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.
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.
She has a strange way of getting to you.
I watched, bemused.