Navrati Recap

Chachi re tari sacha re bhuvani ma
Amba bhuvani ma
Hu to tari seva karis maya lal
Nav Nav raat na naudta karis ma
Puja hu karis ma
Dussera dare havan karis maya lal

Navrati in India.

Didn’t do that much garba, but the garba I did do was a lot of fun.

Apparently the no one goes to garba the first few nights or so I was told when trying to figure out where to go and who to go with.  The first night, I went to Vibrant Gujarat’s inaugural show, which was beautiful.  In the West, when we learn garba, it has just one name and lots of different types of movements.  Through the show, I learned of different garba styles and how they stylistically differ from region to region in terms of movement and music.  What we call garba in the west is actually a khichadi or mix of everything.  The choreographer in me really wants to learn about the distinctions.

Though we didn’t do any garba that first night, I did make it out to Vibrant Gujarat garba several nights later with family friends.  Instead of dancing, I spent a lot of of time just looking at people’s outfits and the different styles of dance. It was a little surreal. I think my family friends thought I was a little odd because I kept watching everything around me. It’s all new to me. Very cool to see. “Fob” garba really is a lot of fun to watch and do. By fob style I mean, very flamboyant, lots of curviness to the hands, turning, etc. Stuff that guys in N. America would NEVER do and even the girls would struggle with getting the nuances of, but extremely typical here.

You can very clearly see how garba runs in people’s blood here.  I got a chance to attend garba celebrations at two schools here.  There was no sound system or band.  Students took up the roles of musicians and singers.  There was a certain beauty in the lack of coordination at times between the musicians and singers =).  It was great to be apart of that.

To really have fun at garba, you have to go with people who also love garba and go all out.  There is no lack of that with the MSers.  The guys really know how to do garba, its was ridiculously fun dancing with them (totally fob style of course). People were coming up with their own moves, etc. I had a blast.

I was lucky this Navratri because I got a chance to see a lot of different garbas (hosted by different communities, etc).  One that sticks out in particular was garba at NID.   First the outfits are really interesting (it is of course a design school).  They also do this beautiful thing where each student is given two diyas and then they turn off the lights and everyone does the same 12 step garba around mataji with a diya in each hand. Absolutely stunning to see. It’s pretty difficult to do with two diyas, I tried with one. Its amazing that so over 200 people do this at one time and multiple co centric circles and no one gets burned.

Dussera was also Gandhi Jayanti.  I celebrated with Sonia’s Mexico-India simultaneous peace event, which was very powerful. After it was over, we spent time with her Mexican guests.  Before eating we danced with them for a half an hour or so, which was great fun. They really got into it and let loose and just felt the music so it was a lot of fun to dance with them =) I love it when people dance like no one is watching.


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