Choreography in classical Kuchipudi using Hindi, English and Sufiana music without compromising on the grammar of the art is indeed an art in itself. We have aesthetically played around. I have been one of the first students of my guru and husband Raja Reddy and sister Radha. Our journey – both in art and investment - has been a long story.
Rajaji ran away from home at the age of 17 to pursue his love for dance. It was 1965. Hailing from an influential family in Adilabad, now in Telangana, where performing art like dance was looked down with disdain, he was cut off from his family wealth. My father, who was his maternal uncle, took control of his portion of wealth, which included vast ginning of cotton, petrol pumps and real estate. For a decade, he was denied of everything.
It was only when they got national and international acclaim, the family was convinced of his true worth. Rajaji finally got his share of wealth back. He was, however, never really keen on money management. I would say, he sill doesn’t understand the colour of money the way he understands the sound of talam (beats).
In 1992, he lost all his wealth. We were in a big shock. I would not like to talk much about it. It was a period when he was well acclaimed for his art and had attained a certain level of prosperity. Going bankrupt was not easy. He had to start all over again from scratch, especially in that part of life, which would hardly interest him.
That was a turning point for us. We realised the true value of money and how important it was to save and invest. As they say, once bitten twice shy. We became very cautious. We started saving in bank fixed deposits, sold off our industry in ginning and invested all that money in property. Running the industry was not our cup of tea. We ensured to keep everything under our control. After all, we needed to give shelter to our daughters as well.
For us bank deposit was a safe choice. We didn’t want to invest in equity and drift into a path, which we knew nothing of.
In fact, that incident made us learn a big lesson – never trust anyone with property and never trust the markets with money.
Insurance has been a good tax saving instrument and we have invested quite a sum there. We have bought good term plans as future reserve. A close friend advises us on our finances.
We are passionate about art. We have an art gallery within the premises of our school - Natya Tarangini Institute of Kuchipudi - that hosts well-curated work of art.
Recently, we bought a few paintings for the art gallery. However, all investments for Natya Tarangini are totally separate from our personal investments. We are self reliant in running the institution. Investment is not just limited to our profession or personal life. It is how we balance and manage things.
As told to Outlook Money by Kaushalya Reddy