Mallika Sarabhai on Battles With Grief and Body
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – This is a frank portrayal of the extraordinary life of acclaimed dancer, actor, and activist Mallika Sarabhai, very aptly titled ‘In Free Fall: My Experiments with Living’ (Speaking Tiger).
She doesn’t hold back in talking about her “thirty-year obsession with being thin”; her addictions like smoking and how she “hypnotized” her way out of it; her fascination with prana healing, Ayurveda, and color therapy; and the beauty treatments she used for “future-proofing” her body so that she can continue to dance and perform for years to come.
She speaks with equal candor about her battles with grief and depression – when she lost her beloved father, the space scientist Vikram Sarabhai, in 1971; a painful break-up with a man she loved; and her ups and downs with her children, due, in part, to her own relationships.
The loss of her mother, dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai, in 2016, left her bereft; yoga, dance, transcendental meditation and – Non-Violent Communication – were some of the ways that she coped.
Laced with humor and earthy wisdom, “In Free Fall” is all about coming to terms with yourself and your body and finding the lifestyle that works for you. And how to make mistakes, pick yourself up and carry on. Never preachy, this self-help memoir delivers an immensely useful message for anyone who wants good health – and happiness.
“For years people have asked me, ‘What is your routine? What do you do to still dance this way? How do you have so much energy?’ and on and on. The lockdown left me alone and I felt I wanted to write this. It became a memoir because one’s body and what you end up doing are so intertwined,” said the dynamic dancer-turned-author.
An activist for education, human rights and women’s empowerment, her numerous stage productions have raised awareness, highlighted crucial issues, and advocated change, developing her own contemporary dance vocabulary to create short and full-length works that have been presented throughout India and in over 50 countries across the world.