If On A Winter's Night A Traveller is one the interesting novels of Italo Calvino. Its about a reader who is in the process of trying to read a book called "If On A Winter's Night A Traveller".
I was somehow reminded of this novel as i spent one of the profound winter nights in Delhi last Friday. It has been more than a decade when I came to know about this wonder of a human being called Malavika Sarukkai. But unfortunately, I had been missing her on and on. Until life blessed me with this Winter's Night.
Malavika's Bharatnatyam dance recital took place at Triveni Garden Theatre. It was part of the efforts of the renowned art historian Professor B.N.Goswamy's project entitled "Between Heaven And Earth" where he had curated the paintings in watercolours by the late miniature artist Bireswar Sen whose works were on display at the Anant Art Gallery at Triveni Kala Sangam. Two of the paintings need special mention here. One watercolour painting is entitled as 'Fulfillment' where the figure of a maiden in unrequited love is seeking solace in Nature among the mountain cliffs. The other painting is entitled 'Gloria In Excelsis' depicting the abstract implosion of joy and ecstasy after listening to that magnificent composition of Vivaldi.
Before embarking upon the dance recital, Malavika explained the long journey she had undertaken to discover the Himalayas. Her first glimpse of the magic mountain was on a foggy morning when she saw the mystery unravelled up above in the middle of the sky when the first rays of the Sun lit the cliff of the Himalayas at Dev Prayag. The mountain was magically floating amongst the clouds. She is constantly mesmerised by the confluence - the sangamam - of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers transcreating into the Ganga. Malavika traced the journey of the river to the journey of discovery of one's self which she choreographed with finesse and splendour. The mood of the Himalayas was already set with the recitation of an Urdu poem of Muhammad Iqbal along with a fine translation into English by Prof. B.N.Goswamy. It was heightened by the performance of Malavika Sarukkai.
The choreography of Malavika of both the Rivers and the Birds were astonishing. Malavika's dance movements - the hastas, the adavus and the eye movements - flow out of her sculpted body like an intimate conversation with the ethereal and the sensual. With her grace and aplomb, she elegantly transcended the boundaries of feminine mystique by creating unparalled universes in the inner self. Malavika seems to be the consummation of sensuality and ecstasy in the form of dance which one feels while listening to the passionately overpowering composition of 'Gloria In Excelsis' by Vivaldi. Long after the dance recital, one keeps on hearing the resonances of the scampering feet of Malavika deep inside the core of one's being..