art heals and holds

After organizing a successful event, I was tired, restless and oddly low, very low. I could not concentrate at work or bring myself to look at the computer. I got up and walked to the library came back with books hoping it to help. I tried engaging in conversations, ‘Talk to me’, I said, ‘let’s discuss something’, I urged my young colleague.

I tried vainly to cheer myself up until another colleague and young friend started talking excitedly about the possibilities of a well managed Dance club at the college. Still, restless, I was about to get up when Ras came and said, ‘You have 3 days of holidays, and what are you doing?’. ‘Nothing’, I replied, and she said,’you look so low, what happened, are you fine?’ .’I am, well not feeling great!’, agreed I without any hesitation and she said, ‘how about coming out with me to watch a performance?’ I agreed instantly, thankful for the opportunity. ‘But you don’t back out, ok’ , she warned and I smiled reassuringly.

The next day, I stepped out maybe after many years feeling a little odd, while going about it but definitely excited and worried if I was going to be late.

I managed to reach the venue on time, ‘Shoonya, Centre for Arts & Somatic Practices’ and saw a very young crowd and started to feel low again, ‘I don’t think I fit here’, a thought rushed into my mind which was banished when Ras embraced me warmly,’come, come,’ she introduced me to the new friends she had made.

The performance started soon. There were not more than 30 people in the hall. A small intimate space, and I watched how the audience was almost reverential in their approach. I had no clue what to expect but the sight of a young performer’Joshua Silo’ sitting still in the dim light in the centre of the stage space got me more than interested.

As the music intensified, Joshua spoke with his muscles, his bare body communicating a range of emotions, Factor Y , strangely making sense as the performer drew the audience into his space, in a very involved,energetic, intimate manner. Not a breath was heard, no hustle, a muffled cough rose but did not distract anyone, the captivated audience looked on, as if watching the mythical Icarus take his flight and perhaps succeed even against the burning sun!

The performance aroused empathy, stirring deep emotions, thoughts and niggling deep set fears and insecurities and celebrating success, the performer played with the audience, ‘come on , cheer’, he said and then lapsed into ‘a state of subconscious monologue’.

The next performance was by a trained dancer, communicating with perfectly chiseled countenance decorated with large beautiful eloquent eyes was titled ‘Phurr’. Supplementing the range of emotions on her face with an athletic and trained dancer’s physique she connected to the audience at different levels. At some point, I did feel, the script can still be tightened further but the dancer, the performer, Riya Mandal blew my mind away with her intensity. Stepping in and out of her character with ease, she teased the audience with provocative questions.

I turned to thank Ras for her kindness and vowed to be part of as many events at ‘Shoonya’ as possible. ‘I come here’ said, Ras and I forget everything, it keeps me charged for a long time’. I definitely got that.We dined at Koshy’s and returned home, with memories of a well spent evening.


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