Books

“Guru-Dakshina”

Ten-year-old Ayla is a Turkish girl intrigued by Indian classical dance. She craves the applause, acceptance and respect of the audience; however, she is a white girl in an ultra-conservative community. Her skin color and accent will forever mark her as an outsider. Will she submit or take a stand?
Ayla escapes to India in the 1990s. A country still in transition. Still unsure if it is socialist or capitalist. Still trying to figure out its place in the world.

ayla4Image: Colleena Shakti

Her search for an identity leads her towards Indian classical dance. She aspires to become a great dancer and develops a deeply emotional and spiritual bond with an eccentric dance guru.

A clash is inevitable when a feisty young girl with a rebellious mindset, and a conservative guru who values traditions above all else come together. They can self-destruct or create magic just as easily.

She roams the streets of India, explores its art and learns when to bow to its beauty and when to stand up to its ugliness.

This is the story of how guru and shishya come of age through one another. Ayla’s quest for redemption and belonging. Her first, last, dance.

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