“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”
Read this quote somewhere, written by Clifton Fadiman, an american television personality and author. And thought there is at least some truth in this statement. That is why expats miss their countries, when they are not residing in anymore.
We Indian are no different. because we are more closely knit with our family and friends missing our country is an everyday process for us. This feelings grows stronger specially during festivals, when we are alone in a foreign land away from our families and festivities back home.
I have recently shifted to Prague. As Navratri was round the corner I was also in the same fix. Indian community is not one of the prominent communities here number wise, so I thought nothing would happen here.
There are some of us who just remain sad. But then there are also some of us who do something about it. Because of the efforts of such people even I was lucky enough to be able to attend one such event. There was a Dandiya event happening in Prague and I was so excited and really looking forward to it.
Our kind and generous hosts- Mr. Balesh Sharma and Mrs. Archana Sharma along with the volunteers of the Indian Community group- Bharat Sangh Czech Republic took it upon themselves to organise the Dandiya event.
It was going to be my first dandiya event ever. I thought,”Wow!! India mein nahi kiya Dandiya toh kya hua. Yaha kar lenge.” I started counting days on the calendar.
Thinking about the joy I felt on hearing about the event made me realise a few things.When we are away from our people, that is when we realise the importance of our cultures, rituals and community life.
The happiness was not only restricted to doing dandiya. Happiness was wearing indian traditional clothes and jewellery after a long time. Happiness was meeting people from my own country here. Happiness was an opportunity of enjoying something very dear to my heart with my own people. I am sure all the people present in the event must have shared similar feelings.
The event started with an Aarti of Devi followed by Garbha and Dandiya. Attending an aarti with so many people gave a very holistic feeling. A small pandal was set up in the room with a photo of Durga Devi as keeping a Murti (idol) was not possible.
The place which was rented for the event was all white. The combination of colourful decorations with bandhani saris and dupattas, colourful and beautifully decorated umbrellas made the room look beautiful. The whole room with the small pandal, decorations , wonderful people felt like mini India here in Prague.
There must have been around 120-140 Indians for the event. I was so happy to see so many people from my own land together under one roof. It was one of those rare but beautiful things. It was a nice opportunity to socialize with other fellow Indians, and make new friends. I felt that when we are away from our country there is an invisible bond that connects all of us and we become friends very quickly.
The experience of Dandiya and Garbha was also awesome. Though Garbha looks easy but it is very difficult to learn it in one day. Kudos to all those who performed Garbha with such poise and grace. There was music and laughter all over the place. Then there was dance, dance and dance. The music, the rhythm and the moment got into you and it was just impossible to stay away from the dance floor,even if you did not know the steps.
(The Dance Pics)
Girls will be girls so how can they miss any opportunity of dressing up. All the ladies were looking lovely in their Indian attires. I felt so good to the eyes seeing so many saris, lehengas, suits, anarkalis and ghagra cholis and ethnic Indian jewellery.The cute little girls were looking like pretty little angels running around and playing in their ghagra cholis.Even the guys were dressed in indian outfits.The room looked as if there was an explosion of beautiful colours in it.All the lovely people clad in colourful traditional dressed made the place more vibrant and happening.
The dandiya sticks that were given were so beautifully decorated that i felt like taking them back home with me.
We Indians are renowned foodies. A party without food is nothing. Our hosts were very mindful of our healths. They knew that after burning so many calories dancing we would feel hungry. So, a beautiful array of desi favourites was arranged for us.
As everything has to come to an end, so did the event. We created so many precious memories in those moments. For people like me who have gone out of their country for the first time and that too recently , it was a very special. It was the much-needed occasion to drive away the home-sickness that starts emerging when you are thousands of miles away from your country.
In those moments spent in that event , it felt like it was home away from home. And hence there can be nothing less than heartfelt gratitude for the organisers of this event. Being humans it is difficult to be satisfied with just one wonderful thing. So looking forward to more of such events in the future.