Joined: 23 March 2012
Chapter 30: Navarasas
"Sringaram" he heard Pallavi say as she plucked a chord on the veena placed in front of her.
Kashi turned around from the window.
Her hair was not in its usual braid and was hanging loose just as it had earlier in the day when he had run his fingers through its black long strands.
She was wearing a cream-colored sari with a gold-border that was about an inch wide; he only noticed then that Pallavi too was wearing the same thing.
They looked quite striking and he stood somewhat hidden by the column where he had stopped when he had spotted them.
He saw Kashi make an expression that bordered on coquettishness and looked at her with narrowed eyes.
"Veeram" Pallavi called out as she pulled on another chord of her veena.
Kashi's expression changed… now it seemed much more like herself… intrepid…
"Karunam" Pallavi said now… another chord plucked on the veena.
By now he had figured out that this some sort of art-form, albeit one that he had little knowledge of.
He looked at the younger sister and saw her face change to one of sorrow. It was quite different from how she had seemed after her dance that morning… when the sorrow had been true…
"Hasyam" Pallavi said now. Another reverberation on her veena. This time, he just watched Kashi and saw her expression fluidly change to one of… humor? It was proven true enough when she gave a side smile and winked.
He saw Pallavi raise an eyebrow and smile before she said, "Athu Sringaram. Hasyam." (That's Sringaram. Show me Hasyam).
He saw Kashi close her eyes and when she opened them, the teasing was gone and only the humor remained.
He didn't know that the expression of affect could be so… precise…
"Beebhatsam" Pallavi said now, evidently the second attempt of the previous emotion gaining her approval.
Kashi responded by crinkling her nose and scrunching up her forehead in disgust.
"Adbutham" came the next instruction with its cue from the veena.
She closed her eyes briefly as if to reset and then opened them widely in amazement.
The veena plucked. A moment passed. And then two.
"Bhayanakam" Pallavi repeated when Kashi did not respond.
Kashi's face changed, but he could not understand the expression that came over her now.
She stopped her efforts after a moment and looked at Pallavi.
"Bhayanakam." Pallavi repeated before a look of unadulterated fear came over her face.
Pallavi looked at Kashi as if to say 'Like this' and he saw Kashi try again, but for the life of her, she could not bring about the correct expression of fright.
Every time she thought she managed, it slipped almost immediately to something resembling anger.
"Roudram!" Pallavi said now, loudly, finally allowing Kashi relief from her unsuccessful attempts.
This one, she did with triumphant aplomb, and it was easy to guess what it was… Anger… It was clearly her forte. He could vouch for that.
"Shaantam" he heard after several moments and heard Kashi exhale in relief.
"Shaantam" Pallavi said again.
"Ichechy athenne onnu kaanichu taa. Enikkathichechy cheyyunna pole cheyyanariyilla" (Show me that one, di. I don't know how to do it like you do.)
Pallavi tilted her head and looked at Kashi for a moment.
Without answering, she took the Veena onto her lap and ran her fingers over the entire length and Kashi sat down next to her, leaning back against the column just like he did every morning.
Pallavi started playing and he too sat down against the column that he had been leaning against until then.
The music started faster than her usual pieces and it took him a few minutes to realize that she was slowing down. She played for another five minutes… that was all it took to put him in a trance.
"Shantam" he heard Pallavi's voice at some point, which is when he realized that the music had stopped.
He opened his eyes and saw that Pallavi was looking right at him.
A moment later, Kashi too turned to look in his direction.
"Shantam" Pallavi repeated, both women staring straight at him.
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One does not have to be a Bharata Natyam dancer to understand how to express "Shantam" it gets mirrored on ones face when they feel it. Arnav was at peace listening to her play that calming piece on her Veena.
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