Dance-Drama ‘Khidki’ – An Exquisite Treat for Connoisseurs of the Fine Arts


By Nandita Sharma 

HOUSTON: There is an old saying that children end up being, thinking, and doing things just as their parents and teachers did. While we rarely appreciate the advice of our parents and teachers, it is amazing how much their thoughts resonate in our minds and directly influence our decisions and choices.

 As a parent of a young girl, seeking a teacher for her child, I felt that to teach an intelligent child may not be very difficult if given enough number of years and practice. Maybe my views stemmed from the fact that I didn’t learn and pursue any Indian classical dance as a child, and by-and-large they all seemed similar to me. Hailing from South India, I had never seen nor known anyone who had learnt Kathak. Our journey really began when I started visiting teachers of various vocations: piano, swimming, vocal, classical, ballet, gymnastics, and karate. I spent a lot of time to conduct my own due diligence by visiting with the teachers and watching their classes.

 When I met Shiva Mathur, intuitively I knew that I had found the teacher, rather the positive influence and guiding light that I wanted for our daughter. The humility and respect with which she interacts with the other person speaks volumes about her upbringing. She carries not just herself but everything that her parents, grandparents and all the Gurus who entered her life during the different stages of her training with her, both in spirit and word. She had the humility to remember, thank and praise them right at the very beginning. She explained to me how her work was her way of worshiping the Lord and how her dance originated and flowed through a spiritual direction. She mentioned that she chose music that spoke of divine love and beauty. Honestly, while I did not fully understand these concepts, I realized she was explaining something good and pure, which I wanted our child to be exposed to and have the opportunity to learn about.

 Shiva ji comes from a family where the arts are greatly respected and appreciated. Where a finer understanding is not taught to the members, it’s a part of the fabric of their souls and they are secure in it because they know that their hearts have known those sounds and steps, even in the womb. Her own maternal grandmother, Shanthi Sahai is an acclaimed writer, poetess, radio artist, dance teacher and a renowned literary figure in Lucknow. Shiva ji’s gurus include professionals at the Bhatkhande Institute in Lucknow.

On Sunday, February 16, Shiva Mathur has a very special treat for connoisseurs of the fine arts. The performance at the Stafford Civic Center promises to be truly spectacular, in a league with those that grace Houston’s famed theatre district. The show, titled “Khidki” (the window) is themed like an opera. The story revolves around the intense desire of two poor sisters to learn Kathak, and how they succeed by secretly watching the guru teach her regular students.

The poignant tale serves to highlight social issues, particularly the eternal divide between the rich and poor through the behavior of some students, but essentially highlights the triumphant achievement of one’s dreams through burning desire, dedication, and determination over adversity and seemingly insurmountable odds. It will be a sold out event, I hope you get to see it and not just read about it.