Friday, October 14, 2005
Navratri in Baroda
Over the past week we have been in Vadodara (Baroda) spending Navratri at Sharvari’s masi’s (maternal aunt) house. For those of you who don’t know, Navratri is an important Hindu holiday. Gujaratis celebrate the events occurring in the Ramayan through prayers and traditional dancing for 9 days. For the past week, we leave the house by 9:30pm and fight through the traffic of a ton of scooters/motorcycles and cars all with everyone decked out ready to dance. So then, we spend the next few hours dancing in this huge massive open outdoor field with 8 – 10,000 people, dancing in large concentric circles to the beat of live Indian garba music. By the time we arrived home, we would be ravished and pig out and then crash hardcore. For many years now, Sharvari and I have wanted to experience Navratri in India and finally witnessed this important event. The garba (traditional dance) in Baroda is famous all over India. The crowds are mind blowing who dress up to the max to impress and show off their dancing skills and eye potential suitors. If you’re single, it’s a huge matchmaking and checking out scene. Since the conservative environment usually limits young females from going out at night except during this time of year, you can imagine the crowd. The events are so big that it is televised live throughout the night. We were given strict orders to seek out the camera so our family could see us on TV. As Tarak, who on average is a head taller than most Indian men, was an easy search target and was easily spotted by our relatives on screen. The other most visible people were those came dressed in crazy outfits…huge peacock hats, carrying decorated umbrellas, and even a horse costume.
With all the festivities being over, we take the night train to Mumbai followed by a flight to Bangalore to start our trip to the south with Sharvari’s parents. . Hopefully, history doesn’t repeat itself and we don't miss our connecting flight…