Dr. Srishti Budhori MD, physician and passionate dancer, who has been under the tutelage of Bharatanatyam stalwarts, Gurus Sri VS Ramamoorthy and Smt. Manjula Ramaswamy since the tender age of four, began grooving to the popular AR Rahman’s ‘Huma Ramamurthy’ song at the age of one, when her mother would play the cassette on repeat mode and go to her clinic and return to find her happily still tapping her feet and swaying to the song. This motivated her mother to put Dr. Srishti into a classical artform and eventually when they were posted to Secunderabad, one of her patients suggested the name of Guru Sri VS Ramamoorthy and Guru Smt. Manjula Ramaswamy garu and thus began her dance journey.
Speaking to Natyahasini, Dr. Srishti Budhori, who hails from a musically dancing family, reveals that her maternal grandmother was known to be extremely graceful and talented when it came to dance and without any formal training she was known to grasp and reproduce all the difficult choreographies of actress Vyjayanthimala at once. “My father’s family on the other hand are professional musicians and singers. Starting from my paternal grandmother with a very melodious hilly voice to my uncles, father and brothers, all are gifted in music. My father continues to learn Hindustani sangeet and my youngest cousin sister learns Kuchipudi. You can call us a musically dancing family,” she says with elan.
Spiritual Feeling: Recalling her learning under Late Guru Sri VS Ramamoorthy garu and Guru Smt. Manjula Ramaswamy, the physician dancer says that her dance classes went on daily after school until late in the evening with Sundays and holidays too being part of the dance classes. “As a child it was too overwhelming initially as other kids had every evening to themselves for playing and for me it was only dance, dance, and dance. But all this summed up and seemed worth it when finally, my teacher decided that it was the right time to do my Arangetram and despite performing countless solo shows before that, the atmosphere on the stage of Ravindra Bharathi with my teacher’s nattuvangam and Master’s blessings invoked a different spiritual feeling in me and made me determined to continue this art form as long as God wills,” says the Bharatanatyam dancer.
Dr. Srishti says that she must have been 12 years, when one evening while practicing for a solo performance, her teacher, who was in a very angry mood, asked her to present an abhinaya piece – Krishna Nee Bega Baro, which she was learning while observing the seniors. “When my teacher finally sat in front of me and asked me to begin, time flew and the item was over. I looked at her and noticed tears in her eyes and her arms stretched out calling me. Patting my back proudly, she said ‘God bless you’. This heartfelt gesture of hers commending my performance and blessing me is a memorable incident,” shares the doctor.
Encouraged To Live My Dream: The physician says that she is blessed to have wonderful parents, who right from the beginning have allowed her to live her dream in whatever she chose. “Even during my Class 10th and Class 12th boards, I did continue to pursue dance and took a month’s break to prepare for the exams. Both my parents and teachers believed and instilled in me the thought of giving 100% in whatever you do. That has been with me throughout and helps me to stay motivated,” she says. The dancer says that it has become a habit to practice dance daily even if there is an upcoming event or not. “During my medical school amidst the hectic schedule, this daily habit helped me to keep in touch be it for even 20 minutes, I would take out time to practice and on days where I had some time off, I would give extra hours into my Riyaz. For me, it was always to keep fit and have the stamina to perform a Margam even if someone woke me up in the middle of the night,” she says smilingly.
Srishti who really enjoys listening to classical music, especially while studying, says that Sitar is her favourite instrument and she hopes to learn it someday. “Out of all the beautiful dance styles, Odissi being one of the oldest like Bharatanatyam strikes a chord within me. If ever given a chance to learn something else, it would be Odissi and Sitar,” reveals the dancer.
The Physician dancer shares that she had the opportunity to perform at many college festivals and medical conventions and introduced Bharatanatyam to the non-initiated in Indian culture to whom Bollywood was the ultimate representative of India. In response to teaching Bharatanatyam to fellow students in hostels, while pursuing studies, Dr. Srishti says that she did receive overwhelming response from people across different backgrounds and did inspire her to take up small sessions, but nothing in detail as the artform requires proper time and dedication to maintain its authenticity. “This was respected and appreciated by them,” she says.
Balancing Comes Naturally: Srishti says that when one can balance waking up, bathing, eating, drinking, playing and updating statuses on social media, why not work and dance. “I have seen right from my childhood, my gurus and parents balancing family, work, personal life and us so beautifully that it got imbibed in me and now it comes naturally. Taking out even 30 mins a day for my dance is a great kickstart and boost to my energy at work and practicing this habit daily has become my second nature. I strongly feel that my profession helps me heal others and my passion helps me heal myself,” says the physician dancer.
The Bharatanatyam dancer who has authored a book on the Indian Classical art forms, ‘Nritya Maargdarshika, an insight into the World of Indian Classical Arts’, in 2015, says that she has plans to pen another book, but due to busy schedule she needs more time to research. “Hopefully sometime in future, God willing,” she says. To all the young dancers aspiring to continue dance along with professional streams, Dr. Srishti quotes Swami Vivekananda – All power is within you and you can do anything and everything, believe in that and do not believe that you are weak.