MEETING his first guru and observing his inspiringly simple and artistic lifestyle, prompted Malabar resident Mahesh Narotam and a group of equally passionate friends to start a movement aimed at showcasing the classic Indian arts in Port Elizabeth.
Today, more than 25 years later, the Nirvana Performing Arts Circle continues to share the Indian heritage and love for the eastern classical arts with people of all races and cultures.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Nirvana is hosting a number of various local and international Indian arts performers throughout the year.
Having hosted two successful events already, the group is looking forward to their next performance in July where they will be showcasing a Northern Indian dance form.
Recently the organisation hosted Monali Shome from India at the Opera House.
The event was a huge success in showcasing the singing talents of the group. Nirvana Performing Arts Circle was formed in 1987 in Malabar – where all the founding members still reside.
The founders are Vinod Raga, Ashwin Daya, Rajen Ranchod, Mannie Nicker and Narotam, who is chairman of the group.
“We started the organisation to share our heritage and love for the eastern classical arts with all people, not just Indians,” said Narotam.
“The turning point in my life was meeting my first guru, Shri Jerambhai Bhana and his wife Smt Jaydevibhen Bhana, who were residing at Tolstoy Farm just outside Lenasia.
“This couple simply fascinated me in terms of their simple lifestyle, with cows roaming around the yard and painting, sculpting and music being the order of the day.
“I approached Jerambhai about the possibility of coming to Port Elizabeth to teach music.
“He subsequently spent three months in our city and for those of us who attended classes, it became a life changing experience,” he said.
Like all other organisations of this nature, Nirvana is a non-profit organisation with all of the funds coming from the shows hosted by the group.
They have also fostered a good working relationship with the Indian Consulate Office in Durban and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and have been facilitating their cultural programmes in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Narotam says all the time and effort is worth it when they have the opportunity to perform alongside international artists.