In Hindi school years ago, I learned this word, was taught its religious associations. What could penance mean to a child? I learned it through Kuchipudi2—
Even now, I think of a dance, always; I don’t know why.
I see Shiva 3 on a mountain, repenting; a dance for the heavens and the Earth.
Mother Earth, my namesake, I beg forgiveness instead of permission.4