Monday, August 4, 2008

Chowki dhani, Pune

First Sunday of eighth month this year (3-Aug-2008) I was in Rajasthan. Not exactly physically but yes the ambience and each atom of sand there made me believe I was in the largest state of India. For starters, Rajasthan is the biggest state in India, and this ethnical resort adds another acre to the state. From entrance to the starters ,from wall hangings to the way we sat having our food was all Rajasthani. This was an experience of a life time. If one was to be blindfolded and brought to this place, he would not recognize this place as being on outskirts of Pune. So what a wonderful way to share the space with my friends on this such a wonderful occasion.

It took me some half an hour to appreciate the beauty of the place and let it sink it. this is desert king , this is pink city and this is hub of folk dance. To try a hand at clay mudding , to ultimate folk dancing to bumpy camel ride, everything around made my pulse increasing. The first thing I went ahead and did was to go to the walls, which had all the hand made and crafty drawings signifying the art in the desert state. The texture of the color, and the mild fragnance blended well with the theme. And in between , i saw this beautiful painting and possibly lost in the beauty of the lady holding the earthenpot. She was beautiful, and innocence at its best. Possibly the artist drew his heart out on the wall , which had lightings also in traditional manner.

This phase was followed by a very entralling clay modelling session. The wet clay was as soft as the real desert soil , and one might be tempted to continue to keep it pressing whole day. the pot making process was not that difficult but the shapes required regular practice. I myself made a small pot , and all my friends appreciated my effort. The smell of clay was same as that left behind when first drops of rain fell on sand. This was probably the softest clay i laid my hand on, and am very happy what came out was a perfect small pot.

Camel riding was as bumpy as expected. The hump was good , probably no water scarcity in Pune, and the healthy camel took us a trip around the place. Like a Rajput going to fight Mughals was the feeling we were having. Our request to make camel run a few steps was granted well and we think only thing missing was a big sword and a turban on the head. Possibly the feeling sitting on the top of world was so great, no doubt Rajputs used to challange anyone in the battle-field and came out victorious.

What is Rajasthan without the folk, and the music and dance . Wow ... the perfect dancers with multiple earthen pots swaying to the beats of the traditional folk with energies bright enough to charge the dead batteries got the things rolling. With the dresses matched to occassions , and sitting down to enjoy the dance for half an hour. I was again lost in the magestic dance steps, the smile on face of dancer and above all with perfection her each sway was to the beat of the music. It was hard for me to avoid the music and we all started dancing. Seeing the enthusiasm in our group , we were called to dance on the stage. We knew we were no where to professional dancer but the energies were no less. Our group danced step to step and rocked the stage. Even if ours was not Rajasthani folk , we all managed a good show with synchronised dance moments and perfect co-ordination. All of Rajasthan for those brief two moments stood holding the breath for the angels from heaven dancing into the hearts of people. As the music stopped , we bowed. There was a big silence , like of the centuries. Nothing moves , even the air seemes to have paused for a moment to peep in what just happened. There was a fluctuation in the electricity and what followed was loud crisping clapping from all the places, and it seemed to go till eternity. All trees, buildings and even the dancer who had just rocked the stage came over, shook a hand and praised for the dance we had. She claimed it was best performance from anyone till date. The manager came up and gave us all a free entry coupon next time , and half of expenses paid by resort.

The gem of the evening was still to come, the dinner. The seating was just like it happens in movies. Seating on ground with a small table and finger licking food. The food was as spicy as expected. First time i cried with fire in my tongue. But even with reddening of face, and sweat dripping down my face, the taste was unbeatable. This was probably the best spicy food i had in recent times. The sweet dish was real sweet , and most cherished.

I came out of the pink city back in fast lanes of Pune , to come to office next day. Whatever be the case, the Chowki dhani just made my day , and i re-lived my life once more. a memory to cherish life long and experience to share through the close friends.