Came across this pic in a post by ‘Natyagruha’ on Facebook . Those ‘Ghungroos’ took me back to my school days.
I had subscribed to this Facebook page recently and get to watch some of the most beautiful dance performances everyday.
It is a beautiful feeling when I watch the dancers and imagine myself doing those dance steps :).
My interest in dancing started in school where we had this hobby class.
We had the option to choose from Music , Dance , Clay modelling and Drawing.
I chose Dance.
We had one Dance period every week. During the initial years in High school, we had a Bharatnatyam teacher and during the later years we had a Kuchipudi teacher.
I was a good dancer and was always made to stand in the front row during the class 🙂
I always got selected in the Dance competitions among the various Groups in school.
All the practice sessions were fun.We had the privilege to bunk classes for the practice sessions.
The D – day would soon arrive. All the costumes and jewelry would be hired and would arrive in a huge box and placed backstage. The costumes were very bright and colorful , the jewelry glittered and lots of Anklets too. I love the sound of Anklets.
The makeup man would arrive and one by one he would transform all of us into the most beautiful girls. We hardly recognized each other with all the makeup 🙂
Wow , makeup is like magic. The pancake foundation, thick kajal for the eyes, bright red lipstick, blush, nicely arched eyebrows, big bindhi. Little white dots lining the arch of the eyebrows completed the makeup.
A bun is formed with a little hair on top of the back of the head. Rest of the the hair was braided , false-hair was also used to make the plait appear longer. The long braid ends with Jada Kuppalu/Gantalu (three beautiful golden bulbs/bells).
Strings of flowers would be placed around the bun . The braid was then decked with flowers from top to bottom. The ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ ornaments were put in place on either side of the partition on the head .A ‘Tika’ in the center. Nice big earrings dangled from the ears. A nose ring would be pressed to one nostril.
We then got dressed in the costumes.
Rest of the jewelry is decorated over the costume. A big choker and a long chain around the neck, a Vaddanam at the waist , Vanki’s on the forearms…lot of Bangles on the wrists.
Time to apply ‘Alta’ on the hands and feet . Got to take care not to move and not touch anything till the alta dries up. This is instant henna 🙂 which is a bright pink liquid applied on the palms and feet in a traditional design using a brush.
Love the final result.
Once the alta is dried up , time to tie the brass anklets …got to tie them tightly so they don’t loosen up and fall off while doing the performance. I just love the feel and sound of those Ghungroos on my feet.
All set for the performance .There is a little nervousness initially when the curtains on the stage are drawn and I get a glimpse of the audience.
All the lights in front of the stage are focused on us and hence the view of the audience thankfully gets blurred 🙂
Got to be composed and concentrate on the sequence of dance steps and the rhythm.
The show is over and time to get backstage and remove all the jewelry , costumes and Anklets .
I am back home with my parents who meet me backstage.Time to remove the pancake makeup on my face.. I rub a little coconut oil on my face which dissolves the makeup and makes it easy to be washed off.
All the flowers and false hair which are put in place with dozens are hairpins are carefully removed by my mom and sis .
My body feels light and I go to sleep.
I wake up and look forward to the next Dance competition.
Winning was not a priority and I don’t remember having won or lost the competition. It was all about the participation, the practices, the dressing up and the excitement on the D-day.
I always wanted to own a pair of Ghungroos. One day the Dance teacher said they will be ordering Ghungroos on our behalf. I was so excited and told my parents and they accepted immediately. I was sooo happy on receiving my set of Ghungroos . They had a thick yellow thread with intricately and tightly woven ghungroos. The Ghungroos have to be worn on the feet after an act of reverance , by holding them in both the palms and bringing them close to the closed eyes ( a Hindu custom) .
They were one of my most favorite possessions during school.
Somewhere in the rat race of college , job , marriage , kid , those Ghungroos were forgotten and also lost :(.
All those memories came back when I saw this pic.
Felt like pouring my thoughts here.