She was trying to lip sync but not all the words of the lyrics came perfectly to her lips. However, her feet and hands moving in perfect sync with Punjabi dhol beats that stole the show at PCTE Festa Week 2016- an international students’ fest on Thursday in Ludhiana.
As Chimmi Yudon, 22, from Samdrup Jongkhar of Bhutan, clad in bright red Punjabi salwar kameez and dupatta,
started showing her ‘balle balle’ Punjabi bhangra moves on stage, the audience was enthralled and there were loud cheers.
Clapping her hands and moving across the entire stage, Yudon perfectly synchronized her steps with her Sikh partner leaving the audiences dazzled. But this perfection in bhangra, the traditional folk dance of Punjab, did not come easy for Yudon, who came to India to study.
“Sat Sri Akal, ki haal hai? Sab wadiya. Sab changa? This is all I know when it comes to speaking Punjabi but when I saw my Punjabi classmates jumping and enjoying performing bhangra, I could not resist. I told them to teach me few steps. I am a fan of electric, foot tapping band music and I found Punjabi dhol beats equally energetic. So I decided I will also perform bhangra,” said Yudon to The Indian Express.
She is a student of graduation in Airlines, tourism and hospitality management at Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) Baddowal. She also credits her bhangra coach for being ‘patient’ with her. “I do not get a single word of lyrics in Punjabi songs we performed on. It is the dhol beats on basis of which I remembered when to change the step,” said Yudon.
Holding traditional Punjabi props ‘Khunda’ and ‘Sapp’ in hands as she danced, Yudon drew loud cheers from the audience.
“It is not easy to perform when you are not in your own country. Plus, even the dance form was not my own but Punjabi. But my five friends who danced along with me were too supportive. They just told me to enjoy the moves and not think about winning or losing. When I sent my rehearsal videos back home, they asked what is bhangra? They were happy seeing me in salwar-kameez. That is what I have come to do from Bhutan, to learn something new everyday,” said Yudon.
“She cannot understand lyrics so we made her learn steps counting dhol beats. It felt really good and we were proud seeing a Bhutan girl taking so much interest in our culture,” said Balraj Singh, Yudon’s classmate.
Punjabi craze among the foreign students did not end here. Uwase, a student from East African nation Rwanda also anchored the stage in Punjabi. “Sat Sri Akal, ki haal eh. Enjoy karre hon tussi?’, said Uwase and crowds cheered. “I have never faced any racist or derogatory remarks from my Indian friends here. In fact they politely correct me when I say mispronounce a word,” said Uwase.