Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Passage This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     The stage lights dimmed, and I took a quick peek from behind the heavy black curtains into the audience. Blinded by the lights, I hastily pulled back. What seemed like an infinite number of eyes were looking at me. I took a deep breath as the strains of a lone sitar became audible. The lyrics of my solo began to play - Vani vagadishwari. I entered the stage and began the first of an hour-long dance program that was the final test of my stamina, memory, and grace and the culmination of my career in the ancient tradition of classical Indian dance, Bharatnatyum.

After a decade of learning this art form, I had finally been deemed ready to take on the most difficult and rigorous of milestones, my arangetram, or Bharatnatyum graduation. The arangetram is the most prestigious event in a dancer’s life, as it pays homage to all the factors in one’s life that cultivate the dance form: one’s culture, one’s family, and one’s guru.

An arangetram is undertaken only by the most dedicated, or determined students. It is a rigorous, difficult process that requires the utmost commitment. For more than six months, I spent two to three hours every day practicing these dances. Many times, I pushed myself to my physical and mental breaking point, but still I would not stop. I could not give up. There was always so much more to do, so much more to learn.

I discovered a lot about myself in those desperate, exhausting hours. I learned that I was far too stubborn to give up, and I was too proud to prove myself wrong after I had set a goal. Even through physical pain and mental strain, I forced myself to meet my expectations. Even when I was at the end of my tether, there was always something driving me on, compelling me not to give up.

It was in those hours that I learned what an arangetram truly is. It is not simply a dance graduation. It is a coming of age. It was proof that I, Ujjayini Bose, could accomplish anything I set out to do.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




Join the Discussion


This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

AJFruitninja said...
Jun. 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm:
Very good! It reminds me of when I was in a dance group... great piece! Can you check out mine sometime?
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback