Storyteller who celebrates the past

Her 90 minute musical discourse in english had the local audience enthralled when she performed in Bengaluru on Saturday
Vishaka Hari thrives as an exception. An awarded chartered accountant, she is better known as one of the foremost exponents of Harikatha today. A staunch patriot who believes in never forgetting one’s cultural roots, her shows of musical storytelling sell out in Cleveland, just as quickly as they sell out in Melbourne. And she was recently in the city to regale a Bengaluru audience once again at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall with a 90 minute musical discourse in English titled Maathrudevo Bhava, in which she told tales of, as the name suggests, the mothers from the epics of yesterday and world of today.
“Bengaluru is simply one of the best cities in which I have performed. The audience is always giving you its complete concentration. The halls are full and in the umpteen number of times that I have performed here, people have clung on to my every word. You are intellectuals as well as raasikars – there is perfect union of head and heart,” says the woman who is a noted disciple of the Padma Vibhushan decorated Carnatic violinist Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman, whom she calls ‘Jayaraman sir.’
With her spiritual guru and father-in-law Sri Krishna Premi Swamigal guiding her in the principles of Kathakalakshepam, Vishaka often performs with her husband, Sri Hariji.
“My life is like any other Indian woman’s, the only difference is that I have to practice everyday. That however is for a limited amount of time everyday and the rest of the day is spent reading the scriptures, teaching my young students cooking and helping my mother-in-law around the house,” says Vishaka, who remarkably doesn’t own a mobile phone in this day and age.
In a show that is intended for children (but open to adults as well), Vishaka will be bringing some of her students to sing along with her. “There is a pronounced aim to spread the values of our independent Indian culture in our children. We are losing our values everyday, because parents have stopped inspiring their kids morally. We forget that from what you eat to how you dress, you are an ambassador of Indian roots. My art is both education and entertainment. It exists to incite awareness in children; earlier they were exposed to only the right, but now they are exposed to all sorts of things in this world. Hence, the importance of motherhood – the theme of the show. My son knows that if he does something that will anger Amma, he is better off not doing it at all,” laughs the mother of an eight-year-old.
( Source : deccan chronicle )
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