On the right side of learning

On the right side of learning

ExpatSpeak

This Canadian national shifted to India to learn  Bharatanatyam

Though she was born in Canada but an inner urge to do something creative, drove her straight to India. Somewhere in her mind, the Bharatanatyam dancer Marie Evlangovan always knew that the journey was not going to be an easy one but her love for this dance form gave her everything that she mentally needed to fulfil her calling.

“I had this dream of a profession which could satisfy my search for inner peace and in which I could make good use of my creative energy. Then I happened to see a Bharatanatyam performance in Montreal where the team was led by my guru-to-be, Guru K.J. Govindarajan. I fell in love with the devotional and meditative aspect of the dance style. From then onwards, I had only one dream – to come to India and learn this divine dance” Marie shares with Metrolife.

Living in India was the only way to learn the minute details of this dance form that belongs to this culturally and socially diverse nation.

But at that time she had no idea that she was going to make India her home, “I had already planned to spend many months in India but didn't imagine at that time that I would be residing for good. It was only later that my wedding with well-known vocalist and my guru’s second son, Elangovan Govindarajan was finalised. This was the turning point for me as it meant that India became my home,” she said.

With each and every passing day since then, Marie has fallen in love with India even more. “Overall, I had so many very good impressions in India and very few unpleasant ones. I didn't really struggle to adjust here but I certainly felt very lonely at times. But the
desire to learn  Bharatanatyam was the only force that kept me going,” she added.

Today, just like any one of us, Marie is completely Indian. Shahi paneer and Idli remain her favourite foods. “I’m fond of all spices and herbs, vegetables and pulses. I love all types of rice and rotis and I’m completely at ease with the food here, though I miss the cheese sometimes,” Marie tells Metrolife.

Marie seems to be taking the weather of the country in her stride too. “I certainly prefer the weather in Delhi to the one in Canada because apart from two months of extreme heat it’s still quite good.  here. The cold climate of Canada means one has spend most of one’s time indoors and though the sight of fresh snow is very beautiful it can become quite difficult at times to step out in the cold, she added.

After spending a good amount of time in India, now Marie Elangovan is an established exponent and teacher of Bharatanatyam. As a choreographer, her programmes on TV have been widely acclaimed too. “I find today’s youngsters more focused and willing to learn and pursue their dreams once they have made up their mind to do so. They are more responsible and organised also.

A decade-and-a-half ago, I had more students who were learning because their parents had asked them to. This confused them in the process. For me, the atmosphere matters a lot while teaching. If the atmosphere is positive then the mind will focus easily and the spirit will grow and evolve,” she signs off with a smile.

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