Away from home, Thai dancer Sarjnya Emradee after travelling 5,438 km reached Kerala to unravel the mysteries of the world of Kathakali.
As a young child, it was the temple culture of her homeland that gradually made her curious, leading her to explore traditional dance forms. Stumbling upon the Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam triggered in her the ardent desire to explore the world of Indian dance.
Six months into her stay at Margi in Thiruvananthapuram, Sarjnya Emradee is already bowled over by the land and its people. It is one of the noted training and research centres in Kerala, dealing with performing art forms like Kudiyattam, Nangiarkoothu and Kathakali. She is a student of Kathakali at Margi.
“Kerala is an amazing place especially for learning! I also love the auto rickshaw drivers here in Kerala. They always charge me correct fares, unlike auto drivers in other places,” she says.
The temple culture of the State is another aspect that holds this vivacious Thai dancer in awe. “I have been to temple festivals in Alappuzha. They were magical! Especially the sight of the beautifully adorned elephants with the replica of the Lord placed on them,” she says.
The fact that the people of the State have won her over is evident in the excitement with which she describes how the people of Kerala are good at heart and give more value to human relationships than to monetary benefits.
She looks at her young daughter, Natya, seated beside her as she explains that the State has felt much like home as she and her daughter have been well taken care of by the people around her.
“I am away from home, yet at home,” she smiles.