September, 2021

Running down a marble corridor in a dress flowing behind you and your veil kissing the ground as you make your way to the royal ball to dance away your night. Taking this British nuance and extracting its flavour to brew it in the Indian spectrum we have Navaratri, a 9-day festival that brings light to the art of spirituality, dance, expression, fashion, and paradox. Navaratri is a festival that is best celebrated in Gujarat, India, with entire grounds dedicated to a type of dance called Garba and Dandiya. People come together to dance their night away in an exquisite folk attire called the Ghaghra Choli usually worn by women and a kurta paired with a Kafni pajama by men. It is paired with heavy silver and black copper jewellery. Celebrated for various reasons, the very essence of Navratri is the night and her stars. Nav means nine and Ratri translates to Night – it is the festival of the 9 Nights observed in honour of the divine feminine, Durga (Ma Amba), and to commemorate the killing of Ravana by Ram after the historic battle for Sita. Navaratri and goddess worship is mentioned in the historic Sikhism literature, particularly in the Dasam Granth traditionally attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. Navratri is also called Durga Pujo in Bengal which one of the most famous festivals of the state.

When I celebrated my first Navratri in Gujrat, I was awestruck and overwhelmed by the large scale it was celebrated on. I remember reaching the Garba ground at around 7:30 in the evening. I had never played Garba, and I did not know any steps or dance routines either. My friends told me to stick by them and copy them till I get a hang of it but eventually, I started flowing into the space. I lost my friends in the circles, but I didn't care anymore. I joined a random circle with a group of strangers and danced till 2 in the morning. I had never felt this joy before, and it was an experience I would truly never forget. This festival not only ignites the essence of people, but the spirit of an acquaintance of self with the bright light around us when we are in the moment and taking the vibrations in.

Wishing all readers of The Gen Z Life a very happy festive season!

- Vaidehi Rajput