Today is the first day of Navratri, a nine-day festival celebrated across India. I wish each one of you a Very Happy Navratri.
On this day, I bring you a brief excerpt from my novel, MEGHNA, that portrays the scene of the Dandiya Raas, a part and parcel of the celebrations during these nine nights.
Do read it to check out how much fun Rahul and Meghna are having during their outing...
The scene was a classic fusion of the Orient and the Occident. The clothes - Rahul couldn’t remember ever seeing such variety and colour at one venue.
Guys were dressed in smart casuals, semi-formals as well as Indian formals. Colourful waistcoats vied with the short embroidered kedias. Many sported colourful caps or turbans.
As for the women’s attire, the choice was mind blowing. Jeans with embroidered hems teamed with short colourful tops, ghaghra choli, salwar kameez, sari—you name it and someone was wearing it.
They all blended into a kaleidoscope of art and colour and the overall effect was a pleasing eyeful.
Then there was the music. Indian folk music, music adapted from Bollywood and of course disco music. The crowd went crazy as the band started playing. They separated into groups and formed circles, each holding a pair of sticks or dandiyas.
They began dancing, holding a wooden dandiya in each hand, clicking the sticks against each other or those held by their partners. The clacking of the dandiyas formed a rhythm and the dancers moved ecstatically in time to the music.
Sanjay and Reema along with the kids joined a circle in the centre of the ground. This had many children of similar age as Sasha and Rehaan.
Rahul and Meghna got together with a group of strangers and swirled to the music, clacking their dandiyas away, swinging to the rhythm. They both were excellent dancers, as they naturally enjoyed dancing. They were too absorbed in each other to be aware of the rest of the crowd. They were completely unaware of Prashant watching them avidly, raw hunger in his eyes as he devoured Meghna’s graceful movements. His expression changed to one of hatred every time his eyes fell on Rahul.
The next hour flew away on wings as Meghna twisted and turned, moving forwards and backwards in the circle, her eyes on Rahul’s animated face. His face was alight with the joy he felt swaying his body to the high-pitched folk music. Then it suddenly changed to a disco number and the crowd swayed at a frantic pace. The two of them gave themselves up to the pace set by the band, now fast, now slow.
A short break was announced when the crowd rushed towards the stalls set up for food and drinks. Rahul and Meghna stood back to let the others move ahead. Rahul put his hand around Meghna’s waist and gently wiped her perspiring face with a snow-white handkerchief that he removed from his kurta pocket.
Meghna gave a sigh of contentment as he smiled at her. “So tell me; how do you feel now?” he asked, an eyebrow raised in query.
“Just great,” she replied in a whisper. He bent down his head close to her mouth to catch the soft words. Meghna placed her left hand on the nape of his neck to hold him in place and further cooed in his ear, “that gold ring of yours looks sexy.” She smiled into his startled gaze.
He gave her a broad grin saying, “Well thanks, kind lady, you’ve made my day.” He pressed his lips to her hot cheek for just a second before raising his head to look at her face with dancing golden brown eyes.
Meghna felt her heart overflow with the love she felt for him. She did realise to some extent the struggle he had had to undergo to come to terms with his attraction for her. She knew about his insecure childhood and could well understand his fear of commitment. But he had reached a decision, it seemed. He appeared more peaceful than ever. Her eyes shone with excitement as the band struck again.