Ta | Thei | Thei | Tat | Aa | Thei | Thei | Tat | – My Kathak Baby Words

These words were as confusing as they sound, when I first started. Dance has been an integral part of my life since I was a child. Like many of my friends, my mom enrolled me into Bharatnatyam (an Indian classical dance form from South India) classes when I was 8 years old. I thoroughly enjoyed the classes and I cherish the memories of my first performance on stage. In fact, my dad framed that picture of a 9-year-old me with more than required make-up on my face and a very fancy costume.

Fast forward a few years later, I was introduced to Kathak by my best friend. Ever since, I am in love with the dance form. I was lucky enough to have received training from 3 very well-known dancers and to have parents who actively supported me in that endeavor. 

I am also very obsessed with a few dance artists. I will watch their same video numerous times and I am the happiest person every time someone posts a small snippet of their performance. I keep up with where they are performing even though I was sadly never able to attend any of the performances until this internship. During my 7th week in India, I found out that one of my idols, Gauri Diwakar was performing in DELHI. For once, I was in the right place at the right time. I enquired from 3 different sources, including the dancer herself, on how to buy tickets. It turned out to be a free show. I even asked my supervisor if I could leave work early on that day so that I could be on time. 

So, on Thursday 25thJuly, I left work at 6.45PM, got in an Uber and reached my destination, Sri Ram Center for Performing Arts, at 7.29PM. The auditorium was already packed when I got there. I felt like I was in a completely different world. Unsurprisingly, I saw many other dancers that I admire. All these artists whom I had only seen in videos were standing in the same room as me. I didn’t move my eyes off the stage for a single moment. I could write pages and pages about how I marveled at the dancer, the concept and the execution but I’m going to spare you that and just put a video below.  

After the show, I went to meet Gauri and it was amazing to finally talk to her in person.

I left the auditorium with a huge smile on my face, feeling so inspired. 

Last Friday, LEAP Skills celebrated India’s Independence Day in advance in the office. We were pranked by our supervisors, Riddhi and Ritwik, the founder, Ankit and some other people in the office.  They claimed that in the past years, CASI interns always did a talent show at the end of their internship. Apparently, someone juggled, and some other intern did magic tricks. The funniest part is that Ria and I believed them and one day before, we ended up preparing something.

So here is a 30s extract from our performance. “Our debut in Delhi with an audience of 45 people”, says Ria

Shoutout to Ria, my first live musician– BTW, she has some great pen tapping beats!!

Since this is my last blog, I am going to seize this opportunity to convey my thanks to CASI(specially Laura and Makeda) for making this trip and internship possible. When I was finally getting really comfortable in my environment and used to the people around, it’s sadly time to leave. But, I remain grateful for all the people who made this trip enjoyable, everyone who supported me throughout and all the learning experiences at LEAP. 

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About Tashweena Heeramun

Hi! My name is Tashweena Heeramun. I am a rising junior from Mauritius. I am currently studying systems science and engineering and I am pursuing minors in computer science and math at Penn. This summer, I will be interning at LEAP Skills Academy in New Delhi. I am very excited to explore new foods and meet new people!