Sunday, October 14, 2007

Never Wear A Chiffon Sari Garba-Dancing. Seriously.

Now that we're into Navarati/Dussera, people are starting to organize garba and dandiya parties. I had been hoping to attend one, and had carefully packed the dandiya sticks I bought at last year's Navarati (hosted by my university's Indian Students' Association) and carried them to India with me in my suitcase.

So I was very excited to be invited to a garba/dandiya party in Bangalore.

Being the prepared type that I am, I had also packed a delicate jute silk salwar (ten points if you can guess the color) which I had planned to wear while dancing. However, on the morning of the party we learned that women who wore saris (Gujarati-style, of course) would get into the event for free.

And so I wore my pink synthetic-chiffon sari (with its horribly "frumpy" blouse, as some of you have noted) to the dancing arena.

When I wore the sari to the opening night of Tempest, I had such a good time and wore it so easily that I thought I might begin to invest in a small collection.

After last night, I am thinking that one pink sari is probably one sari enough.

When we arrived at the arena, we were told that no footwear could be worn inside the dancing tent. Off came my strappy heeled sandals, and I was left kicking at the pleats of a sari that was now about two inches too long.

As we began the dancing, I found myself struggling to keep both my sari and my hair from falling down. (Since I stopped using hairspray, my hair has become much happier but has also taken on a life of its own. It cannot be contained, and comes loose from every braid or bun into which it is tied. And how a twenty-inch strand of hair can work its way out of a French braid is beyond me.)

Undoing my hair was easy (and Rohit likes it better that way anyway), but I couldn't very well undo my sari. My host, realizing the problem, pinned the front pallu to my blouse in a few strategic locations, but I still had to be very careful where I stepped (particularly when dancing backwards) and occasionally resorted to hiking the thing up in one hand.

The arena itself was crowded. It was like dancing on a bus. When we formed the circles for dandiya, we were pressed so tightly together that most of us were dandiya-ing with only one stick, since there was only room to extend one arm. ^__^ Also, no one seemed to agree on the pattern of tapping and turning, so (although the music was clearly in five) I would turn to meet partners who would be working in patterns of six or eight. So it was not a very synchronized dandiya, but it was great fun.

Next year, though -- salwar all the way. ^__^


Anonymous said...

Was I dreaming? I swear I thought you had a post about ISKON comparing it to Disneyworld. Now it's disappeared. Did you change your mind about your impressions?

Daniel said...

Was it blue? :)

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My wife love to wear like that and I hate it. I know she is Indian and that's part of her culture, and it's a kind of sexy, but I would like to see her as a normal woman.

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