‘Krisha ni begane baaro...’ by Vyasatirtha is a very famous kannada classical song. It means ‘dear (Lord) Krishna I wait for you, please bring yourself to light.'
My mother used to sing the original kannada version of ‘Krishna ni begane baaro’. One of her favourites. She had taken it upon herself to teach me how to dance on this one. She was passing onto me what she had learnt as a young girl.
The lines ‘kaalandige gejje’ (anklets on your feet) would be my bane. She would thump her foot flat on the ground making a loud noise and ask me to do the same. I would invariably apply only the toes and never the heel at the same time.
“Flat, flat, like a chapatti (flat breat) your foot should fall” she would say. I consistently twinkle toed my way around, much to her annoyance. I imagined myself to be some ballerina (1980s had a lot of Russian influence on Indian children). Ballet dancers never went phatak phatak like a chapatti. They were elegant, beautiful people who danced nimbly, I wanted to be like them.
Tempers would soar and sweetness of the song would be lost.
“I don’t like this dance and I don’t want to learn it” is what I told her one day. I must have been 8. I expected fireworks. There were none. She just sighed and stopped teaching me. Strangely, this incident was never spoken about after that. I never thought about it again. Never...until tonight.
I wish I had played along and learnt the dance from her. Maybe if I had performed it in front of her relatives, she would have been so proud. Why was I such a fool and she so giving?
Today, Krishna is here but ma is not!
(Call it karma or coincidence but my husband’s name is Parthasarathi which means Krishna. Mother was very happy to have met him on Oct 8th 2008. She passed away one month later on Nov 7th 2008. As if she were just waiting for him.)
‘Krishna ni begane baaro’....
She sang for him to come soon, for her little daughter. To make sure that her princess was in good hands. And the daughter thought a song was being forced upon her. Such is the irony of fate.