Being a staunch devotee of Sai Baba, it is obvious that we celebrate Guru Poornima with great devotion. Guru holds a significant place in a student’s life. Guru is the combination of two words Gu and Ru. Gu stands for ignorance and Ru stands for remover. I am grateful to my mother who decided to put me under the tutelage of Shri Yudhisthir Nayak, also named as Jujhi Sir. He is my mentor, my guide, my guru. Since then, there was no looking back.
I am fortunate to have Shri Bichitrananda Swain and Shri Yudhisthir Nayak as my mentors. I started my career at Padma Shri Guru Gangadhar Pradhan’s Orissa Dance Academy. Orissa Dance Academy is always famous for the skilled dancers it produces. It was there I met Jujhi sir (Shri Yudhisthir Nayak) and was attracted to his teaching techniques. My mother decided to put me for private classes under him. My journey as a dancer under my sir was a continuous learning. My sir observed and absorbed the facts and could create that into a form of beauty. He is a skilled Mardala player and a melodious singer. He would emphasise a lot on Tala, Laya which made the understanding clear. He is a perfectionist. Everything has to be delivered to the audience with great precision. Dance also has science, and it is important to understand it. The practise sessions are a memory. Hours together with the same piece getting repeated until perfection is attained. Lots of sweat. His motto was “Perfect practise brings Perfection”. He would repeatedly say “Dance is a Sadhana”. A wonderful human and a selfless man he was. Financially he was never stable, but still money was never a priority. Tirelessly he would take our practise session for hours together. Then would cook for us. I am glad to be a part of these cherished memories.
He had some opportunity overseas for which he had to leave. He asked Guru Bichitrananda Swain to take care of our practise. It was then I got enrolled in Rudrakshya. The practise class at Rudrakshya is different. The focus is always on Basics. You are not allowed to dance without Yoga and a proper warmup. There the Traditional Guru Shishya Parampara is followed. Dancers stayed there and dedicated themselves to the art of learning. It’s a holistic development of the artists. For me Rudrakshya is a temple with positive vibes only. With Odissi, Bichi Sir also makes sure that each dancer learns Kaleiri, Chauu, movement analysis for being a better performer. Every summer he plans workshop for the benefit of dancers.
I personally owe a lot to both my Gurus. I have learned and am still learning a lot from these icons. On Guru Poornima, I pay my heartfelt gratitude.