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Better Late Than Never, This Dancing Diva Knows Best 

Indian Masterminds Stories

Career or hobby? Which one is to be given precedence,  is often most difficult choice lot of us face in the beginning of our career. Most don’t get to pursue our hobby as passionately as career. Yet, there are very few people who never lose hope and try to pursue their dreams no matter what. One such person is IAS Dr. N Vijaya Lakshmi, currently serving as the Joint Secretary for Department of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare. 

Apart from serving 27 years as IAS officer, Dr. Vijay Lakshmi is also a passionate Bharatnatyam dancer. A 1995 batch IAS of Bihar cadre Dr. Lakshmi spoke exclusively to Indian Masterminds about what classical music, dance and poetry means to her life. 

GOT THE INSPIRATION FROM TELUGU MOVIES 

Dr. Lakshmi hails from Andhra Pradesh and due to her father’s transferrable job they used to move around the state a lot. Since her childhood she had lot of love for classical music and dancing. “I used to watch lot of Telugu movies specially the ones directed by Kasinadhuni Viswanath. His movies had lot of classical music & dancing. Whenever, I used to see any actors perform classical specially Bharatnatyam, I used to immerse myself in that and imagine me at their place. That’s the kind of passion I had for Bharatnatyam”, said the IAS. 

Dr. Lakshmi started learning at the age of 40

However, she couldn’t train during her childhood because as they move around, it would get difficult to find a teacher. Later on, she got busy with her studies, went for double post-graduation and then cleared UPSC. After this, she had lot of service and household related responsibilities and between managing all these, she got distanced from dancing. 

STARTED VERY LATE 

Being an IAS officer provides you little time for leisure and then she had a kid. So, she couldn’t pursue her passion. It wa sin Delhi (during 2003-07) where she was on central deputation and took her daughter to Kuchipudi classes. The teacher got to know that she also wanted to learn and suggested her to join.

Dr. Lakshmi who has done her PhD in Management from IIT, Delhi says, “At that time, I was busy with my PhD and had no time. Also, I felt that I am too old to learn now. However, this got struck in my mind. After coming back to Bihar in 2008, I decided to learn no matter what. I got enrolled in Bhartiya Nritya Kala Mandir, Patna. I was 40 at that time.” She learnt for around a year and performed at Rajgir Mahotsava. 

Later on, she got stuck with too much work as she was given many additional charges. It was impossible for her to continue learning. The situation continued and then came Covid. It gave her some time to explore her learnings and passion. “I started expressing whatever came to my mind through dancing. I could manage few performances and uploaded on YouTube”, said Dr. Lakshmi. 

FEELS ART WITHIN HERSELF 

Apart from dance she also has immense love for poetry and literature. During her education time she read lot of Telugu poetry and literature. Devulapalli Krishnasastri is one of her favourite writers & poet of all time. “I have read one full library of books (district library on Telugu literature) in addition to my regular curriculum books when I was a student. That’s kind of appetite I had for reading”, adds the officer. 

She feels that dancing, poetry and literature is within her. She is not separate from all this as they complete her personality. Although, Dr. Lakshmi couldn’t get proper training or devote her whole life towards it but wants to contribute as much as she can with her learnings. 


Indian Masterminds Stories

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