Stumped you, right? No, I am not changing my surname because I am a great fan of Martina (which I am by the way). Read carefully, very carefully. Its 'Navratri-lova'. Yup, I am talking of the nine day festival dance-a-thon. Now, I was born with two left feet, and I came to terms with it pretty early in my life. Discotheca was not my preferred place to be, I was more concerned with the bibliotheca.
However, the Gods up there must have been smiling on me. Someone invented the Dandiya. I finally found a dance form where I knew exactly what to do with my hands. Baby steps, five in all, and once the smile of triumph crosses your face, you move to your left with a heart brimming with pride to meet your next challenge. For all the ineptitude that comes when I try to shake a leg to other beats, somehow the rhythm of the dandiya beats stirs up some nascent dancing abilities in me. Maybe it has to do with my Gujarati genes.
Navratri is a big thing in Bombay (which I am told compares poorly to the scale in Ahmedabad and Baroda) and I fondly remember going every year to play Dandiya. However, I could never muster the courage and confidence to do garba in my life. It is too complex, and there is only a limit to which a person can be allowed to look graceless while dancing. The inhibitions surrounding doing garba that I had were one too many.
However, I decided to conquer these demons when I got a chance to do garba in my first year at the Texas A&M University. It was totally graceless and totally enjoyable. Of course that was the simple two-clap. This year, I graduated to the rather complex 8-step. I can do the first 6 ok, but turning round to land on my right foot (literally) never works for me. I did garba this weekend and caused a couple of accidents with people tripping and falling over me. But I prevailed, no major casualties were reported, and I am happy to announce that I have climbed the Everest.
I digressed. The post wasn't about my ability to do garba. It was about the fact that I love Navratri. I love the beats, the music, the dancing, the good dancing, the bad dancing, the Gujju clothes, the smartly dressed people, the Gujarati garbas that I know, the crescendo that comes at the end of a round of dandiya, the calories that I burn while enjoying it and the excitement that I feel every time I step onto the dance floor. I hope you see now why I am a 'Navratri-lova' (I am stating this a second time so that someone would care to compliment me on the smartness of the title :-))