Writes: Diwas Chettri
We in Darjeeling are born to dance; it’s in fact in our blood. Marriage, birthdays, dasain, tihar, pujas whichever the occasion you name it, we just love to shake our legs.
Long before “Gangnam-Style”, contemporary, hip-hop styles in vogue with the youngsters these days, there was a generation who swore on Bappi Lahiri’s songs. Even today, when this generation hears “Jimi-Jimi, Aaaja Ajja….” their eyes light up.
Every year there is a particular song in which the people love to dance. Before the 80’s there was “Maiti-Ghar- Maity Ghaara” song, then came Bappi Lahiri Disco songs, in the 90’s “Key Bahnney Hamro Samay, Das Mohar Mahina ko kamai” ruled the roost, so did “Herinjel ko Samjhana, Chute Pachi Birsana…Zindagi Darpan Chayaa” and the new year picnic song of Late. Khemraj Gurung “Waari Jamuna Paari Jamuna”. In the late 90’s students loved to dance to the tunes of Aqua’s “Come Come Barbie, Lets go Party! Ah!Ah!Eyes” and so on.
I don’t know which song is in vogue this year, the last time I visited it was “Senteran…Senteran…”
The best songs to shake a leg however are of Kunti Moktan, there are is not a single song of hers in which, one cannot dance to. From “Mathi Mathi Sailungey ma Chauri Dulaunaey lai” to the tearful “Aaama ley Maya Gari Kinidiae ko” the romantic “Choli ramro Palpali Dhakako”, “Laligurans Ajambari “ to the soulful “Bhanchan Kohi Zindagi yo”. Even the non-dancers shake a bit, whenever her songs are played. Our ama, badi,chema and maam are the first ones to plunge into the dance floor.
Dancing in Nepali songs are the easiest, first rotate your both wrists in the air, do a hop- one-two, one-two with your legs, take the hands to the waist occasionally and do a full turn. There it goes, anyone can be a dancer!
However there still exist people like me for instance complaining “Haath Halliyeo Bhane Khuttai Hallindaina, Khutta Halliyeo Bhane, Hath Hallindina”, our way of saying having two left foot.
In our community the one song that has lasted a lifetime and is considered an all time favorite with all age groups is this song- “Kanchi hey Kanchi…tung…tung…tung” Aye Marda ley atte ni Barsha din Bhanthyoo…Aimai ley aatee Ekaichin rey” Old, teenagers, the 80’s, the 90’s generation simply love to dance in this song, isn’t it.
We also have our share of “Dangerous dancers”, who love to dance after getting high on alcohol, this breed of dancers usually, come in focus during Saraswati Puja, Biswakarma Puja. They simply do not care who are dancing around them, so a great precaution should be taken while dancing alongside them. Otherwise wait till they hit you in the back and in the face or simply stomp in your foot. In marriages, these dancers simply don’t want to stop; someone strict in the village has to say “Bhayoo Abo Ghar Jaaa!“… Pat comes the mumbling voice of the dancer “Kina mo maate bhanera.. maate ko chuina mooo.. mero bhanji ko biha ho! Nachchu ni anta ke bhayooo!”
Now a day’s our dances have evolved to great heights one could have never imagined, remember the hit song “Paari tyo Darai ma, Hera Gham Lagyoo Ghamiloo….Aaa..A ha..haha..Ha.ha”. Just shake your head left to right , right to left, both your shoulder up down up down, and there it goes, became such a rage. One can even do a hip- hop step infused with aerobics in this song. I feel our generation can do a beautiful rendition to the sad songs of Narayan Gopal, just imagine dancing in “Malai na Sooodha kaaha Dukhcha Ghau” in the slow motion style! or simply the Cockroach style.
In Darjeeling people simply need a reason to dance, I don’t know any where in India where people dance on the 26th of January apart from government programmes, although we do it in picnics, right! Here 26th January means going to the nearby rivers like Balasun, Teetsa, Choota Rangit and others and dance and celebrate, Constitution??? ”Kun Chara ko Naam Ho”.
Last time I was proved correct that dancing is in our blood when someone from the dais in a government programme shouted “Gorkhaland Hobe Naaa” “Banga Bhango Hobee Naa” our people danced.
The very recent announcement of development boards, our danced “Ah! Hai! Laribari Ah!Hai” My community was being “Ladi-Baadi” and being shredded to pieces but for the sake of dance we didn’t care, or did we? Did you???
So let’s dance one more my Darjeeling, but this time for the sake of unity and brotherhood, elections are near let’s make the politicians dance to our tunes, instead of us dancing in their tunes.
The best song called “VOTE” is in our hands and time has come to play this song carefully and in the correct way.
*Diwas Chettri is from Kurseong
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