Ayyappa Paniker

(12 September 1930 - 23 August 2006 / Kavalam, Kerala, India)

Bhagavathykunjamma's Bharatanatyam Poem by Ayyappa Paniker


It was the end of Kaikottikali*
and the beginning of Bharatanatyam for Bhagavathykunjamma.

Legs close, yet apart, must be bent.
Not that way, this way, not this way, that way…
The feet must only be this far.
The hair this way, the face that way
the mudras must be this way, see? .

Kunjamma found it tough to master.
Whatever she did, turned out to be Kaikottikali.
She was told
She was shown
The body was arched
The steps were numbered
The mridangam ** was played
Kunjamma stuck to Kaikottikali.

Finally, Nethyaramma herself came.
In nice, new linen
Tried to teach dance
In clap-dance style.
New steps
New gestures
Arms swirling
Feet twirling
Porridge everytime.

With blessings on the forehead
Bhagavathikunjamma learnt Bharatanatyam.
Then for a long period,
She presented Bharatanatyam
trained a lot of them.
That's how Bharatanatyam Bhagavathiamma
became famous.
Are you listening? .

*a kind of folk, clap-dance popular in Kerala, usually played by pairs in a group.
**a percussion instrument.

Submitted: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Edited: Friday, September 7, 2012

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