Great to see our community so deeply connected to the roots-Rashmi Thapar
The first impression of a new migrant who has moved to New Zealand just recently is that people from Indian community are very deeply connected with their roots, culture, and their motherland when they are away from India. Rashmi Thapar moved to New Zealand just last month along with her son to join her IT professional husband who arrived here a few months before them. Rashmi hails from India’s silicon capital Bangalore and is herself is an IT professional but she prefers to pursue her passion of dance more then to give a chase to her IT expertise. Rashmi says despite of huge cultural difference between two countries she is very happy with her experience in the country so far. Rashmi is very appreciative of the environment in schools and the lovely weather of New Zealand.
Rashmi has a degree in dancing, and then she did MPhil in dance and has recently submitted her PhD thesis on Dance, apart from holding a master’s degree as Software Engineer. Rashmi feels proud and privileged for getting the opportunity from an early age to learn the nuances of Bharat Natyam dance form. She says from the age of six her mother coaxed her to learn Bharat Natyam dance like many traditional families in south India but as a young child she was initially reluctant to learn the dance. Rashmi says she is fortunate to have met Gurus who instilled good values and the passion for dance in her and attributes all her success to her teachers. Rashmi’s mother used to play Veena and she was hugely inspired by the greats of Bharat Natyam of that time like Dr Padma Subramaniam and that made her mother to enrol Rashmi for Bharat Natyam classes. What started as reluctant learning as a child gradually developed into a hobby and as time went by it slowly grew into a passion for her. She must be an accomplished dancer today, but she attributes all her achievements and success to the persistence of her mother and her very competent Gurus right though her learning period.
Rashmi intends to impart her knowledge and skills of dance art to the younger generation in New Zealand, the way she herself leant as a child. Rashmi may be a professional Bharat Natyam dancer today, but she understands that to master this art one needs to start learning it from early age. She has reminiscences of her childhood when her mother would literally push her to practising dance more and more and she would simply follow her commands reluctantly.
There were times when she didn’t want to dance at all but due to constant persistence from her mother, gradually her interest started growing towards dancing and there was no looking back after that. To learn more about dance as her indulgence grew, Rashmi completed her degree in dance and then did her MPhil and finally fulfilled her mission with the submission of the thesis on dance for her PhD before moving to New Zealand. Rashmi says Bharat Natyam dance is a form of Vedic art and its regular practising elevates your spiritual levels. She had the first-hand experience of this when she took a gap from dancing, she also lost focus in her studies and started going down. As soon as she started practising dance again her focus in studies grew and she started performing well in her studies as well.
Rashmi has been teaching dance to students in Bangalore for past 18 years and she finds teaching dance even more fulfilling then just performing. For her doctorate Rashmi did extensive research on Natya Shastras and several dance related scriptures and she considers the art of dance a stress buster. Rashmi strongly believes that dancing brings a spiritual and mental balance in a person and certainly help in elevating one’s intellectual level too. She says the classical form of dances are a divine gift from Vedas for the wellbeing of all humans. You can make your lives more meaningful and fulfilling by learning this divine art and make your life more enjoyable. Rashmi says it’s our duty to pass on this divine form of art to our next generation to keep the tradition alive and to help them make their lives more beautiful. –as told to Yugal Parashar