Manjari by Divya Ravi in Delhi

Divya Ravi

पुष्प की अभिलाषा – माखनलाल चतुर्वेदी

चाह नहीं मैं सुरबाला के
गहनों में गूँथा जाऊँ

चाह नहीं प्रेमी माला में
बिंध प्यारी को ललचाऊँ

चाह नहीं सम्राटों के शव
पर, हे हरी, डाला जाऊँ

चाह नहीं देवों के सिर पर
चढ़ूँ, भाग्य पर इठलाऊँ

मुझे तोड़ लेना वनमाली
उस पथ पर देना तुम फेंक

मातृभूमि पर शीश चढ़ाने
जिस पर जाएँ वीर अनेक।

Plants are lower on the evolutionary scale and carrying out the very basic activities of life. It was with poetry like this that we got a whiff of the thought process of a leaf, a flower or a fruit.

What Bharatnatyam dancer Divya Ravi is trying to do at a recital in Delhi on Wednesday, February 17th (Epicentre, Gurgaon) and Thursday, February18th (Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre) is a concept of a similar thought process. She is based in Bangalore, has trained for 19 years, and is a disciple of Guru Dr Soundarya Srivathsa and Kalashree Sri Kiran Subramanyam. She has many awards and performances to her credit.

Plants, objects of myriad colours and shapes, have faces and forms that we have never looked into. Their hearts beat and minds think. “We take them for granted,” she says, never considering the symbolism they represent. Here, the flower is the protagonist, and the dance and the dancer are the secondary characters. She has used the margam of Bharatnatyam to portray the concept – an alarippu to portray the evolution of the flower through the bud, a kriti, a pallavi, a varnam and a thillana to relate various stories related to different flowers.

Divya explains, “The costume has been designed to suggest the look of a flower, using colors of red-pink (petals), yellow (stamen, pistil and pollen) and green (sepals and leaves) in appropriate proportions. Also, I've used motifs of flowers on the fan and pallu of the costume. Further, I have got a long neckpiece designed in terracotta, with a lotus pendant which I wear throughout the programme. With respect to stage design, I did a bit in the Bangalore premiere, and I'm not sure how much I can incorporate in Delhi. However, I do intend to have a plate of real flowers there (side stage), which I offer to the Supreme at the end of the programme, in sync with the Mangala shloka at the end (verse taken from Adishankara's mantra Matruka Pushpa Maalastavam), which translates to ‘With deep devotion in my heart, I offer to you kalhora, mallika, maruvakai, jathi, champaka, malathi, bakula and such flowers. May these make you happy, oh Goddess!’

The young dancer has fused the conventionality of Bharatnatyam to the innovative concept to make a complete performance that is sure to enrich and bring pleasure to the audience. So be there and get yourself transported to a garden of flowers.

Note: Pics provided by the artist.