Unboxed Writers App for Phone and Tablet

Here are more ways to stay at forefront of Unboxed Writers and stay informed and inspired! Download our app for Android Phones and Tablets. Click on the image to Download Now!


Like Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter



Cattitude: Cause We Support


The Cattitude Trust is a Public Charitable Trust started to reach out to cats in distress, particularly in Chennai (India).

To know more about Cattitude, 'Like' them on Facebook.


Creative Commons License
All content displayed here by Unboxed Writers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://unboxedwriters.com.

Excerpt, Don't Copy: You may not publish an entire post. You may republish an excerpt of not increasing 250 words.

Give Credit: You may not use any material from our site without giving due credit to the individual author and Unboxed Writers. You must hyperlink directly to the post.

Author: Author of the post retains all copyright, and reserves all rights not explicitly granted here.

Shankaraa: From The Heart

In 1995, I met Bangalore-based danseuse Rashme Hedge Gopi on a routine assignment that turned out be not so routine after all. She was a leading  exponent of Bharatnatyam and for years had travelled to France, Germany, UK, Africa and USA, the erstwhile USSR , performing and representing India at prestigious international festivals. And then just like that, she decided to raise her children full-time. But the need for self-expression could not be denied, nor could the growing awareness that  though, India needed cultural ambassadors like her abroad, it also needed artists like her to champion home spun aesthetics, fading art forms and more, right at home.

She was also deeply influenced by her father Shankar Hegde who was a philanthropist and  industrialist and had patronised the arts consistently.

So I found myself  spending a day at Rudraksha, an old, neglected family farm house that Rashme had redesigned into a cultural hub for Bangalore where tourists and expats came to experience rural Karnataka and were charmed by folk and classical arts and music, coastal food and visual aesthetics that included an open stage, a canopied, partially open auditorium, walkways detailed with sculpture and green spaces lush with flowers and coconut trees. At Rudraksha, I spent one of the most  memorable evenings of my life when a group of peace activists from Pakistan came dancing along with tribal percussion artists and then watched mesmerised as Rashme gave an Mohini  Attam performance. The evening ended  with them doing Bhangra next to Yakshagana artists.

A few years later, I walked with Rashme across a weed infested, almost arid piece of land that her family owned and heard her outline another dream. This time,a bigger one of using this space to create a home for all  forms of arts and crafts, of creating amphitheatres, performance spaces, art galleries, flowering grounds green with love and a lot more.

In 2002, Rashme realised that dream when Shankaraa Foundation opened its gates to everyone who loves the arts and wants to experience, learn or teach them. The grounds of Shankaraa speak of years of careful and passionate planning. There are traditional and contemporary sculptures, trees shedding flowers, scented bushes, wild grasses, wall murals,  two amphitheatres, a cafe theatre, a dance museum, beautiful kiosks for craft  fairs and a lot more.  Here, in this space, I have seen Zakir Husain and Birju Maharaj  perform, Rashme choreographing over 200 underprivileged children to present a sumptuous  dance drama, bustling craft melas and much more.

Shankaraa Foundation, in a way is a legacy of thought and creativity, Rashme wanted to leave for her children and for a young India looking to connect with something that is not defined by religion but something indefinable. That indefinable at Shankaraa Foundation is a feeling of inclusion, sharing, a pride that comes from doing things, not owning them and tradition that is not about rigidity but celebrating the best within us. For Rashme, to borrow her words, “Shankaraa is a sacrosanct space where culture in all its manifestations, classical and folk forms in all their purity can exist and thrive. It is an artistic reference point, a cultural nerve-centre for the future.”

Shankaraa also offers diploma courses in congruence with IGNOU (Indira Gandhi Open University) in various art disciplines. Underprivileged women are trained in life skills and children are initiated by leading artists into the best of arts and crafts via creative workshops and camps.What is however staggering is just how quietly, persistently Rashme has worked to achieve all this while battling immense odds including corruption and land sharks over the years. She has won a Rajyutsava award and many other plaudits but she has never  courted the press.

This year, starting from October 1 to October 6, Shankaraa is hosting Soma, a resplendent festival of arts (check the details on our home page) which encompasses theatre, dance, music, ethnic cuisines and more. She hopes to make this a regular annual event and to keep Shankaraa buzzing as a place where families and people from all economic backgrounds can come and savour an India fast disappearing from India.

Rashme’s dream is that Shankaraa will enrich, uplift and  inspire all those who step through its gates to experience it. Head for Shankaraa this festive season and rediscover the joy of connecting with your roots.

To know more, join their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/shankaraa.foundation

visit http://www.shankaraafoundation.com/

Reema Moudgil is the author of  Perfect Eight (http://www.flipkart.com/b/books/perfect-eight-reema-moudgil-book-9380032870?affid=unboxedwri )

Similar posts
  • Disconnecting From The Matrix Years ago I watched the The Matrix and it seemed like a fantasy with no element of truth in it. But when I watched it when I was older, it seemed not too far fetched from the reality we wake up to every day. The daily grind. Put your nose to the grindstone and chug away. Work [...]
  • That Which Is Left… I see this Laughing Buddha every weekend when I go cycling. Do you see the crow, perched on the board he is holding? Do you see how small it looks? This Laughing Buddha is gigantic. He is at VGP Golden Beach, Chennai’s first theme park. That part, where the Laughing Buddha was installed, of the [...]
  • The Eternal Seeker Finds Moksha There is a telling anecdote about Kishori Amonkar’s early years as a classical sensation when she was rattling off the number of shows she had been booked for and her mother and guru Mogubai Kurdikar, herself a legendary disciple of Ustad Alladiya Khan’s Jaipur Atrauli gharana, heard her out and asked her if her calendar had [...]
  • A Trek Back to Selfhood   “It seemed to me the way it must feel to people who cut themselves on purpose. Not pretty, but clean. Not good, but void of regret. I was trying to heal. Trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.” — Wild: From Lost [...]
  • Walking Tall Though Change Father was always a fast walker; his strides were long, his gait effortless. When Calvin and I managed to match his pace during our morning walks in Boat Club, I panted more than my canine companion. I was a teenager then and Calvin was just two. Father was faster, brisker, and more focussed than most [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Authors

Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers!

Subscribe for FREE and get the latest in your Inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.
Email *


Editor & Founder:
Reema Moudgil
Design Director & Founder:
Vani Bahl
Media Consultant:
Poonam Goel

Mission Statement

Who are we? We are writers. And here, in this space, we put pride and passion back into writing. We give ourselves and each other creative freedom and respect.

* We create an environment where content generation does not entail degeneration of inspiration and spirit.
* We create content that we believe in and identify with.
* We recognise that to create is always of more value than to berate.
*We critique without malice and arrogance.

This site is about us writers, what we stand for but more importantly, about creating something valuable, inclusive, thought-provoking. In this space, we do not just stand for ourselves but for all those who listen to a compelling inner voice that tells them, "Create!"

Unboxed Writers Share

Join the other awesome people who get the new posts right away by email!
Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers.
Enter your email and stay on top of things!