As I write this letter, the memory of my whole journey with dancing, teaching, performing, and sharing in the USA comes alive in front of my eyes. So many people have been very kind, loving, and supportive of my work and conviction. I donít have enough words to thank all of these supporters and express my gratitude towards their presence in my life.
I came to the USA in 1993 as a young dancer with lots of passion and faith. You are the ones who made my inner quality blossom and bloom here in this foreign land. After serving almost 25 years in the west, I came to realize that having been blessed with knowledge, talent, and a passionate heart to serve the humanity through dance, itís time for me to share these blessings with the people back in my birth land, serving the underprivileged ones who weren't as fortunate as me. The desire of sharing the teachings and knowledge I have gathered as a maturing dancer and teacher - and above all as a human being - with them arose in my heart. This started to manifest with the helping hand of finances offered by Sumedha Ma, Jan Kirsh, Prasant Behera, and Sri Gajanana.
Now, after 5 years of constant travelling back and forth between Bhubaneshwar and California, I am very satisfied and proud that both Jyoti Kala Mandir schools are doing a fabulous job in training high-quality dancers and developing a healthy next generation, helping bring about a positive future.
JKM's India branch is located in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, where most local children donít have the opportunity to get exposed to our classical dance and many aspects of our rich culture. We now have 75 students in Bhubaneshwar, of which more than half receive a full scholarship for their dance training. This opportunity for service started when our JKM campus in Bhubaneswar was being built. I was practicing dance in the unfinished building, the construction workers' and daily laborers' children were coming and watching every day. I started giving them some food and sweets, then thought that I could teach them dance, and many of them became the new dance school's first students.
The scholarship program covers the students' dance training tuition and materials, including uniforms, costumes and jewelry, and gives them the opportunity to travel and perform in various places around India, getting exposed to cultural events, other artists and art forms, which would not have been possible otherwise. It is my wish that in the near future, just as JKM students from the US visit India, practice and perform along with the local student, that our JKM India students will be able to do the same in the USA. Itís my Seva and love to keep serving in this manner, as long as Jagannath provides me with the ability to do so.
If you would like participate in this journey and support this program, please reach out and contact me. I will be more than grateful to have your help for this wonderful cause of sharing the joy of humanity by bringing education, health, and freedom through art to the underprivileged.
According to our traditional life style, in our childhood we receive and learn from the society and world, as we mature, we settle and explore life, and finally it's time to give back and serve the world with our earned wisdom and developed qualities.
With love and Blessings,