Mangaluru: July 29, 2015: For BH Tanvi Rao, the passing away of former President and eminent scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is a personal loss. For Kalam remembered the promise he had made to her, and kept it.
Tanvi, now studying pre-university at St Aloysius College, recalls Kalam as a down-to-earth, more than simple person who inspired her.
It was this inspiration that made Tanvi, when she was barely six, send a dance video of her performances, choreographed by her for two Kannada poems written by poets DR Bendre and Channaveera Kanavi, for the Suvarna Karnataka Rajyotsava, to Kalam. Within a few weeks, she had a surprise in store. A letter from Kalam landed at her doorstep, and read: "Dear Tanvi, Thank for your letter with the CD of your dance performances. My best wishes to you. May God bless you. APJ Abdul Kalam".
A few months later, Tanvi was in Delhi to take part in a national-level dance competition. She wrote to Kalam, with a request to meet him. When in Delhi, she received a call from Rashtrapati Bhavan to inform that since the President was busy with emergency meetings over the tsunami, he would not be able to meet her. The caller also relayed the President’s promise: he would meet her whenever he next went to Mangalore.
Five years passed. In February 2009, Kalam visited Mangaluru. On February 25, 2009, Hariprasad Rao, Tanvi’s father, got a call informing that Kalam was going to meet Tanvi personally at the Circuit House at 9pm. "It was unbelievable,’’ recalled Tanvi. "At the Circuit House, he came towards me smiling, his eyes shining. It was like meeting an uncle of mine. After he listened to what I had to say, he saw my album and said: ’Oh, it was your Arangetram?’ He saw my Arangetram album and asked a few questions. I presented him my Arangetram VCD, he took it, smiling with affection, and placed his hands on my head, like a blessing, saying he would watch the CD.’’
"All I can remember now is - though a great man, he kept a promise made to a little girl, which speaks volumes about him,’’ said Tanvi, a science student who wants to pursue a career which will also allow her to practise Bharatanatyam in future.
Tanvi learnt Bharatanatyam from Geetha Saralaya and Rashmi Chidanand, Nrityabharathi. She is also a choreographer for other forms of dances and has won prizes in many dance competitions for self- choreographed dances at state and national level competitions.