Members of Salt Lake Lok Sanskriti got together at CJ Park for a three-day-long celebration of Gangaur. The colourful Rajasthani festival included skits, devotional songs and dances which brought together one and all after months of pandemic-induced social distancing.
Gangaur, also called Gawarja, is a celebration of gods Shiva and Parvati, where women pray for marital bliss and prosperity. “It is mainly performed by unmarried and newly-married women but and for the last three days everyone joins them in prayer,” said Indu Jhawar, president of the ladies wing.
“Previously only ladies used to gather for our celebrations but now men come too and the event has reached a larger dimension,” she added. There were lots of stage performances. Devotional lyrics had been set to the melodies of film songs like Dholida from the latest Alia Bhatt-starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi and even the Bengali number Chirodini tumi je amar.
A skit was written featuring Gauri and Shiva, with the underlying message of how indispensable homemakers are and how women contribute to a family. A dance depicted the wedding of the deities, the festival of Holi and how when the time comes, the serene Gauri does not deter from turning into her fierce Kali avatar and slay asuras to restore peace. “We had been preparing these acts for over a month. Playing these characters is empowering. I was shocked with my own performance today,” said Anchal Agarwal, who played Kali.
Rashmi Lakhotia had worn her wedding jewellery and trousseau to play Gauri. “Everything here has been put up by ourselves,” said another member Anita Kejriwal. Last year, the celebrations were skipped due to the pandemic and we all celebrated at home in a humble way. But this time we are excited to celebrate together. It feels like there’s a marriage in the family.”