28 July, 2021

Taal Of The Art Work Balance

Bureaucrat-dancers and banker-vocalists: India has no lack of professionals who find time to soar high in the classical performing arts

Keep In Time
Ananda Shankar Jayant, Indian Railways officer
Photograph by G. Muralidhar
Taal Of The Art Work Balance

Ananda Shankar Jayant is no stranger to travel, as you’d exp­ect of a railway official. The catch is that many of these trips are unofficial, with some taking her abroad—for she is simultaneously a busy classical danseuse. The Hyderabadi, who learned Bharata­natyam and Kuchipudi at Chennai’s famed Kalakshetra in the 1970s, has also earned a Ph.D. in tourism and is a senior officer at the Centre for Railway Information Systems, Secunderabad.

Conflicting careers? Not at all, says Ananda, a TED speaker and Padma awardee. “On the contrary, a regular daytime job enables you to cross-subsidise your serious artistic pursuits,” she adds. “This is my 30th year in government service. It’s all about prudent time management.”

To excel in an art or two that suits one’s talent while rising to be an above-par professional in an unrelated field is something a fair few in the country’s classical music and dances have achieved. While the trend has, predictably, been stronger of late, it wasn’t unheard of in...

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