Thursday, October 18, 2007

Navratri.
The festival of the Mother Goddess.
Nine nights of the garba.
With all the different steps, the three clap basic and the heench, the one and half step one, and then all the complex steps.
Never felt a connect to these days.
Maybe it was the two left feet factor.
Maybe because I was never allowed to go out, dancing all night, and return only pre-dawn.
Maybe the memories of not having enough, not the right clothes, rich flaring skirts in satin or silk with mirror work and embroidery, a new outfit for every one of the nine nights.
Lots of maybes.
So, I never felt a connect.
Returning from the old mill-lands (now reclaimed by glittering malls) the other day.
Past the strings of gleaming red and yellow lights strung on the roads for decoration.
Past the decorated stages, the pandals, with consecrated statues of the Mother Goddess.
Amusing to see how the city has modified the festival, so that what was a way of celebrating with origins in the neighboring state of Gujarat, has taken on big city colors.

In the city, they dance on modified Marathi numbers set to the garba beat.
In the suburbs, its disco- garba and disco dandiya all the way.
But as I said, its not me.
So I watch the lights that line long roads, and sometimes sing old garba songs that we learnt for school concerts.
Till yesterday.
Across the landing, the new neighbours are Mangloreans.
Last evening, I followed traces of a hymn in a strange language.
They had brought a statue of Mother Mary home, and were celebrating, and after a day, the statue would travel to another home.
Lights, candles, hymns, song, a clear voice straight to the skies.
Mother Goddess.
She has a strange way of getting to you.
I watched, bemused.



5 comments:

Portia said...

Your words are remarkable and beautiful. Memories, the past and the now. Traditions, and change.
There is so much energy here!

CRUSTYBEEF said...

WOW!! Just remind yourself that those frills aren't necessary means of living..like Macys that time..who needs the colors and the steps of that dance.. It doesn't make you less a person..you are noble and respectful and it seems that new views are something that you're very accepting of.
I like your graciousness.
Now, may I please have some of your tea? :)
Always,
Crusty~

austere said...

portia- thank you so much. traditions, change, and the million and one ways we change everyday, interesting, yes?

crusty- true, but too powerfully linked in my mind. thanks for being there, and being you. Ah yes, some nice crisp puris too, to go with it.

driftwood said...

And I read, amazed.

No one I know can write like you, Austy.

austere said...

:) ty. And our driftwood is generous with compliments.