Creative spaces Society

Keeping it simple

Rajashree Warrier

Rajashree Warrier   | Photo Credit: S. Gopakumar

Rajashree Warrier finds inspiration in nature and in little things around her

It is a huge mirror that welcomes me to Rajashree Warrier’s creative space on the first floor of her house, Harisree, at Nandanam Hills, Swagath Nagar, Vattiyoorkavu. The tranquillity in spite of having many houses in the neighbourhood sets the mood. As sunlight streaks in through the windows, the cloth curtains, one green and the other light orange, and a cane curtain give the perfect ambience.

This is Uttarika, where she gives training in Bharatanatyam and Carnatic vocal. As I look around for a place to sit, Rajashree walks in with a floor mat. “I like to use minimum furniture,” she says with a laugh. Although there are a couple of rooms on this floor, this space has an identity of its own. The room opens to a terrace and one can just keeping looking out at the mountains as far as the eyes could reach.

Comfort zone

“This place is sacred for me, like a temple. Each time I have that creative block or I feel low, this space energises me. In the morning, I love sitting here listening to Kishori Amonkar. I prefer to work in the wee hours of the morning. When sleep evades me, I dance to my heart’s content in this space,” she explains, as we squat on the mat.

A dancer, singer, writer and television anchor rolled into one, Rajashree has been living here for eight years now. Prior to that she took classes at the rented houses she stayed. “We bought this house when its construction was half way through. What attracted me to this plot was that it is situated far away from the main road. Even though the location makes it difficult for us to attend to several chores, the inconvenience is nothing compared to the peace I get here,” she says.

Over 30 students, of all age groups, learn from her on weekends. “My institution was initially named Nethra, meaning vision. But when some issues cropped up during the registration process, I changed it to Uttarika,” she says.

Uttarika means ‘that which transcends’. And there is a story behind the name. “I once met a Bengali girl by this name at the Swathi Sangeethotsavam at Kuthiramalika Palace. Extremely intelligent, she had an aura about her. I liked her name so much that when I had to find a new name for my institution, I opted for Uttarika. I don’t know where she is now!”

Rajashree Warrier at her creative space

Rajashree Warrier at her creative space   | Photo Credit: S. Gopakumar

The room has a wooden box, which serves no purpose according to Rajashree, a television set and a book shelf mounted on the wall. “I switch on the television only to show my students dance performances of great artistes, especially of the old era. They should know how much the dance form has changed and evolved over the years,” she says.

A sounding bowl catches my attention. Apparently she had bought this while on a trip to Nepal with her friend, musician Soumya Sanathanan. “The bowl gives me a special energy. During that trip I also bought a statue of Lord Buddha that is kept in the shelf. At night when all lights are put off, it glows,” she gushes.

A tanpura, a painting of Krishna-Radha and a series of snaps from one of her performances complete the décor of the room. The mirror is definitely the centre of attraction. “It makes the space look double. The cloth curtains are an integral part; I have them in many colours and each shade gives a different feel to the room,” she says.

Rajashree also stresses that her creativity is not restricted to this space. “There is another terrace upstairs that runs through the full length of the house. Standing there I can get a full view of the city. I cherish the time I spent there. I sometimes get inspired while working in the kitchen as well.”

A regret is that there is not enough soil around and she has made up for it with the flower bed that runs through the terrace. I find newly-planted saplings — a few members of the Dashapushpam category, jasmine, arali, ramacham.... Dragon flies arrive in swarms, which she says is a regular phenomenon. One pillar looks shabby, reason being a pigeon that has made a nest on it.

“I want to keep a painting of Dakshinamoorthy, the god of knowledge; the inspiration being the one at my guru V. Mydhili’s institution. Whenever I felt very low, she used to tell me to look at the figure to change my mood. That really worked.”

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 3:54:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/multifaceted-artiste-rajashree-warrier-talks-about-her-creative-space/article19888753.ece

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