Saturday we had our small little dandiya evening. We look forward to it as it is a lot of fun and we get to meet many of our friends after a long summer break. The kids absolutely love it, again to meet friends not so much to play dandiya. This year we had the tweens join the adults circle and they seemed to blend right in. A pleasure to watch.
The munchkin of course decided to glue onto her father and me alternately for an hour into the evening. After that she thawed a bit and decided to go find her “friends” – anyone her size was game enough and gravitated, interestingly, towards the daughter of my nemesis [grr!] coz according to her, she wore a pretty ghagra. Oh, the vanity!
For the most part it was fun but there were occasional howls and yelps of pain. Here’s my breakdown on the why’s:
Pent-up anger? No problem, just hit the person’s dandiya in front with vehemence and anger till either yours or their sticks break. Can’t get the sticks to smash, don’t you worry, the strength of the vibrations would send in riple effects late into the evening down your elbow and shoulder.
Then there are a few who have absolutely no aim in life. It’s like shooting in the dark. Blind darts thrown in any random direction you can imagine. The idea is to make contact with the dandiya. NOT with the person’s forehead, arms, hands, fingers, and especially dear little pinkies! So folks go around flailing their sticks blindly, as long as you hit something, it’s fair game. Or so they think. I came home with a badly bruised pinkie. Not funny!
Dandiya playing, or garba starts off with so much laughter, happiness, and enthusiasm. Somwhere along the way it becomes a workout of sorts. People are panting, sweating and huffing and puffing their way around teh circle. There was this one guy who looked like he’d pass out. You’d think with a face going red and the shirt turning a dark brown with sweat he’d stop or take a break, but no, off he went on to ultimately fall on a toddler while his stick went flying close to my neck.
And then of course we have the showoffs. The mumbaiyya ones who proclaim themsleves the whiz kids of dandiya and channel themselves into smaller groups doing their own little dance. Dance as in literally dance, grooving those heads and necks, singing along with the music, amidst shouts and jumping around on their feet like they got bit or something. That’s apparently style. Which it is, if they’d only tone down just a tad and not scare the babies around with the monkey style jumps. Occasionally they’d condescend to include the non-mumbaiyites, but it’s like a lil click, not unlike the ones we form in middle school and throw the lonely girl with braids out. I mean, seriously, who wears braids? *the horrors.
And of course, Kolattam is not dandiya :-)
Growing up with Gujarati friends and the excitement of 10 days of navratri was something I’d look forward to. This is once a year thing and I should be happy the children want to go for the evening fun and understand what this whole community dancing is all about.