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thank you tepak tari

over 2 months ago i went through something close to depression and till today i'm still unsure what it actually was. i remember being very agitated with everyone around me, i did not feel like going out, even if i did i'd go out alone and was not even in the mood to talk to people. this was over 2 months ago. but i managed to sort myself out with some alternative healing methods and with the grace of the universe i managed to get out of that slump.

cut to the beginning of august. i was just about to fall asleep when i realised that i will be performing 5 different pieces in the coming 5 weeks. Kuruyadunandan at the launch of TOTEM in Georgetown, 10-day intensive with NYU and a showcase after that, 'rehab' for the closing of the Georgetown Festival, Ketuk Tilu for Tepak Tari and 'return' for Tepak Tari as well. one of which i needed to learn from scratch and the other needed to be created from scratch. i was very close to having a full on panic attack but i clutched my rainbow obsidian ball and poured out my anxiety into it then washed it under cold running water.

cut to thursday. we opened Tepak Tari last night with Ketuk Tilu and i have never been happier.

cut to today. we closed Tepak Tari tonight and i cried all the way home. i am overwhelmed by all the love that i have experienced during the festival. i have never felt tighter as a family in the dance community. perhaps being a free agent has helped break down walls and barriers and uncomfortable conversations, exchanges, etc. we came as our own person and we were respected and well received. Bilqis Hijjas, our producer, told me, "This is how it is usually is you know?" well...what would i know. it was 17 years in one institution blindly following a tradition and doing what you are told to do, then leaving said institution leaving you literally on your own feeling lower than low because you have absolutely no idea what to do with yourself. then getting married, becoming a mother and still struggling to find your identity as a person. juggling roles of wife, mother and own person, not knowing how to deal with it all. not knowing how to accept it all and embracing it all. learning not to compartmentalise parts of my life, learning how to live all these roles as a person.

i threw myself into the month of august. body slamming straight into it without any thought. my mother would tell me i am crazy from time to time. my father told me that i should learn to choose properly and not say yes to everything. but i chose to say yes to all those things. i had no idea how i was going to do it but i did not let that stop me. i told my mother that i was thinking of doing this and this and she said just do it. i will come back and we will work through it, she said. this is the love i am talking about. the love from my family, my husband, my dance partners, the people i collaborated with, uncle joseph for selflessly giving us a rehearsal studio in ASWARA, the audience.

the whole month of august, which was also my turning 30 month, flew by with such grace, ease and love. everything turned out the way i wanted it to be. i partnered a dancer from ASWARA, a guy, an amazing dancer, Raziman Sarbini. someone i had never danced with and let alone met. was i self conscious and worried i wouldn't be able to keep up? of course i was! was i afraid of all the lifts and falling on my face? of course i was! was i afraid? i was fucking afraid but did fear stop me as it usually does? no, it didn't.

my alter ego, inspiration and idol in the form of rathimalar govindarajoo and i created a brand new work. we had much difficulty coming up with this one but i think the end product was incredible. i am so so proud of us and so happy with all the constructive feedback from everyone important to us. no one had any ill intentions, they were honest, told us what they felt and we appreciate your honesty. we will take everything given to us and work on this new little baby of ours.

the audience, everyone who showed up despite of rain, floods and traffic and showered your love upon us. thank you so much for giving me that energy and for making the effort to share our art with us.

a whole year has gone by since we premiered 'rehab' as ASWARA during Tari 14. so much has happened and all for the better. we feel so strong, we feel so so loved and i am truly overwhelmed. never in my entire existence have i felt this much good love. such good good lovin...i am happy to be back on stage. how i've missed the performer in me. how i've missed the special moments shared between performers seconds before walking on stage and sharing the whole performing experience with someone on stage. pure pure love. how i've missed the group hug, that one long hug that brings all the heartbeats and breaths to one. there is so much more that goes on than what you see on stage. and it is something i am already starting to miss.

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