Hyderabad: Remaining cooped up in home day after day could be scary. More so in these trying times. But she doesn’t let claustrophobia to get the better of her, much less dull her sparkle. So how does she overcome the lockdown blues? Well, she simply dances them away.

For Dr. Mythili Maratt Anoop the present containment has not been much of an upset. In fact it has given her more time to improve her balletic movements, graceful gestures and dainty actions. In the initial days of lockdown, of course, she experienced the shut-in feeling like everyone else. But rather than waiting for the storm to pass, she decided to dance in the rain. It’s the perfect time to give vent to her pent up talent.

 

A performing artist and scholar, Mythili has turned the spacious hall in her Banjara Hills residence into a dancing floor. Her household chores and research work over, she devotes the afternoons to her passion – dancing. She busies herself in practicing and composing the padam  (lyrical poem) and varnam (music composition) she is currently working on. Her husband, Anoop, and daughter, Avanthika, takes turn filming her performances.

Thereafter, it’s time for online dance classes. With the lockdown in place, more students have joined Moham, her Mohiniyattam institute. “I explain the movements, see them dance and make corrections wherever necessary”, she says.

Mythili also makes short videos for the students to follow and practice at home. In fact she had planned many things as part of her annual show which had to be postponed on account of the Janata curfew on March 22. “There is a grand scheme of things and we as individuals are minute and insignificant”, she explains philosophically.


Dancing with feet is one thing and with heart quite another. Right from the age of five Mythili has been grooving on the dance floor. Strangely she has found herself through dance and lost herself in it. Though she works as a guest faculty at the University of Hyderabad, dance remains the integral part of her dream world. “It helps me express my innermost feelings and emotions. It’s an alternate world, a beautiful one, where I escape and come back rejuvenated”, remarks the Mohiniyattam exponent who juggles many roles – teacher, writer, mother and dancer.

The lockdown, she agrees, has restrained movement. But at the same time it has given more family time. She is happy to breath the clean air and hear the chirping of birds – things unheard of in the urbanscape.  As night sets in she loves to close eyes and dance in mind to a beautiful padam of  Swathi Thirunal or sway to Amir Khusrau’s verses.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan.

Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.