WITH NO major events scheduled across the city for Navratri, the dazzle of the festive season this year is lost for many. Some are, however, taking an online route to organise garba, thali decoration and fancy-dress events in line with the annual tradition.
The organisers of the popular Kora Kendra dandiya at Borivali this year are broadcasting orchestra performances live on online platforms like Zoom, YouTube and television channels.
“Like every year, we have ushered Mataji’s idol and placed it at the same spot on the ground. Here, we will perform aarti daily. For the orchestra, we have booked a banquet hall, from where we are broadcasting the music live. To keep up with the dance competition that takes place every year, we have invited registrations from those who wish to dress in traditional clothes and play dandiya on Zoom. We will record performances and shortlist people for the final round which will be held on the last day of Navratri,” videographer Atul Joshi said.
While the entry tickets to this dandiya event every year fetched the organisers lakhs of rupees, the performances this year are being streamed online free of charge. “All the usual sponsors have declined to help monetarily, but are helping us in kind. All of us have pitched in to make this work,” Joshi said.
Meanwhile, popular Gujarati folk singers Bhanubhai Vora and Tripti Chhaya, known to tour abroad every year, especially for their Navratri performances, have also made a transition to the web. “For the Radha Krishna temple members in Los Angeles, we performed at 7 am Indian time. People seem to be as upbeat about this, and we are booked till November first week,” said Bhanubhai.
Several housing societies, communities, and social groups are conducting rituals, aarti and prayers for goddess Ambe Maa through limited invitees and in compliance with social-distancing norms. A few are also broadcasting aartis live for the masses.
At the Soniwadi hall at Borivali’s Shimpoli area, 10 members of Nari Tu Narayani Suvarn Mahila Sangathan gathered on Saturday and Sunday to sing hymns to the goddess and perform garba. “We have decided to maintain a strict ratio of allowing only 10 women to come every day and take part in the tradition followed by us every year. For the rest of the members, we used Facebook live,” said founder president Neela Soni.
However, many claimed virtual events are robbed of the vibes associated with collective dancing. Probably for the first time in the last 45 years, Juhu Jagriti, a charitable trust which organises Navratri at Juhu’s Jashoda Rangmandir grounds, has not initiated any plan. On Saturday, select members of the trust performed aarti at the adjoining Bhaidas hall. “There was no point in hosting anything virtual. How many youngsters would prefer playing with their families at their homes?” said president Raju Shah.
Choreographer Ajit Bagwe of Vandana Cultural, who has been teaching garba for over two decades, said, “My students have not participated in any event, nor have I, unlike past years. Garba has a lot to do with the vibe, eye contact, rhythm, and sync. Virtual events don’t offer the same kind of feeling.”
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