SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Friday, September 25, 2009

Some Dance and Dandia...


I dragged my husband and kids to the Navrathri celebrations organised by the Gujarathi Association of our Air Force Station . It always happens that when we are in our own state, the enthusiasm and the mindset is automatic. Yet to recreate the same feel in another state, where one needs to firstly look around for like minded people, get them to participate and show the same interest is tough.
I could see that when we went to this event.
Any one who has lived in Gujarat, will know that all 9 days of Navrathri, Garbha and Dandia is danced with fervor and dedication by young and old alike.

Garba is danced in a circle by clapping our hands and moving to a swaying rhythm. It is a very graceful and beautiful dance form, and when we see a large group moving in such unison. I tell you it makes me get goose pimples...silly me! But this is the India I adore. People of all communities living and enjoying the moment!!

Dandia is danced by partners, holding sticks in both hands. The simple pattern would be to strike your own sticks once, then your partner's twice, and then ours again, followed by shifting/moving places to our partner's side while she moves to our side. Simple. Yes! Very! But as the song increases it's tempo, the entire group must move as one, without missing beats or the rhythm and most important is not to beat up your partner or smash her hands while striking the sticks!! Looks easy, but it is tough in terms of coordination and accuracy.

Yesterday we reached the ground around 9.30pm, and some boys were dancing already. Graceful, they looked slightly incongruous, wearing pants and shirt for the occasion, and the organizers made couple of announcements that everyone had to come in Hindustani clothes from the next day...For a start, that itself was slightly sad...but I guess it was so hot and humid, that no one felt like dressing up.
But it would actually make sense for boys to wear a light Kurta/Pyjama in this weather, of course girls would wilt in that heat if they were properly decked up.

It doesn't matter, it is the spirit that is important. And there was plenty of that!

Coming back to the event, small children and teenagers were there in plenty, to learn and to dance. I say to learn, because the organisers were gathering the dancers and instructing them how to move, the counts and the steps. The whole group, was shown a demo, by some handsome young boys, then made to follow the beat and then finally the music switched on, for all to move with the rhythm. So, that meant there were many first timers there, and the association was taking special efforts to teach and infuse the spirit in them. I totally liked it.

What I liked is that there many people from other communities too trying their hand at Dandia. I definitely spotted some Bengalis, Malayalis, and UP'ites in the group.

Cultural Integrity is what we Indians have and we must use these opportunities to weave a bond and nurture the pride we have for our nation.
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