous places in Kolkata. No one ever understood that I've this kind of massive operation in my leg, my knee is artificial! I stood first in all the competitions of dance…district, state level, inter-collegiate etc. I’d represented my campus (Alipore Autonomous) of University of Calcutta and performed dance on the auspicious day of celebrating 150th Anniversary of Calcutta University. I was selected as a Singer from all over India at the famous Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Academy, Mumbai. I struggled a lot to do something in my life. I've overcome all my disabilities, odds and obstacles, people's negative, downward mentality, negative and unfavourable environment, all my pain, sorrow, disappointment, my disability, illness...everything by tremendous will-power, determination and positive thinking. I never regarded myself as a disabled person, never taken any opportunity of my weaknesses. I always regarded myself as a normal person like others. This determination was always present in my mind that I'll do the best. I'll do more than any other so called 'normal person' can do. Even I danced! According to my doctors and others, this is a miraculous incident of Medical Science.
I've been doing this tremendous hardships and struggles for one decade or more. When I was doing lectureship job, studying M.Phil. and doing all the cultural programmes, competitions with full swing, the 2nd disaster was happened on 2007. Due to giving too much pressure on my operated leg for years after years (from 1999), my steel-made prosthesis was worn-out on 2007. I had to leave my job, my studies, my dreams, my hope and for a long time, I couldn't do anything properly or go outside. Even I fell on floor and got severe wound in my worn-out leg! No one can imagine that miserable condition of my life. I was in a bed-ridden condition for one year! That time I was totally depressed. I thought, this is the end of my life. I can’t come back. I’d been spending my life like a soulless body; I had no urge of living. I asked God, why He is doing these with me? I’ve struggled enough, done tremendous hardships. When I’ve achieved something, when I’ve assembled the broken parts of my life, then why He has done this with me. I cried and cried but didn’t get any answer from anyone. Anyway, I didn’t give-up my hope and positive thinking in this time also. My determination, will-power and positive thinking had saved me from the depression. I couldn’t walk on my leg that time. I walked and did all the works with the help of crutches for one and half years and I’d to depend on others to walk for another 3-4 years! I'd completed M.Phil. in this condition and got high first class in the final exam. Anyway, on 2012, my second major leg operation (REDO CMP PROXIMAL TIBIA (R) on 08.05.12) was done at M.N. Orthopaedic Hospital, Chennai. This time the metal was Titanium and it was a massive operation. I’ve 76-78 stitches in my leg. Half of my leg is made of titanium metal, knee joint is also artificial. This critical operation was successful due to my Doctor Uncle, Prof. Dr. Mayilvahanan Natarajan's (Padma Laureate, Vice-Chancellor of The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, Chennai) care.“Thanks” is a very small word to express my gratitude towards my Natarajan Uncle. Whenever I take breathe, I remember that I’m alive because of God and Uncle. All the doctors and sisters of M.N.Orthopaedic hospital and all the lovely people of Chennai, Loveina Didi and Grace Didi in Chennai helped and cared me a lot to recover from my disability, to get well soon and to stand on my feet. Many thanks and regards to them. I'm now living this new life and I’m ready to begin a new battle of life. To prove the success of the surgery and my miraculous revival as a dancer, Prof. Dr. Mayilvahanan Natarajan and his wife, Srimati Thenmozhi Mayilvahanan (My beloved Aunty) organized a grand dance programme at their residence in Chennai just after one year of the second major leg operation on 2012. Everyone highly appreciated seeing my dance and my performance was highly applauded by the audience.
I'd also performed a grand dance programme at Le Royal Meridien in Chennai on the felicitation of Prof. Dr. Mayilvahanan Natarajan's huge success of completing 2000 custom mega prosthesis surgeries for bone-tumour patients and got huge admiration of doctors, delegates and media. According to Prof. Dr. Mayilvahanan Nataarajan and other dignitaries, resuming my dancing in this leg condition, is a ‘miraculous incident’ of Medical Science! I’m thankful and grateful to God's grace, grateful to Natarajan Uncle, my parents specially my mother, my grandparents, my dance Guruji: Vaishali Madam, Thenmozhi Aunty, my sisters, all the doctors and sisters of M.N. Orthopaedic Hospital, dear friends and well-wishers, my Bhagyadhar Uncle (his help, love, care, affection and blessing helped me a lot to get back my self-confidence and courage. He is like a father to me ), Shyam Uncle, Dipankar Uncle, Rudra Da, my elder sister and her family specially my elder sister’s mother in law, Rajyashree Didi , Sanmay Da and Ajay Da.
Anyway, I’ve mentioned some of the incidents of my life just to inform the severe struggle which I've done in my life. Even now, I’m struggling and struggling to do something good in life, something new, something very novel...which no one can do. I love this famous quotation of Author, Educator Shiv Khera..."Winners don't do different things, they do things differently"...I want to do things differently which no one can do. I’m a true God-believer from my childhood days. My studies, dance, music, my thoughts everything are based on devotion, god, spirituality. When I was very young, I’d taken spiritual initiation from Late President Maharaj of Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Ranganathananda Maharajji at Belur Math. Lord Ramakrishna, Mother Saroda, Swami Vivekananda, my Guru’s ideals and my deep-rooted faith on them are my inspirations of life. I’m also a great devotee of Lord Jesus Christ and Mother Merry. Due to their blessings, I’ve got the inspiration to start my new life. I love to do charity and social works for poor, needy and ill children. I consider that, as a human being, this is my moral and social duty towards mankind and God. I’m a Member of ‘RAMAKRISHNA MISSION’; I’m also a part of ‘Awaz Do’ movement of UNICEF, India; ‘Shiksha India’ project, a member and donor of UNICEF. I’m also associated with the Institute of International Social Development, Kolkata, NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations, Change.org, Peace Corps-a Volunteer program run by the U.S. Government, Breakthrough Science Society; India, Youth Hostel International and other social organizations. I’m also a member of American Center, USIEF in Kolkata.
I belong to a middle-class family. My father and other family members’ opinion is that, spending money for a girl is just wastage of money. I want to leave this negative environment and go to America, want to start my new life there. I want to start Ph.D. in ‘Science, Philosophy and Spirituality’ with fellowship and perform dance, music programmes in U.S. I want to prove that a girl can go to abroad alone if she has strong determination, courage and will-power. I’ve also a dream to perform classical dance at Rashtrapati Bhavan in India before our Honourable President and other respected dignitaries.
I’ve been bearing this painful life since 1999. I don’t know when this painful journey of my life will end and I’ll find a path of eternal bliss, peace and happiness. I don’t know when my struggle and talent will get recognition. I’m a student, teacher and researcher of Philosophy. But, according to my view, ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Spirituality’ are not only mere subjects to do research work or to write articles. It’s more than that. It enriches our lives and thought processes too. The meaning of Philosophy is ‘Love of knowledge’ and in India, the meaning is ‘Darshana’: to see the ultimate truth, to know the essence of everything, to know the inherent truth of life, universe, substance and self. That’s why ‘Philosophy’ is not only food or water to quench our hunger or thirst of intellectual and creative mind but also it’s a necessary part of our practical life too. ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Spirituality’ are the subjects to apply the concepts in daily life-struggle.
I’ve positively applied Philosophy, Spirituality and Science in my life and this has helped me to struggle, to make my goal, to think logically, to fight against odds,obstacles, to transcend all my limitations, to acquire positive energy and to make myself a strong human-being filled with knowledge, humanity, freedom, ethics, divinity, emotions, truth, courage, chastity and sanctity. If I discarded Philosophy and Spirituality from my life, I could not survive. I don’t know what the final destination of my life is, but I know, I’ll not stop the Journey of my life.
In this connection, I want to add some lines of my poetry "LIFE".
"LIFE IS AN ENDLESS JOURNEY, EVERYONE HAS TO TRAVEL,
NO ONE KNOWS ITS BEGINNING-ENDING-THIS IS A REAL MARVEL!
LIFE IS A REAL STORY OF EVERYONE'S BATTLE,
IN THE LIFE’S BATTLE-FIELD, SOME WIN, SOME FAIL!
THIS PLAYING OF LIFE ENDS, WHEN GOD RINGS THE BELL,
EVERYONE HAS TO FOLLOW THE 'PRE - ESTABLISHED' GOD'S PRINCIPLE "....