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A song to still the mind

Kozhikode artistes Jayaprabha and Jayaprakash Menon plan to make their mark in the Capital with a series of holistic workshops starting today, finds ANJANA RAJAN.



Jayaprabha and Jayaprakash Menon in New Delhi.

IT'S NOT easy to come from a small town like Kozhikode to the big bad world of Delhi, to shift one's view windows from the quiet backwaters of Kerala to the fume-filled streets of the Capital. And it's certainly hard to stay here doing legwork under the blazing sun while early rains drench your home State. But Jayaprabha and Jayaprakash Menon are determined to do just that, and in the process to bring their own brand of Mohiniattam and Carnatic vocal music to the notice of Delhiites.

Jayaprakash, whose approach to classical music is intuitive rather than pedantic, stresses the inner workings of singing. As the husband and wife team embarks upon a 10-day workshop in music and dance for anyone from the age of seven upwards, from this Monday evening, he makes an arresting claim about teaching concentration to his workshop participants: "I can prove that I can stop their mind," he says. "In teaching, people always tell children to concentrate. But children don't know how to do that. And enlightened people say, `Keep your mind aside.' But if people don't know which is the mind, how will they keep it aside? So we just stop the mind," he continues, the description becoming increasingly intriguing. Once he tells his students their mind has started again, "the questions start, and they feel the murmuring and are able to recognise it."

Later, the students are able employ the `mind stopping' technique themselves, adds Jayaprabha. For the first attempt, though, Jayaprakash is categorical. "It is my responsibility."

Not a bad proposition for Delhi's harassed populace. Ticking minds, ticking bombs. Plenty there for the diffusion squad, and many might like to try it. If the workshop beginning today at the Ambadi Hall of the Delhi Malayali Association, 21/685, DDA flats, Kalkaji is too short a notice, Jayaprakash hopes to conduct a similar workshop under the aegis of Ashok hotel in the near future.

His topics of study are dhyana sangeetam, basics of universal music, personality development among others.

Jayaprabha, who conducts Mohiniattam classes in Triveni Kala Sangam, has just returned from a performance tour of France. Her workshop will include loosening up exercises, Yoga and Kalari movements, says this dancer who initially trained under Kalamandalam Saraswati of Kozhikode and is also well versed in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi too. "I was a pucca Bharatanatyam dancer, and was doing Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Mohiniattam too. Then one day I saw Bharati Shivaji performing Mohiniattam. I fell in love with Madam's performance, and I felt I should dance as perfectly and beautifully as she does." Jayaprabha became a disciple of Bharati Shivaji and ever since has concentrated on this form.

Anyone interested in contacting Jayaprabha and Jayaprakash can email them at ambadi@nrksite.com or at jayaprabhamenon@

yahoo.com; or call the Delhi Malayali Association at 9810044895.

Photo: Anu Pushkarna

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