Opening – Aradhana is Getting Ready for her Performance
Aradhana was a bharatanatyam dancer.
She was getting ready for the annual dance show of the Kamala Devi School of Dance and Music.
She was on the backstage, getting ready.
The narrator, her sister Simmi, went to meet Aradhana on the backstage.
She was excited to see Aradhana in her costumes – pleated saree, blouse, long hair, flowers on hair and golden ornaments.
Simmi commented that Aradhana looked beautiful but she didn’t believe that. She looked in the mirror and agreed that she was beautiful.
Aradhana smiled and said humorously that Simmi looked ‘fair’ rather than beautiful. (Fair is used to describe male beauty. Aradhana was a little dark and Simmi was really fair)
Simmi admits that she was not as talented and beautiful as Aradhana.
What was Aradhana dressed up for?
Aradhana was dressed up in charming dance costumes for her Bharatanatyam performance for the annual dance show of the Kamala Devi School of Dance and Music.
What do we know about Aradhana and Simmi in the opening of the story?
It is quite certain that Aradhana and Simmi were loving sisters. Simmi was a fan of Aradhana the dancer and had deep love and concern for her. She did not envy Aradhana being a dancer. On the other hand, Aradhana was not proud of being a dancer. She was always worried about her dark complexion in comparison with Simmi’s fair skin-color.
Why did Simmi feel angry with Aradhana when the latter (Aradhana) mentioned fair?
Aradhana was always largely worried about her dark complexion. It was a reason for her constant worry. For Aradhana, a fair complexion was all that mattered most. Aradhana had good figure and a well-carved face. Besides, Aradhana was a wonderful person, a lot of inner beauty within. Comparatively too, Simmi was neither as beautiful as Aradhana was nor was she half as talented as her. Seeing how gifted Aradhana was, Simmi felt a surge of anger.
Why does the narrator say that smiling is not very difficult for Aradhana?
Aradhana is a Bharatnatyam dancer. In Bharatnatyam, expressions of all kinds is part of the art. Being a trained artiste, Aradhana knew how to smile.
Was the narrator jealous of Aradhana? Why do you think so? No, the narrator, Aradhana’s sister, is not jealous of her. They loved each other and encouraged each other. The narrator had a great character to appreciate Aradhana who was the star of the night and one always ahead of her in terms of charm and skills.
Next – The Green Room
When Simmi turned to go, grandmother (dadima), aunt Pramela and their mother came to meet Aradhana. Aradhana didn’t like Aunt Pramela. She didn’t feel like seeing her at this time. The narrator (Simmi) warned Aradhana not to behave meanly with Aunt Pramela. Mother informed Aradhana that her grandfather and father also had come to attend the show.
“Aunt Pramela”, my sister rolled up her eyes in mock horror, “If it isn’t a bad omen!”
“Come on, Aradhana,” I chuckled, “Don’t be mean. Smile, smile Bharatnatyam style. That shouldn’t be difficult for you.”
My grandmother who suffered from rheumatism waddled towards my sister. My mother appeared from behind her and said in her ambassador voice, “Look who are here to wish you, Aradhana.” She gave sister one of her best smiles. My mother looks ten years younger when she smiles. She adjusted Aradhana’s blouse and patted her on the shoulders, “Grandfather has come too. He’s sitting in the front row. And so has your Father, —— ah, how forgetful of me.” She held my sister at arm’s length and said gently. “We are are so proud of you Aradhana, my dear, that you have been selected to inaugurate the Annual Show of your school.
Father and I have something very special for you on this important event. We wanted to give it to you on your eighteenth birthday next month, but we thought
today was a more appropriate occasion. We want you to wear it today.” She turned to me and said, “Run Simmi, get it from father!”
What mummy?” I asked, puzzled. “What have you brought for Aradhana?”
“Never mind,” my mother sighed, “I’ll get it myself. You help grandmother and aunt Pramela back to their seats.”
“Move back,” protested Grandma, “I haven’t even had time to look at Aradhana properly. I haven’t exchanged a single word with her. Let me look at you child.”
She regarded my sister tenderly, “You look wonderful. And what a good figure you have. Don’t neglect it, dear, like I did.” “No,” Aradhana smiled politely.
“You are a real young lady, that’s what you are. Soon we’ll have to start looking for a suitable match for you.”
“Dadima please,” Aradhana threw an embarrassed glance around her.