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Sharing glimpses and stories from the life of a Kathak artist. I know Priyanka not from long years, but the connection is deep within and we clicked beautifully over just a cup of tea and homely sharing of idli and pav bhaji.


A bit about Priyanka

Priyanka Srikrishnan aka Kwintessentials
A classical (Kathak) dancer and a Movement Therapy Facilitator.
Having done her Masters In Journalism and Mass Communication, she likes to indulge in writing once in a while.

An Ardent Kathak performer, trained in Kathak for 15 years, she did her initial training in Gwalior under Shri Bhagwan das Manik. She has also been trained in Bharatnatyam at the Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai for 3 years. She has done her advanced training in Kathak under Pandit Sh. Rajendra Gangani at the Kathak Kendra New Delhi.

Priyanka Srikrishnan is making an attempt to share her #reminiscenceseries with some special acquaintances and inspirations that have come in her way in her Kathak Journey. I’m happy to have her on board on PraGunTatwa and know the life of this lovely artist in this series.

All the people that are a part of this series (in no specific order of age or experience) of mine are very special to me and some of them have even had a very personal impact on my life.
Whatever I have learned from them, I have tried to either been imbibed or incorporate in my performances and in my life but the specific memory or list of memories I have shared with them is what makes my fondness for them unique.
Also, these memories and anecdotes I have are my personal collection and will always belong only to me which is another special feeling to experience.
So are you ready to know all these special people?


ACT 1 –

Act 1: Yaad toh nahi rakhoge?!?
He would say to me “Chai Banani aati hai?”
Me: “Nahi Guruji”
“Toh phir Nikaas banake rakho, main apne liye chai banake laata hun”

I would giggle to contain the laughter erupting from within me but would maintain the Nikas until he got back with his tea.

Dr.Bhagwandas Manik, my first Kathak Guru under whom I discovered my love for this dance form. I trained under him from the age of 5 till the age of 15. He taught us the right values of growing up as a dancer, it was not just about technique and execution, but the way it has to be perceived by an individual and emoted accordingly. He effortlessly defied all the hang-ups that came to the Guru-Shishya parampara and only promoted the good things, which is why we as his students grew up only learning to appreciate what the art form has given us. There is this unspoken tradition of how the Guru keeps the most traditional and intricate bandishes of the Gharana to be given only to his next of kin, but he defied that and gave us all everything he knew.

His younger son (Manu) and I hated each other, we fought like siblings and although I was just a year younger than him, he would always tell him “Woh Choti hai, usko tang mat kar”…that used to be my winning trophy every time.

The kind of affection that I have been brought up within my Kathak Journey as a kid is something that remains very profoundly close to me. When he would teach us something new, he would make us repeat it a couple of times coz he knew these little girls will not go home and practice at all.

Then he would say: “Yaad toh nahi Rakhogi?” And if u said “Yes”
he would say “nahi Rakhogi???”
And if u said “no”
he would say “Matlab nahi rakhogi??”
We would often not know what would be the response to that, one day when he asked “yaad toh nahi Rakhogi” I said “Guruji iska kya jawaab de sakta hai koi”
He said bolo “ki guruji yaad rakhenge”
Thank you, dear Guruji, for making me fall in love with Kathak and it’s “Pyaar ki Parampara” (as you would call it).


The above act is originally written by Priyanka and I’m just the medium to convey it.

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