Role as a teacher
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"Chandru is a very creative person in his own right and quite brilliant I think, and wanted to concentrate on Mathematical Recreations which was his hobby by making games,etc on a computer. So he decided to take an early retirement. I was still in my early forties. It was a bold decision, but the right one. Of course, it brought a new way of life for both of us – the creative variety! The children got settled in their own lives and we both did what kept us happily occupied. A beautiful life!

Chandrus’ early retirement gave me an ideal opportunity to start teaching. I made many visits to Madras to meet my old Guru Ramiah Pillai. Magnanimous as he was he took great interest and devoted much time in instructing me; going through old items, recapitulating and building my knowledge on more advanced theory,etc. Being a mature woman now I realised the depth of his knowledge and the beauty of his "shollu" and "nattuvangam". I got to know and appreciate master a great deal more than I did as a child.

I started teaching as a hobby in a largish verandah in our Hyderabad home and did not anticipate that my teaching would attract students to such a scale. I kept strict timings and a personal–one to one– touch with each student, without discrimination. I never resorted to substitute teachers or relied on senior students to teach. Getting to know each student well, their weaknesses and strengths made me bring out their best. I don’t teach padams in group classes. I followed what Bala taught me. A padam can be done by many- but each student should be encouraged to present it in her own way through her understanding of the theme. ( Teaching abhinaya )When my first student Ratna did her arangethram, I took her down to Madras a few days before her program for master to tell me what he thought of her as a dancer. He was amazed – I knew he liked her dance from the smile on his face. I felt just great. Samraj initially did the Nattuvangam for my students while I sang for the performance. He used to come all the way from Madras. He was a great natuvannar like his father. He did the nattuvangam for my first 5 students. Realising that this could not be a long term option in view of costs/schedules, I decided to get local help. I still preferred to sing than do nattuvangam, I arranged for Smt Rajeswari Sainath, who was an accomplished dancer/teacher in Hyderabad to wield the cymbals for a couple of years before finally switching to Ch. Raghunandan on a permanent basis."

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