Garba and Dandiya Raas @ Lok Utsav: Ecstatically Meditative

Lok Utsav celebrates the folk forms, especially dances of India. It conducts month long classes for Garba and Dandiya in the month preceding Dusshera!

This series of videos are from the final dance evenings coinciding with Dusshera! Every serious dancer gets lost in a state of ecstatic meditation, inexplicable, indescribable. I made sure I am lost 2-3 hours every day in such an exalted state!!

Garba is a form of dance which originated in the state of Gujarat in India. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha and Deep. Many traditional garbas are performed around centrally lit lamp or a picture or an idol of the Goddess Shakti.

Here are my captures… enjoy!  Every video is in 4K HD and I have uploaded all on youtube. Usually, each of the videos will play in low resolution, where in you do not get high clarity. But you will find the settings button (the wheel) on the video when you click on it. Click on the settings button and change the quality to HD resolution (1080p60) so as to watch with highest clarity.

Our heart felt thanks to all our Gurujis who patiently and passionately invested in each one of us during this month long classes.

With great sadness we pay our rich tributes to the most senior guru ji Sri Sudesh Shikari ji, who left on his journey to heavenly abode on the first day of our final performances.


Ah, I failed to mention, every evening I had a bonus too – over 1200 calories spent! Now that the month long classes are over, I am sure most of the dancers will find the evenings vacuous !  I will surely find another dance class soon to take its place !! 🙂

Our humble thanks to all the organizers, Sandeep and Abhishek to start with, and all the dancers who made it a memorable month. Catch you all, my fellow dancers, very soon!


Dream It, Do It! A whirlwind tour to Bangalore and Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar

Continuing my pursuit of pushing the youth to realize their dreams, the DREAM IT, DO IT! motivational tour had stoppages at Bangalore and Ahmedabad last week. The two stoppages had youth as different as chalk and cheese. At Bangalore’s venue of Jyoti Niwas college, the audience was experienced IT professionals with a few years under their belt, all eager to take off to an IIM. Most of them want to make a quick exit from the boredom of software industry and are eagerly waiting to explore the business world with an IIM feather in their cap.

As the session progressed, I could see the movement in the audience towards optimism and self-belief. A few shared that their drive to chase their dreams have got a boost, and a few shared that it has reminded them of their gutsiness to chase their goals. It is all about the desire to excel, the gritty determination to work hard relentlessly to get what you really want. If a human being purposefully chases a goal that he badly wants to achieve, at any cost, no body can stop him. And that is the bottom line. I am sure almost every one from the crowd in Bangalore can make it to any of the IIM he or she wishes to, since they have very good profiles. I have no doubt they will.

I took a flight to Ahmedabad, enroute to Gandhinagar. Hardik and Paridhi, the Career Launcher warriors at Gandhinagar were championing this leg of my visit. Gandhinagar is proving to be the new education hub of Gujarat and western India with a bunch of institutions of national repute – IIT, NIFT, National Law School, NID new campus…along with a few more institutions promoted by industrial enterprises.

I had sessions addressing the final year students at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU), an endeavor supported by Gujarat Government with active participation of the oil majors and Dhirubhai Ambani institute of information and communication technology (DA-IICT). Unlike, the Bangalore audience, the final year and the pre-final year students are still groping in the dark, except for a few. As the economy has slowed down, the placement is a serious concern. It accentuates if the students are not serious, and each one has not set a goal for oneself, forget about being purposeful. So, the focus of the sessions at both these places was to make them set goals and plan their action purposefully to achieve those goals, apart from orienting them to work on themselves for placements.

Dream It, Do It! @ Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University

Dream It, Do It! @ Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University

The PDPU campus, that came up in 2007,  is world class. I was delighted to have my lunch at the campus cafeteria and headed towards the auditorium. It took sometime for the crowd to come in. I felt the purpose of the session did not reach to the students in a compelling manner. It was more like a session that you have to attend. I could sense the diffidence in the students walking in. I could see the reluctance. It took enormous energy from within, to push the crowd to participate and be proactive. For a speaker, it is a challenge to help the audience to be serious about the session and then deliver it to push them to participate and be purposeful. Though, significant section of the crowd started to move as the session progressed, there were quite a few who still were holding their ‘ego’ forts. But, I was delighted to meet a few who stayed back after the session to ask very incisive questions about their careers and entrepreneurial plans. I felt that the students at this campus need an intensive, participatory workshop to keep them engaged intensively, instead of the ‘lecture mode’, though my sessions are very participatory and interactive.

Dream It, Do It! @ Dhirubhai Ambani Institute for Information and communication technology

Dream It, Do It! @ Dhirubhai Ambani Institute for Information and communication technology

I rushed to DA-IICT from PDPU. That place was a contrast to PDPU. I am usually well ahead of time for my sessions, so that I can set up and check the technology paraphernalia. The campus is verdant green, with all blocks/buildings nestled between the green canopies. I really loved the campus for its upkeep and green cover. I walked into the lecture hall well ahead of time to find the hall full to my utter surprise. The students were there well ahead of time occupying their seats. The school leadership was purposeful. I was delighted to experience this contrast. Except for a few, the audience remained till much after my session got over. A few of them went on discussing even after the session and came all the way to drop us to the parking bay. The discussions were very enriching. Met a couple of youngsters who are working on their enterprises. All in all the sessions were a great learning experience for me, that I always look forward to.

I will add the feedback of the students, as soon as I receive from Hardik.



Rabaris – The herd wanderers..

Rabari Man heading a flock grazing expedition

As I travel widely by road, I come across huge flocks of sheeps and goats grazed, in the remotest parts of the country, by these colorfully turbaned gentleman. I am amazed at their passion to graze the cattle. They travel all the way from Gujarat and Rajasthan, for a few thousand kilometres on foot, every year, just grazing the cattle.

Kindly visit my travelogue SREENI ON ROAD for the complete story.

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