The beach un madras….it’s a sunny morning….the waves splash high in foamy arcs….children play, laughing, shouting…the warmth…..the carefree joy…. And I am lost in all this.

Suddenly there is the voice of reality that reminds me that I must go home. Go back to the routine of schedules. It reminded me that I Vyjayanthimala, am a celebrity. And celebrities hardly ever have any time to relax.

At least so I had believed. And it was then long ago that I decided that I would never submit to this rule. Physically, perhaps, I could never escape the fetters that follow fame- the crowds, the fanfare, the publicity.

But mentally, I would be free. I would be free to breathe, to live, to relax. True relaxation is like a hidden spring: it can be discovered only when it is tapped. I do enjoy physical relaxation.

But it hardly matters without its mental attributes. The opposite of course is seldom true. By relaxation, I mean relaxation which enables one to forget the petty worries of everyday existence.

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It releases the mind into the realms of the unknown, where each discovery takes a new form, each thought assumes a new meaning. How do the stars relax?

Like anybody else. Take me for instance. On an off day, I spend more than half the morning in the bed, until someone shouts: “papa it’s late. Aren’t you ever going to get up?” reluctantly I get out of the cozy bed, inhale the cool, fresh air – eyes still heavy with sleep. But a night of good sleep is mere physical relaxation.

Real relaxation comes afterward, with the mental pepping up that allows me to forget the daily studio routine: the stale atmosphere on the sets the dazzling lights, the faces masked under grease paint, and the flight into the world of make-believe.

All this can be quite boring, despite the glamour that often surrounds it. The only way to get rid of the monotonous ennui is to cultivate a hobby for the sake of relaxation.

Merely dozing away the boredom never helps. It will only be a prelude to a more boring existence. Fortunately, I have so many other interests apart from acting that I am seldom at a loose end. Dancing of course is my favorite form of relaxation.

A friend once asked me if dancing wasn’t more rigorous than acting. “it can hardly be a recreation if one takes it as seriously as you do,” she said. But it is precise because I take it so seriously that I find it relaxing I told her.

You see dancing to me is not just a pastime it is a vital part of my life. Whenever I am in madras, I normally spend most of my spare time attending to my own dance school Natyalaya. I see to the various details of managing it efficiently.

I also devote much of my leisure to dance rehearsals. Bharat Natyam is an exacting art and its unique blending of rhythm movement and expression can only be achieved by continuous application.

It is in rehearsals if not the actual performances that if I find complete relaxation. My mind seems to soar to the rhythm of my feet and the world of greasepaint seems far far away.

The stage has always been my first love and I feel that it is the only medium that brings about a complete rapport between the performer and the audience. Perhaps this intangible link breaks up the mental tension.

It seems to act like a spring lock releasing fresh energy into me, revitalizing me, and making me relax. Could this be called relaxation you might ask? Certainly, isn’t relaxation essentially a release from your problems your own narrow sphere, in fact, a release from yourself into a wider world, another dimension?

During my recent three-day dance recitals in Bombay & Ahmedabad, I discovered on the very first evening that I had nasty corn on my right foot. I decided to ignore it and went on with the performance.

The second night my foot was so painful that I had to call in a doctor who advised me to give it complete rest. But here I was to give one more performance.

It was unthinkable for me to disappoint the audience. Finally, I coaxed the doctor into applying a poultice and was wary with the foot right through the rehearsals the next day. It was with a sinking heart that I faced the audience in Ahmedabad.

The music started. I firmly decided to ignore the pain ignore the very fact that it existed. I began to dance and danced with a vengeance mainly to forget the pain and it worked!

While I dance my mind was free untrammeled by physical discomfort and I felt relaxed! The press and public acclaimed my dances saying that the second performance had been better than the first the third better than the second!

This confirms what I have always believed that the will to succeed is much stronger than even the will to live. Nothing bore me more than building castles in the air. I put my thoughts on paper.

When I spend odd moments composing dances I have a sketchbook handy. The figures I draw for each pose and movement might seem childishly amateurish but they help me a great deal in my work.

I am not fond of the social whirl and spend very little time attending parties and other functions. I love strolling on the beach in Bombay and madras and occasionally enjoy a movie, preferably a foreign one.

I like a good musical and if there is a Hitchcock film in town well, there is no stopping me! As I have already said planned relaxation hardly matters.

It is the mind that must relax and automatically the body relaxes as well. I think the best form of mental relaxation comes from prayer.

I spend as much time as I can praying or performing pujas. I feel that puja was never meant by the ancients to be regarded merely as a devotional ritual. It also gave them mental discipline.

The peace and happiness that emanated from prayer are the most refreshing for prayer purifies the soul. In the long run, the inner peace dissolves tensions and when there are no tensions there is bound to be relaxation. – Filmfare 1960

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