Its a big hefty drum. With a red cloth to cover. Perhaps to cover its might. Perhaps to cover what lies inside. These are distinctly rural men. You can see it in their looks and the ease with which they heave it on to their shoulder, lean on to the other side, and let the beats do the talking!
Beats that you are unfamiliar with. But resonating with what you know so well. From your own land. You wince. As memories of another time flow. In some time, there is music. Here, these three drummers whip up your heart beat.
At the other side, the charcoal embers laced with incense powder fumes! At yet another, amidst the crowd, there is palpable expectation.
In a short while, hips, legs, head and all other parts of the body sway to the beats. In a synchrony that begs to find a new word. A word better than ‘synchrony’ !
The hands. Oh yes, the hands hold those pots fuming embers !
Your heart skips a beat. As the drummers and the dancer get into a jig now and then. Un-rehearsed. But flawless, for all of it is in the flow of the moment. You wonder, how he heaves such a big drum on on his shoulder, creates music, does a jig in response to the dancers steps. Smiling all the way.
You wonder how those dancers hold those hot embers yet stay connected to each step of the drum beat. So graceful. And so complete. Smiling all the way.
You get goose bumps. Dancer after dancer. Some are artistic. Others mesmerise. Yet others hold the eye. All in seamless flow.
You notice that the pictures that you attempt to click are getting blurred. The angles are missing. There is a lot of shake. You wonder whats wrong with the camera. And realise that the cameras just fine. Its just you moving to the beats from those big drums.
To you, it appears that the real dance is the one that’s on in each persons heart. As people smile. Clap. Cry. Go moist in the eye. Laugh. Cheer. Click. Record. And of course, dance.
Right there. As the drummers whip up the music. And the dancers catch it from thin air. And throw it right back at the drummer.
Perhaps everyone is connected to a different time. Perhaps a different place. Perhaps a longing to recreate that time and place, now. In a different distant city. Perhaps its a nested joy in being one with similar minds and very similar longing.
You realise that you are in a trance. Soaking in the unfamiliar drum beat, the dance and the fragrance. And something more.
There are you are. Aware. Unsure. At peace. Strangely happy. As those rural drums get the city dwellers dance in joyous abandon !
Later on, you lie in bed, thinking of the evening. The drums, the dance and the beautiful women and handsome men. You realise, that you can describe all of that.
And you are aware, of something else that was there about the air. An undescribable part. You know that its there. Yet, it eludes description. You try thinking about it.
You are tired. And you choose to leave it at that. Half asleep, you mumble to yourself, ” perhaps it is Durga. Perhaps its just the dance”.
You realise that sleep envelopes you. You know you will sleep like a log today. After a very long time.
And as you slip into sleep…you mumble…”Perhaps, perhaps… its just the drums.”
(Written after attending the Powai Durgotsav ’09. Danuchi Dance. Friday. 25th Sept ’09. All snaps from the event)