One lakh views, over a decade of Delhiculturecomment
About a dozen years ago, I started my stint in dance writing when I got a chance to write for Delhi Times, the Times of India’s supplement in Delhi. For a year and a half, I wrote quite a few reports and in the process, made the acquaintance of quite a few dancers. Then, the publication all but discontinued the dance/cultural beat. To boost my morale, my daughter suggested that I start a blog and continue writing about dance online. Hence was born Kala Upasana, located at delhiculturecomment.blogspot.com.
I just followed my passion and my dream of writing on dance started coming true. However, I had initially anticipated that I would myself drop the idea after a few posts. But one of those few posts was on a performance by US/Chennai-based dancer Divya Devaguptapu. She suggested that I contact the online dance magazine Narthaki.com and present my reports to them for publication. The editor, Lalitha Venkat, was very welcoming and accepted my reports, and thence began the publishing of my reports on Narthaki and on my blog in parallel.
Early on in this process, my husband Anoop Arora took up his camera again and started clicking photos to make up for me not having a ‘press photographer’ accompany me. After a short photography course, he became half of the Delhiculturecomment duo. We run two things online – the blog Kala Upasana (www.delhiculturecomment.blogspot.com) and the website Kala Pravaah (www.delhiculturecomment.com) – and it is the blog that has completed 1 lakh views recently. Currently, Narthaki publishes any interviews I submit and reports of events are published only on my blog; both feature my husband’s photos.
After 9 years and 325 posts, over 1 lakh views might not seem ‘wow’ to most other people. But for me, it is a big achievement since I had initially thought that I would never be able to keep up with the number of reports and had thought I would make only a very small chink in dance reporting, which did not get its due in mainstream media. I had never thought I would come to love dance and dancers so much, or that my knowledge of dance would increase so greatly, that I would meet so many greats in the field and have the privilege of talking to them. I had always watched them from afar and had never thought that the privilege of featuring them and learning from them would be mine. So I’m very, very grateful to all the people who find my writing readable and motivate me to continue.
Here, I would like to thank my family for the big support they have been: my husband, whom I sometimes envy for his popularity among our dance acquaintances for his photographs; my daughter for being my editor; Geeta and Rajiv Chandran for always inspiring me and inviting me to their events through which I made many contacts; Aditi Mangaldas, whose events were among the first to be published in my blog, for always opening up her heart and giving me an insight into the thought process behind her productions; Rama Vaidyanathan for always making time over the years to give me a view of her dance process; Dr. S. Vasudevan for never-ending discussions from which I sometimes had to be dragged away! And to all the other senior gurus, musicians and allied professionals who trusted me to carry their voice, and lastly but not the least, my Guru Ma and Thakur ji. In particular, this post is dedicated to elders like Avinash Pasricha and the late Dr. Sunil Kothari, both of whom gave me their time for long interviews. In particular, Dr. Kothari, whom we lost to COVID last year, taught me never to mock or bring down the work of any dancer. The more the years of work such elders have behind them, the more humble they become.
Now I’m going to showcase the things I’ve always loved to feature – the smart young girls from the NGO SMS (Srijanatmak Manushi Sanstha). In this video, they are reading the idealistic preamble to our Constitution. I’m always amazed by the potential in these underprivileged girls. who were lucky enough to find good Samaritans Neelam Thapliyal and Archana Kaul, who have brought out the talent in them and turned them into thinking individuals. They will always have a special place in my heart.