Here are some views received after the performance  from; the teacher (Guru) and the audiences (my school -Ursuline Academy, Guests from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Family members, Friends, and colleagues).

The Teacher's (Guru) Acclamation:

" I would like to congratulate Ahalya on successfully completing her Arangetram today. The past one and a half months have been very hectic. Besides getting ready for her Arangetram (this solo dance performance), Ahalya also had to practice for long hours for the school production Nritya Kalai, which took place here last week. She has worked very hard and shown great dedication and perseverance. She would wake up at 5:30 in the morning, practice for her Arangetram till 7:30 with me, and her mother Sobha would pick her up and drop her at school, which is an hour away. In the evening, she would again dance for 3 hours with her friends for the school production. I am very happy to say that Ahalya showed great zeal and stamina and never once complained and showed any signs of tiredness. She was always smiling and ready to go. Ahalya is very talented, cheerful, and affectionate, and its a pleasure teaching and working with her. Good job, Ahalya!"


 Sister Mary Norberta (Meine)

"What a great privilege it was to be invited to your Arangetram ! The full beauty of the occasion will take a while to fully appreciate.  I am always enamored  by different cultures but the introduction to this culture was spectacular.

The whole ambiance was great and the dancing in a deeply religious tone was especially touching. Thank you for sharing this special moment in the life of Ahalya. She has much to be grateful for.  The example and encouragement she has received I am sure will color the rest of her days.

It has been a pleasure to see this side of Ahalya.. What talent! "

"James Bell (Artist, Brigham and Women's Hospital)

"Wow! - Ahalya was wonderful ! I' am most fortunate to have been able to witness this special event and so be introduced to this beautiful art by such a superb artist as Ahalya obviously is.  In watching, one felt as though ancient mysteries, now long-forgotten , were hidden within the exotic forms and movements of the dance. You and your wife should be very proud of her, as I know you are. Dedication talent, and many years of hard work have here brought forth something beautiful....bravo to Ahalya! I can scarcely believe she is 16! Congratulations to you all!!"

Stanley Leeson MD (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School)

"Congratulations on the happy occasion of your Arangetram.

Eleen Stanford (Residency Coordinator, Anesthesiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital)

"Congratulations on your big day! Everyone is so proud of you.  Your Dad has been telling me about you for so long. The very best wishes to you. "

Naila Moghul MD (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School)

"Congratulations to Ahalya on this lovely and precious occasion, and to Sobha and Bhavani for raising such a accomplished and talented daughter.  With best wishes"

Jeanne Carabeuna MD (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School)

"Congratulations to you on this occasion of the Arangetram.  We are very honored to be able to attend this special dance. Your parents are very proud of you. Many bessings."

Daniel Dedrick MD (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School)

"Please forgive me for taking so long to write to you. We could not attend your Arangetram. Your father gave us two beautiful DVD's showing us your very special day and accomplishments. What a wonderful and proud day it must have been for all of you! Please accept this gift from us in recognition of your talent and achievements."

Beth Kiernan and Nancy Rafuse  (Brigham and women's Hospital)

Dedication is one thing, Vision, focus, and determination are 3 others. Four things and you've got all of them! That's a lot of things!

Anagela Bader MD (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School)

"Dear Ahalya, Congratulations and best wishes"

Mrs Tomase (Ursuline Academy)

"Congratulations! and much more continued success!"

Joan McCabe (Ursuline Academy)

"Congratulations on your Arangetram.  Thank you for sharing this special occasion with me."

Mrs Ecsedy (Ursuline Academy)

"Congratulations on your achievement! I can only begin to guess at the hours and hours of hard work you have put into this.  Thank you for inviting me to share this occasion with you."


Eric Sensei (School of Kempo Karate)

"Hope the future holds even more success in store for you"

Mrs Brandt (Ursuline Academy)

"Congratulations! Thank you so much for sharing the DVD's of your Arangetram. What a beautiful performance! The dances are so intricate - every detail, expression of your face, and every movement is full of meaning expression. The commentary really helped me and understand the meaning of each dance. Your parents and your teacher must be so proud of you!  I really enjoyed watching you. Congratulations on this memorable day in your life. I hope that you will continue to dance, and as your father said, to pass the tradition on to the next generation.

Sarala and family

"Congratulations on your day of great accomplishment. A lovely achievement for you and we are proud and elated to see your great performance. We wish you all the best"

Jyotsna (my friend)

"Congrats on this great achievement! Hope today brings you so many good, lasting memories."

Shivani (my friend)

"Cograts! This is a very special day for you and I hope you cherish it forever! You are a great dancer! Keep it up and always shoot for the stars!"


Neha (my friend)

"May all your dreams and wishes come true on this special day. I had so much fun getting to know you this summer and I am 120% positive that your will be divine today!  Best wishes, and know that we are all here to share this wonderful experience with you! Lots of love and support."

Venkata Sreepada family

"This is one of those times when you can truly say 'Life is Good! '  You've gotten something you've been working for and everyone thinks it's great! That's because they know you really deserve it!

Sudhir (My grand father)

I am very proud of the way you conducted your performance last Saturday. You are the pride of our family! Imagine that you are the first in our family to do this. I congratulate you for your endurance and extremely hard work . I hope you will head the way for more children to follow this fantastic and beautiful art. I truly feel honored to be one in the audience. Please keep up the good work. Remember, learning never ends!


The following is about the group dance in which I participated a week before my Arangetram

Lokvani News (Nrithyakalai)


Looking Forward To Nritya Kala- A Grand Bharthanatyam Performance
Chitra Parayath

Directed by Sridevi Thirumalai The Natyamani School of Dance is a school of the Indian classical dance of Bharathanatyam. Senior students of the school present an elegant evening of Bharathanatyam on September 19th at the Keefe Tech Auditorium in Framingham. Musicians from India will accompany the dancers on stage; the choreography is by Guru Sridevi Thirumalai.

Sridevi Thirumalai was all praise for the hard work and dedication of her students; going on to say that the time she spends with these performers will be cherished by her for years to come.

We asked the students, all of them graceful and talented dancers, what the production meant to them.

Neha Garge : ?"Dance has been a passion of mine since I started learning from Sridevi Aunty nearly 10 years ago. It has given me an outlet where I can seek peace, freedom, and happiness. Our upcoming performance has helped me improve as a performer, and has shown me what it takes to work as a part of a group. Above all, this experience has brought me much closer to my fellow dancers and my guru. I feel as if we started this journey as 9 classmates and a teacher, ending it as 10 members of a very special family."
Neha has been a student of Natyamani School of Dance since the age of 8 and is now 17 years old. In the fall of 2002, Neha successfully completed her Arangetram.

Isha Parulkar: ?Nritya Kalai? has been, aside from a test of stamina and discipline, a great way in which we can combine our individual talents and perform as dancers and more importantly as friends. I am certain that the three months we spent in concentrating our efforts on this recital are nothing compared to the rewards, lessons, and lifetime experiences we will have gathered from it!?
Isha, 15, has been learning Bharatnatyam under her guru Smt. Sridevi Thirumalai for the past 8 years. A headmaster list student at Worcester Academy, Isha is part of various clubs and activities and enjoys volunteering in Hospitals and Nursing Homes in her spare time.

Swathi Maddula : ?This experience has directly involved me with our culture,as well as teamwork, determination, respect, and fun. I greatly thank Sridevi Auntie for giving me the opportunity to participate in such an activity.?
Swathi has been learning Bharatanatyam from Smt. Sridevi Ajai Thirumalai since the age of six. She diligently completed her Arangetram in October of 2002. Swathi is an honors student at Shrewsbury High School and completed her Arangetram in October 2002.

Gayathry Sooriyakumar: ?The Nritya Kalai program has been a very memorable experience. From the great choreography by my loving teacher Sridevi Aunty, to the intense yet inspiring dance practices, to the many jokes shared between some of the nicest and most gifted dancers and friends is all a girl could ever ask for.?
Gaya has been learning Bharathanatyam at the Natyamani School of Dance since the age of nine. Gayathry is a high honor roll student at Thayer Academy in Braintree Massachusetts and completed her arangetram in July 2004.

Sangita Keshavan:? Nritya Kalai has been such an invigorating experience. I haven't just learned dance, and though my skills have improved greatly, our group has become tighter, my relationship with Sridevi Aunty, stonger, and we have built bonds that can never break. ?
Sangita has been a student of Smt. Sridevi Ajai Thirumalai since age six. Bharathanatyam has helped Sangita to further understand her rich culture. Sangita, 14, is a High School freshman.

Anunita Garg: ?"Being a part of Nritya Kalai, and bharatnatyam itself, has been a life-changing experience. Apart from perfecting my dance skills, it has brought me closer my culture, my classmates, my teacher, and myself."
Anu has been dancing since she was 7 years old. She is 15 now, and has been learning from Sridevi for 6 years. Anu is a junior at Westborough High School.

Ahalya Kodali: This performance is a beautiful collaboration of art, culture, and tradition that has given me a chance to show what dancing in India is all about!
Ahalya Kodali has been a student of Sridevi Thirumalai at the Natyamani School of Dance for seven years. She will perform her arangetram in September 2004. Ahalya currently attends Ursuline Academy as a junior, where she is a high honor student.

Jyotsana Vinayak: ?Through Bharathanayam I have gained a deeper understanding and Knowledge of our rich Indian culture. It is cool and awesome experience to learn from my Guru and dance with my friends.?
Jyotsna has been learning dance from Smt. Sridevi Ajai Thirumalai for the past seven years. Jyotsna is a junior at Ursuline Academy in Dedham, MA and will be performing her arangetram in September 2004.

Shivani Srivastava:"?Bharatnatyam has taught me hard work, discipline, creativeness, and the ability to believe in myself. I am honored to be learning from such a wonderful teacher and very thankful to Sridevi auntie for blessing me with such a gift.?
Shivani has been learning Bharatnatyam from Smt. Sridevi Thirumalai for the last eight years. Shivani had her Arangetram in 2001 at the age of ten. Shivani is a freshman at Thayer Academy in Braintree, MA.

Said Uma Keshavan, It is indeed a great privilege and honor for these kids to be involved in a project that is so dear to their hearts. As parents, we feel fortunate that our kids have an dance instructor who is so much more than that! Sridevi is an adult role model, a confidant, a friend, her students can rely on! Her dedication to her students is awe inspiring, let me recount an experience here. Last fortnight I was at a store at about nine in the night, catching up on back- to-school shopping when I spied Ajai and Sridevi Thirumalai in the store. Sridevi told me that they were there shopping for picture frames at that late hour as she was busy all day and wanted to make sure that they could surprise the students and their parents with framed photographs the next morning. All this even though she had not had a lunch break the whole day and was working solely on the basis of her morning meal! But again, that is Sridevi for you. She is the most wonderful role model I would wish my daughter to have...and you know I wish the absolute best for her!! This is a show that the students have all poured their entire souls into and I have to credit Sridevi for motivating them to do so.!"?

We, at wish these remarkble young ladies success in every field of life!

More information on Nrityakalai can be found at

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