dandiya 07

Saturday we had our small little dandiya evening. We look forward to it as it is a lot of fun and we get to meet many of ourΒ friends after a long summer break. The kids absolutely love it, again to meet friends not so much to play dandiya.Β This yearΒ we had the tweens joinΒ the adults circle and they seemed to blend right in. A pleasure to watch.

The munchkin of course decided to glue onto her father and me alternately for an hour into the evening. After that she thawed a bit and decided to go find her “friends” – anyone her size was game enough and gravitated, interestingly, towards the daughter of my nemesis [grr!] coz according to her, she wore a pretty ghagra. Oh, the vanity!

For the most part it was fun but there were occasional howls and yelps of pain. Here’s my breakdown on the why’s:

Pent-up anger? No problem, just hit the person’s dandiya in front with vehemence and anger till either yours or their sticks break. Can’t get the sticks to smash, don’t you worry, the strength of the vibrations would send in riple effects late into the evening down your elbow and shoulder.

Then there are a few who have absolutely no aim in life. It’s like shooting in the dark. Blind darts thrown in any random direction you can imagine. The idea is to make contact with the dandiya. NOT with the person’s forehead, arms, hands, fingers, and especially dear little pinkies! So folks go around flailing their sticks blindly, as long as you hit something, it’s fair game. Or so they think. I came home with a badly bruised pinkie. Not funny!

Dandiya playing, or garba starts off with so much laughter, happiness, and enthusiasm. Somwhere along the way it becomes a workout of sorts. People are panting, sweating and huffing and puffing their way around teh circle. There was this one guy who looked like he’d pass out. You’d think with a face going red and the shirt turning a dark brown with sweat he’d stop or take a break, but no, off he went on to ultimately fall on a toddler while his stick went flying close to my neck.

And then of course we have the showoffs. The mumbaiyya ones who proclaim themsleves the whiz kids of dandiya and channel themselves into smaller groups doing their own little dance. Dance as in literally dance, grooving those heads and necks, singing along with the music, amidst shouts and jumping around on their feet like they got bit or something. That’s apparently style. Which it is, if they’d only tone down just a tad and not scare the babies around with the monkey style jumps. Occasionally they’d condescend to include the non-mumbaiyites, but it’s like a lil click, not unlike the ones we form in middle school and throw the lonely girl with braids out. I mean, seriously, who wears braids? *the horrors.

And of course, Kolattam is not dandiya πŸ™‚

Growing up with Gujarati friends and the excitement of 10 days of navratri was something I’d look forward to.Β  This is once a year thing andΒ I should be happy the children want to go for the evening fun and understand what this whole communityΒ dancing is all about.

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33 replies on “dandiya 07”
  1. says: Ok

    πŸ™‚ You seems to have me covered in the “no aim in life” category. I remember almost making a girl cry during my first year. After that I decided for the greater good not to try again.

    And you seem to have a lot of social life and fun. Thats really nice.

  2. says: BPSK

    Please to relax, doesn’t sound like you had too much fun this year.

    But it was funny reading about the various mishaps – next time, take along a pair of gloves to make the point.

    The braids story sounded very personal. Did you wear thick, soda-bottle glasses too? ;D


  3. says: Silvara

    I am hopeless at dandiya but go every year to garba just for the fun of it. the hardcore gujuratis have their own circle and so my friends have their own due our very unco way of playing hehehe πŸ˜›

  4. says: bApHoMEt

    oh i love dandiya. mostly because of the gaghras and the cholis. in fact, i love all occasions where women dress up traditionally.

    (and thats all i have to say about that…i’m off to fantasize me some ghaghra cholis. bye.)

    p.s. i hate the show-offs. wherever you have loud music and indians, you’ll always find testosterone crazed bafoons clamouring for attention. i guess some primates think they still live in the wild planes, playing the mating game of violent body shake.

  5. says: metlin

    See, the next time you should carry a couple of Lousiville sluggers and show those mean women what you’re made of.

    Better yet, take a leaf out of Lana’s book and wear steel-toe shoes (I think she kicked someone who once messed with her and broke the poor guy’s legs).

    Also, carry a semi and speak very softly, especially to that Mumbaiyya crowd.

    It would also help if you had a really fierce looking dog with a mesh over his mouth (and who’d probably lick everyone if you took off that mesh). But all that pent up urge to lick will make him like like he’s growling. You should also not let him pee for a while, that way he is all cranky.

    And you should become a ninja. With a personal sniper. That way, next time, people will be like, “Whoa! Rads!”

    Okay, I’m done. Sounds like you had fun. πŸ™‚

  6. says: metlin

    And see, the advantage of knowing ninja is that when the Mumbaiyya crowd say, “I know Dandiya… with style!” you can be like, “I know Ninjitsu… *crack*!”

    A cross between Mr. Anderson and Mr. Bond could probably do it better. Well, the old Mr. Bond not the puppy-loving pomeranian-cuddling new guy.

    Okay, I’m done for real this time.

  7. says: Nandita

    heyyyyy…no fair…i’m offended at the mumbaiyya jokes… πŸ˜€
    Its not for nuthin that our Majority population is Gujjus.
    The irony being I never did dance the dandiya or garba in Mumbai..I did both while I was studying in Goa.
    And we had students from Gujurat thr, so it was no competition.
    I just used the mumbaiyya “look supremely confident while you are making a fool of yourself” attitude.
    It works! πŸ˜€

  8. I totally support Nandita and take offense at the mumbaiyya jokes. Only mumbaites can joke about other mumbaites. πŸ™‚

    And doesn’t that mumbaiyaa attitude work like a charm with everyone from India and everywhere.

  9. says: rads

    Nandita – LOL, all said and done you have to give it to the Mumbaiyites. They share a bond like I havent seen around much. πŸ™‚
    I believe most desis are the same, [and I generalize] while in india, we are state-specific and when we get out, we are all ‘desis’. That’s a good thing πŸ™‚

    Dushti – Yes, go have fun. Happy navratri to you too. Next week it’s the golu scene πŸ™‚

    Metlin dear, that was hilarious. God Bless you. Ok, I know you dont care, but I do, so yeah, bless your soul for laughs on this very crappy morning! πŸ˜€

    Baph – We have a bunch o your kind every year. This year it seemed more.. Some were actually cute! I am allowed to have fun too right? πŸ™‚

    Silvara – lol, I know! Yea, fusion and whatever right? πŸ™‚

    BPSK – Trouble loves me! Nope, no glasses, perfect 20/15 vision! πŸ˜‰
    Braids – yes, totally! I was a good traditional girl πŸ˜‰

    OK – when did you become so nice? πŸ˜›

  10. says: bApHoMEt

    @Rads: “We have a bunch o your kind every year.” :-O

    My kind? My kind?!?! MY KIND?!!??!!

    okay…maybe you meant the “they were actually cute!” part about me. (consolation)

  11. says: Terri

    Never watched dandiya until I came to this country. And didn’t grow up around Gujjus. But then I don’t play Holi or keep Golu or light firecrackers for Diwali either.

    And being the only non-Bombayite in a circle of Bombayite (nobody I know says Mumbai) friends, I feel like the overweight, pimply South Indian girl in braces, oily braids and glasses once the crowd gets going in Marathi.

  12. says: rads

    Pavan – I understand we have many more folks who share such memories and enact them out on unsuspecting people like me πŸ˜›

    Maverick – Played cricket? You hit the ball, not the wicketkeeper right? Same logic πŸ˜›

    Terri – πŸ™‚

    Baph – the kind that are visibly single, hanging out in the corner, checking girls out, laughing and hoping to snatch a girl’s attention in whatever way possible. Yeah, the cute ones too πŸ˜›

  13. says: Krupa

    I have always wanted to try my hand at Dandiya..never had the opportunity:(

    Back in school I had long braided hair…Nobody pushed me around-guess,being strong has its points;)

  14. says: metlin

    Maverick – Played cricket? You hit the ball, not the wicketkeeper right? Same logic πŸ˜›

    Sheesh! You people don’t get it. The idea *is* to hit the other person. And not just hit, but preferably give them something to remember (a lump on their head that will cause all future brides/grooms to remark, “ewwwwwww!”). That way, you will never be forgotten.

    Then again, that may be why people do not invite me to these things.

    And I am also a ninja. That too.


  15. says: some body


    “Maverick – Played cricket? You hit the ball, not the wicketkeeper right? ”

    i played cricket. hit neither wicket keeper nor the ball. instead caught my sister right over the eye. no wonder i never made it to the indian team … i am grounded in my armchair πŸ˜‰


    “Then again, that may be why people do not invite me to these things.

    And I am also a ninja. That too.”

    does a ninja need an invitation? check out beverly hills ninja!

    – s.b.

  16. says: rads

    sb – shame on you! Hitting younger sisters and all πŸ˜›

    metlin – I’d imagine no guy would want to be remembered for those reasons. But then again, what do I know? πŸ˜€

    Krupa – You should, it’s fun, Just duck when you see someone swinging around madly! πŸ˜‰
    Strong? But of course! πŸ˜€

  17. Hi Rads : Congrats on your 200th. I can’t believe you’ve just reached your 200th after two years. Or i got the number wrong, maybe. btw i was curious about what the difference between kolattam and dandiya. I’ve never thought both were the same, but that line aroused my curiosity.
    And yes, you should have that cake today πŸ™‚

  18. says: rads

    Thanks TAAmom for at least downplaying my 200. You’d imagine I’d have raked up more with the way I rave! The speed’s just these days, more to blog about I suppose. I lived a very boring life when I started πŸ˜‰

    Kolattam – you hold the stick at one end. You move purposefully with the talam and you don’t swing around crazily knocking people’s dupattas, heads, limbs etc.

    Dandiya – You hold the stick somewhere at the 2/3 rds point. You sway your hips, and nod that head and are nimble on your feet. It’s free license to hit anyone wherever and whenever. πŸ˜‰

  19. I never heard about this dandia thing until I came to the US. My excitement fizzled away as soon as I found out dandia is not a sport of “trying to hit on each others’ fingers”. If not for that, I don’t know why people play this thing!

  20. says: rads

    Mav – No elegance needed to NOT miss the spot πŸ˜‰

    Pilgrim – Yes, GMU’s is good. Went there a few years while as a student, maybe will this year. We’ll see.

    Tdna – yep, I really donno why guys even bother playing.

    TaaMom – You are sweet. At the rate you are going, your milestone isn’t far off too right? πŸ™‚

  21. says: Terri

    rads, this is important. I’ve been invited to a haldi-kumkum this weekend. Please let me know if I need a hostess gift or if I can just show up. Thanks in advance.

  22. says: rads

    Terri –
    Pls do in order:

    1. Dig out that 9 gajam your mom got for you at the wedding.
    2. Also fish out the thick thaali mom made for you at the time of wedding.
    3. Get yourself a big round red pottu.
    4. Make some bakshanams. If you start today, you will scrape through fine.

    Wear all of the above, pack bakshanams onto a nice dollar store plate, wrap in foil and take with you.
    She will love you. Guaranteed.

    dame: πŸ™‚ so how many times your pinkies got crushed?

  23. says: Terri

    rads, you’re kidding about #4, right? The only reason I’m going to her place, since I don’t eat vettalai or paaku, is to eat the goodies she must’ve made.

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