If you can squeeze one thousand odd people in a University indoor auditorium that is probably meant for half that size, throw some galleries for folks who want to sit & watch the proceedings, place an awful sound system in the center of the “non-acoustic hall”, bring some loud percussionists who swear by the force of their thumping rather than the rhythmic grace and make the thousand odd colorfully clad men & women dance in circles – what do you get?
That’s Garba for you in the greater Detroit area. Being my first attempt, I thought I enjoyed the dancing part of it and the company I was with, notwithstanding the above mentioned negatives – if you will. I have to admit that Dandiya is not something you can pick on the fly. I mean, you could learn the basic steps and go with it if you have a good rhythm sense but to improvise and to do some goofy stuff, not only do you need some practice (this is not necessarily dancing but more of hand and leg co-ordination with sticks in your hands), but you also need good partners. The most striking thing being there that night was how you got an opportunity to witness the “culture” that is being kept alive. I think we owe this to our future generations whether you like it or not – I guess Garba and Dandiya are part of the Gujarati culture and there can be no two thoughts about why the future generations should have something to identify themselves with, even if they hate it.
The Earthquake in the Kashmir area was naturally devastating & mentally disturbing news. There is nothing that humans can do to answer such nature’s ferocious calls. But at least we can be better prepared – property damages are inevitable in such calamities but damages to human lives can certainly be minimized. Even though the Pakistani government wants to put the death toll way up there (over 40,000 as of Oct 12), I believe the official figures are more in the 20,000 range. Musharaff is trying to win a great political mile out of this and it is very evident from the way he is doing the “Rudy Giuliani” in front of the international media. The Indian government on the other hand is trying to handle the situation in a more matured way – “yes..we know we have done this before..don’t need any help..will take care of ourselves..etc.” Given that the entire world’s attention is on Pakistan now. Not that it is bad – but come on! There were people dead on this side of the border too! Probably the Indian media itself hasn’t gotten its ropes around the ducts yet because they seem to be focusing less on the Indian Kashmir.
When I read about rescued/surviving children dying in cold without proper shelter and protection that to me is the real evidence of how much of a mismanaged structure we have in our administrative bodies in the Indian sub-continent.
Beyond all these, sometimes it is just hard for me to digest human suffering in any form anywhere.
Signing off with these famous Lennon words:
“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people sharing the entire world…”