Ignored ‘loge toh kucch bhi kahte hain’ to become a kathak dancer

Walt Disney once said: “Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” And so despite several criticisms and apprehensions of society Dr Vishnu Kr Verma and Suman Verma wholeheartedly supported their daughter, Aayushi to learn Kathak. As a 10 year old girl, she had taken up Kathak hobby course which became a passion after joining Kathak Sansthan in 2005. Ayushi who did her schooling from Mount Caramel Inter College and graduation from Issabella Thoburn College (I.T College, Lucknow) is a cool Generation-x confident girl. She is doing her Nipun in Kathak from Bhatkhande Sangeet Vidyapith and is now a known face in the cultural gallery of the city.
“It was not always so, when I started dancing I was very skinny and didn’t look good;” recalls Ayushi smiling
“my movements weren’t impressive and I always got a place in the back row during shows. At that time I attentively used to watch my seniors dancing in front rows and imbibed my lessons. Also when after college time, when girls had fun in the canteen, I had to come home and set off immediately for my Kathak class. For me it was not a burden, I found happiness and satisfaction in doing all this.” She honestly adds,”Many a times my studies were affected due to the show. Once I had exam in morning shift and you know I returned after performing at a show early morning that day, at 3 am but I had to give my exam.” In 2013, after reaching senior level Aayushi became a pupil of Guru Late Shri Surendra Saikiya, whom she applauds and respects a lot. “Like every other thing there is politics in Kathak also but still at senior level our Gurus give significance only to their student’s hardwork and performance. I guess at junior stage also there should be the same attitude,” says the prudent dancer. Why she didn’t opt for contemporary dance to which she replies, ” you know people who learn classical can grab other styles easily while its not so vice versa. our base should be strong and for that our culture has given us the dance form KATHAK.”
While Aayushi’s mother is a home maker and father is a practising doctor, wasn’t she persuaded to follow the lineage, “Haan log to bahut kehte they, make her prepare for engineering, why are you wasting her time and even now they pester my parents to marry me off….!! But my parents never passed that pressure on me, that is the reason why I could do all this.Surely, they had not smelled success at that time but their daughter’s satisfaction.” Yes Ayushi after all living happily should be the climax of every story.
When the girls of her age are partying around and encashing free wi-fi time at Hazratganj, Aayushi is either visiting girl’s orphanages, doing her riyaaz or attending All India Women’s Conference meets, of which she is a member now.

Swati Srivastava