The feel of Gujarat

The feel of Gujarat

When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan says, ‘Come breathe in a bit of Gujarat’ on a TV commercial, little are Bangaloreans transported to that city or the culture. The real ‘feel of Gujarat’ has come alive for all in the City during the Navratri celebrations.

The Pragati Mahila Mandal in Sadashivnagar has started its Navratri Utsav. On the first day of the celebrations, more than 250 members of the mandal assembled to take part in the dandiya dance competition and make the most of the festival. Tejeswini Bagadia, organiser of the event, says, “This association is 40 years old.

The purpose behind organising the cultural events is to live the memories of Gujarat. Navratri is a big festival there. So, to get a feeling of being there, we have come up with our own activities. There are so many people in the City who are part of the association and belong to different parts of Gujarat. Through such programmes, we get a chance to meet all of them and take forward our culture. Only when we organise such events can we maintain our culture here.”

The main attraction during Navratri is the garba. Women dance around a lamp and it is called the garba, which is performed to invite the goddess to the earth. A garba decorating competition too was held as part of the celebrations. 

Tejeswini adds that apart from enjoying the garba, there are health benefits also involved when doing this dance. She says, “There is a lot of hand and leg movements involved in the garba, which is good for one’s health. The tips of fingers are mainly used for it and this acts like an acupuncture. We even try to keep ourselves fit while having fun!”

These festivities are a way of staying culturally-connected, says Sheetal Shah, a member of the mandal.

“In the utsav, women of all the three generations take part and this keeps people of all age groups connected. Such get-togethers are specifically important for young girls as they get more familiarised with the Gujarati culture. Even little girls get a chance to deck-up, wear different accessories, look colourful and feel like they
are in their home town.”

The nine-day festival is a women’s festival, feels Neha Boriya, a participant of one the competitions.

She says, “Not only do we have fun meeting people, what’s also interesting is that homemakers are very active during Navratri. This is their time to have fun as they don’t usually get a chance to go out and meet people unlike working women. So they are vibrant during Navratri.

Also, the games that we organise during these days are not to instill a competitive spirit but strengthen our bond. Since it is an all-women club, women are eager to bring their daughters and have some fun, instead of eyeing prizes or win some gifts.” 

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