What do you do when you are an AIF Clinton fellow placed in a state where it so happens to celebrate the longest dance festival in the world? Yes! you read it right. The World’s Longest Dance Festival – Navratri.
I know one thing for sure. You can’t miss it – physically, mentally, visibly, audibly and whateverly unless you absolutely have to go somewhere else other than Gujarat and won’t be able to return until the festival is over. That too, you wouldn’t miss it because you won’t leave without someone, in fact, everyone you know telling you,”You’re going to miss Navratri!”. It’s the only thing people talk about when Navratri is just around the corner. It’s like a different season altogether. The Navratri season.
Navratri means nine nights – ‘Nav’ meaning nine and ‘raatri’, nights. During these nine nights and ten days, three forms of goddess are worshiped namely Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Now I can keep writing about Navratri looking at Wikipedia, blogs and the Gujarat tourism website but I think it’s better I cut to the chase. On all the nine days, people dance with mind twisting…more like foot twisting Garba steps wearing ridiculously colorful clothes. And that’s about all I know.
Pretty ignorant you might say, me being an Indian. But hey! I definitely enjoyed being someone who didn’t know much about it but was blown away by the sights and sounds of the festival; to experience it first hand and to get to know more about it from the people themselves rather than reading about it.
To share the Navratri experience, my roommate Crysty and I invited and hosted a few fantastic fellow fellows for the festival at our fort of an apartment in Ahmedabad. Although we didn’t get to enjoy much of Navratri together since most of them arrived on the last day of the festival, we did manage to make the most of it. Apart from the festival, we had a great time in Ahmedabad for the rest of the days we were together before they went back to their respective placement locations.
Signing off, please watch the video below made exclusively from videos captured on our mobile phones. Though I admit I did use some stock footage to fill a tiny portion due to lack of good footage. For your viewing pleasure, please watch it at 480p.