With the increasing interest in dandiya events coupled with the rising number of migrants to the city, a small club is now coming forward to launch its own version of the festival.
The Shree Agarwal Youth Association launched its first dandiya night in Anna Nagar recently. “Our organisation was started way back in 1993, but we never felt the need to have a dandiya night. But that has changed now,” said Rajeev Agarwal, Secretary of the association at the launch.
True to his words, things definitely seemed to have changed, at least going by the extent of participation that the event saw. Everyone from toddlers to grandmothers were on the dance floor as soon as the music kicked off.
Soon, the dimmed hall was lit with glittering lehangas decorated with mirror work and heavy embroidery. The men were not outdone by the women when it came to dressing, in fact many of the sparkling kedias and silver jewellery far outweighed that of women.
The younger participants with their elaborate costumes were the most excited lot.
Fifteen-month old Dhruv Agarwal may still be brushing up on his walking skills, but that didn’t stop him from making the best of the dandiya night. Dressed as little Krishna, in a yellow dhoti and angarkha. Dhruv was among the earliest participants to arrive at the event. “He is one of those who gets so excited when it comes to the dandiya that he forgets sleeping and eating, All he wants to do is to go on and on with the dance,” added his mother, Sonal.
Mona Gupta, who is now a mother, has not gone dandiya dancing for the last 15 years, but couldn’t wait to join the event.
“After all these years, today I feel like dancing because this is one place where you could perform with your child. So its very special,” she said.
Meanwhile, older guests pointed out how the landscape in Chennai had been changing over the years, with more and more people taking a shine to dandiya.
“When I first came to Chennai, about 40 years back, there was not a single dandiya performance in the city. But in the last 5 to 10 years this scenario has completely changed. Now apart from the larger get-togethers there are events happening at every other apartment complex. Even South Indians are taking an interest and participating in the dandiya nights,” said Lalitha Gupta, who was at the event.
But, some pointed out that Chennai still had a long way to go when it came to appreciating dandiya programmes.
“In Chennai, the events still take place largely in small scale in auditoriums or apartments. It has still not gone on to be performed on public grounds or in large scale like in Bangalore or Mumbai,” said Mona Agarwal.