The Last Garba
One day we friends in fifth standard decided we wanted to do our own Garba dance which was not taught by Tara masi and family.Our mothers were enrolled and then dance practises started in a lot of secrecy. Costumes were hired. It was a big thing because usually we all wore our Mom s sarees with one maroon blouse. My Mom always said Maroon color matches with everything. So we never put coloured bindis other than maroon.
Tara masi had aggressive grand daughters who used to now teach us Garba. On the day we were to perform, some children backed out as they did not want to spoil relations with the grand old lady.Our enthusiasm took a dip. Some moms said if we have practised , we must perform. By this time the venue had shifted to their aangan which was called 'Tara Masi no fariyo.' Lot of strangers had started coming to watch the garba so we were no more dancing in the Fatehpur Galli. The grand daughters four of them were very angry. I still remember the anger in the second one s eyes. She was the prettiest of the lot. Just like Ma Durga sharp eyes, curly long hair , translucent skin. Her eyes were so full of anger. They said in all these years no one has dared to perform on their own in Tara Masi s Garba, how dare we etc etc. No one told me any thing directly but it was loud and clear.
We did a very low key perfomance. They expected us to apologise for it. Next day we all boycotted the garba. Next day we had Tara masi s daughter in law in our house in the afternoon. She said her daughters were angry but did not mean it and all.
My Granny was a very strong lady and we were a rich family too. Our family boycotting the event would impact the status of the Garba and Dad was a generous donor of wealth. It was settled that we would attend the last day of the Navratri. We did go albeit half heartedly.
Tara masi s Garbi was never the same for me.
My first school of dance had become a political arena in my mind. I was so scared of their sarcasm and their public ridicule. That was the first time I experienced power play, arm twisting, playing games. All the words which I learnt in later life, had their meanings already etched in my mind.