Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Dance of Trees

Trees mean so many things to different people. To me trees have always danced. Dying to dance, despite their roots, they sway from their upper torso. With the slightest wispy wind they sway. Wilder the wind, they rock with abandon, never tired of their dance with the universe.

The Odissi body is quite like a dancing tree. The lower body is firm and fixed, mountain-like and rooted. The upper body in Odissi, sways like a happy tree in the wind. The body sways from side to side, the chest moving with grace and delicacy. Odissi refrains from large, assertive movements. Its gestures are close to the body, containing its energies within. The movement of the wind in the trees is also fine and delicate. Sometimes fine and delicate, it is almost unnoticeable, creating a wispy sound. The stronger the wind, the tree-dance has more abandon – the power of the vibrant emotions of Odissi. The tree dances as the wind sings, and dances to express its fullest self.

Trees in Delhi are as vibrant as the moods of the many ritus or seasons that exist here. The trees of Delhi remind of an American autumn in spring, with the Pilkhal shedding reddish brown leaves like the American maple leaves. The Semal tree also bursts vibrant red with its big flowers, announcing that its time for Holi. 

Childhood memories of the Harshringaar blossoming meant that it was Durga Puja time soon. In one such tree moment, a Harshringaar gave me a lovely surprise – I woke up to see the car parked under the tree to be completely covered in tiny star-like white and orange flowers. It was nature’s installation-art moment,  and we giggled away as we shared this beautiful transformation of the mundane.

Delhi’s Amaltaas tree is also quite like a trickster. Gorgeous yellow blossoms that make a guest appearance only in May, shine splendidly in bloom. As a child I have memories of walking down a road lined on two sides by only Amaltaas trees – in the searing heat of summer, I walked through an illusion of a cool, yellow heaven, surrounded by yellow bliss! Could colour play such an illusion which felt both cool and warm? A delight where one’s body and heart experienced strange sensations quite at odds with each other? Nature’s display of art mesmerizes, and as human beings, artistes simply aspire to spin the mysteries of the universe at their individual level : to paint and dance with all the colours of their own divinity.

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