The Baithak series aims to foster student engagement with the performing arts through intimate and non-stage performances .
Dilip Shankar and Mandakini Goswami from the Centre for Creative Expressions put together an unforgettable evening at Ashoka in the form of ‘Love Expressed’ - a performance that wove together poetry, music, spirituality and storytelling in a seamless and organic way and kept the audience completely enraptured for its two-hour duration. The event was organized by the Office of Student Life as a part of its Baithak series which aims to foster student engagement with the performing arts through intimate and non-stage performances like this one conducted on the 11th October.
Even before the performance had started and the audience was just trickling into the MPH – a sense of anticipation had already built up amongst those present. The third member of their team Mrinalini Chawla had done up the performance area beautifully using only a few pieces of cloth, some basic lighting and several strings of Mogra flowers, the scent of which hung in the air for the entire duration of the show.
The verses that Dilip and Mandakini chose to present all came from a tradition of Sufi or Bhakti poetry. Throughout the evening, they covered the works of several poet-saints ranging from Kabir and Mira to Rumi and Rabia all revolving around themes of love, longing, ecstasy and endless pining for the divine-beloved. Sometimes as only one of them would sing, the other would start relating to the audience, in perfect harmony with the singing, a legend associated with the poet-saint. Sometimes both would sing, sometimes neither and often they’d turn to each other and just smile glowingly. Their sense of joy and complete surrender charmed one and all present who smiled when they smiled, laughed when they laughed and were totally absorbed in their singing and storytelling.
After the performance ended, the audience bid a reluctant goodbye to the artists, but not before they had engaged with them briefly through a Q and A session.