When Craft Met Kintsugi

When Craft Met Kintsugi

“Ma’am, please lower your eyelids…now gently smack your lips…”

The make-up artist’s brushes skimmed over Pari’s supple face in deft but gentle strokes as the latter tried her best to calm her nerves. 

Forty minutes left for my first solo!

Wiping her clammy palms on a tissue, Pari checked the time, for the umpteenth time. The hallowed Kalakshetram auditorium was packed to capacity. Every performance received a thunderous applause from the city’s cultural connoisseurs. This reverberating sound had earlier been music to Pari’s ears. The dulcet tintinnabulation of her ghungroos would stoke her as she awaited her turn to perform. And the stellar compliments that followed, the pride that welled up in her parents’ eyes, the sheer exhilaration of lifting a trophy, were worth the back-breaking practice that was de rigeur for her. Kathak was the nucleus of her universe, her raison d’etre, and at 19, Pari was already hailed as a rising star in the city’s creative firmament.

But all that was four years ago. Today, it was completely different. Today, Pari felt like a fidgety and apprehensive newcomer.  The stage that had once been her second home, now looked alien and challenging. 

And why blame just the arena? What about me? Where’s that confident Pari whose flawless footwork, fluid twirls, and immaculate hasta mudras would mesmerise the audience? Today, I feel like a complete novice – high-strung, inexperienced, sceptical.

To add to her anxiety, the most unsettling events of her life began flashing before her eyes – the accidental shove…the blinding pain as the scooter ran over her left foot…a scarlet haze…the blaring sirens…and finally, sliding into an aeonian abyss of darkness and misery. At 20, Pari, the dancing sensation, was doomed to a life in wheelchair with crutches, needles, liniments, and finally, a prosthetic foot for company! The initial months of denial, angry outbursts, and relentless tears painstakingly made way for an uneasy truce between Pari and her predicament. And helping her soldier through this Sisyphean nightmare were her ever smiling and supportive parents.

Pari eventually resumed studies. The first time she walked in through her college gates, she felt like a newbie joining kindergarten. And yes, how could she forget that look of disbelief on everyone’s face when she dragged herself to her dance institute?! But her will to succeed overrode the excruciating pain she experienced while re-learning the mudras, one step at a time. With time, she assiduously regained her lithe movements and started participating in group events. And preparing for her comeback solo, that too, at the Kalakshetram festival, was at once, both elevating and daunting!

As Pari braced herself for her litmus test, her dad’s message blipped on her phone.

You are Pari, our blessed angel, never forget that…go own that stage!

Announcements done, she stepped out, her face radiating confidence through the diaphanous, sequined veil. As she took her opening stance with her reconstituted foot, the crowd broke into an ecstatic ovation, cheering for their favourite performer!  


Hasta mudra – hand gestures used specially for Indian classical dance
Ghungroo – a musical anklet tied to the feet of Indian classical dancers
Kintsugi on my feet

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One thought on “When Craft Met Kintsugi

  1. Pari is a winner even before her performance. Such a nice blend of hardship, and courage in this story.

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