In conversation with Prachi Saathi, Bharatnatyam Dancer

1. We would like to know about your experience with beauty growing up in India.

Growing up I had very little awareness of, or rather gave very little importance to, the term beauty. Thankfully I grew up in an age where we didn't need validation of our work or how we look from complete strangers or from people who are supposedly your friends but you haven't ever met. I hope you understand that I am referring to the social media addiction that kids these days go through. Having said this, back then there was also this heavy association of beauty to fair skin which with time I realised is so unfair. Today as I speak about this term i feel I understand one thing for sure that "Beauty truly lies skin deep". Superficially there are many ways to look beautiful but what ultimately makes someone sparkle is that radiance from within.

2. Could you tell us a few traditional beauty rituals you picked up from your family members while growing up?

I have always been extremely lazy about caring for my skin or hair. What I am surviving on is good genes and very little usage of products which have any sort of chemicals. But the simple things we learn from our parents come handy at times. For instance, washing your face with a mild face wash, and moisturising it with a lotion. I also prefer using coconut oil on my body and face especially during winters as i have very dry skin. Oiling hair two to three times a week for which my mother prepares a very special concoction of coconut oil with curry leaves and herbs. Most importantly: eating healthy and getting good sleep.

3. Could you tell us a few DIY tips for effective skincare? Or perhaps talk about your skincare regime?

 As I mentioned earlier I am extremely lazy about my skin and hair but whatever little I do manage to do is what I have answered in the previous question. Apart from this once in a blue moon I indulge in an ayurvedic body massage with oil, and a head massage to feel relaxed. And i promise myself as I walk out that I shall do it more often but that never happens.

4. How do you relate your art of dance with beauty? Please tell us about your journey into Bharatnatyam? How did you discover it?

Now there are two aspects to this. One being that this art form itself is one of the most beautiful art forms of India and the other one being that anyone who practices it with the discipline and the integrity it demands automatically looks beautiful. One always looks at the term Beauty in a very superficial way but in its true sense beauty is an amalgamation of many layers in a person. When you watch a good performer dance you are first drawn to her physical appearance but what takes you to the next level is the way she executes her ideas, delineates the art form, shares her ideologies and opens a window into her mind and heart. And that is what makes her beautiful inside out.

My journey into this art form began roughly two decades ago where I would cry and crib to go to class but thanks to the conviction and faith my mother had in me she continued persistently. And here I am today calling and thanking her each day for doing what she did. After my initial training and Arangetram in Nalanda Dance Research Centre, Mumbai under Shri. Vaibhav Arekar I received extensive training under Guru Lata Raman who moulded and shaped me and gave me the confidence I needed as a soloist. Under her guidance I completed my Masters in Bharatnatyam and performed on various prestigious platforms and festivals in India and abroad. It was in the year 2012 that I watched Smt. Rama Vaidyanathan and was drawn to her visualisation, her technique and her approach to choreography. I was more than thrilled when she agreed to mentor me and that gave a new turn a new rhythm to my dance. I discover new things about my dance each day. Every idea seems like a possibility to be conveyed through dance. Dance is a language for which I use my body as an instrument and that itself is beauty.

5. Could you tell us a few of your favorite beauty ingredients?

From the very few that I use, my favourite is coconut oil, rose or mogra water to refresh the face and honey. I also have a concoction of warm water with lemon juice and salt and pepper after every meal which keeps my skin hydrated. I exercise and dance regularly and, most importantly, I laugh a lot because that keeps me and my skin most beautiful.

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