THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The cash crunch was particularly severe last year. And Adarsh had strangled the urge to lose himself to the exuberance of staging dance after dance. He performed Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and folk dance and turned a deaf year to the strains of Kathakali and Ottanthullal echoing in his ears.
Yet, he could only be himself on stage and won titles in all the three. This year, the management, teachers and friends at Mar Ivanios College would not let him stop short of anything less than five items. And it was no wonder that the Kalaprathibha title of the 2011-12 Kerala University Youth Festival, held in March, came to rest on this svelte and graceful dancer.
His eyes are distantly melancholic while sparingly explaining the hand-to-mouth existence of his family living in Nedumbrum Lane, Peroorkada. The family of four lives on the meagre earnings of Adarsh’s father Murukan, an autorickshaw driver, and has not been able to earn a home of their own as yet. “But my parents love to see me and my younger sister Ardra dance. It has always been a reason for rejoicing, though life has not been easy for us,” says Adarsh.
And then, a swell of earnest hope lights up his face as the twenty-year-old talks of his dream of joining the Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai. “At every chance to browse the Internet, I watch the performances of dancers attached to the Kalakshetra school. Their style is distinct and elegant. I have a deep adoration for the dance legend C V Chandrasekhar and also the Dhananjayans,” he ventures.
A second year student of BSc Zoology at Mar Ivanios, Adarsh had given up the opportunity to study medicine in Russia to pursue his dance dreams.
“My teacher Pattom G Sanal Kumar had so much faith in me that I don’t regret the decision. He had also helped me in securing the sponsorship of Nair Samajam High School in Mannar, Alappuzha, where I attended boarding school during higher secondary. With the patronage of the school principal Manoj Kumar, I learnt Kathakali under Kalamanadalam Krishna Prasad. Now, when I perform other dance forms like Bharatanatyam, which I want to specialise in, I realise how much the training in Kathakali has helped.”
Adarsh was also the champion in State School Youth Festivals during the two years he spent in Alappuzha.
The expense for stage performances has been especially sapping for the family. If not for the unstinting moral support of Adarsh’s uncle Manikantan, who has learned dance as a young boy, and the generous financial assistance provided by his teachers and college authorities, he could not have made it this far, says Adarsh.
The young dancer’s voice goes feeble when he says that giving up has not been an altogether impossible option. Only, he would not be all of his self without the music of the anklets.