A fake world

A metro ride to Gurgaon, the satellite city of wealthy urban professionals on the southern outskirts of Delhi, is one through the whole spectrum of Indian live.

After leaving the capital, wasteland, scrubland and farmland drift past. Here an occasional hut, there some crater-riddled streets. And then, out of a sudden, gleaming shopping malls, five-star hotels and sprawling golf courses arise from the barren soil. The symbol of newly affluent India.

But the metro is built at such a hight, that behind the towering residential condominiums and the glass and steel office blocks, the beige earth is still visible. If one looks more closely, the unlevelled roads and heaps of garbage lying in the empty housing lots can be seen.

It’s a mostly unplanned city, with underdeveloped infrastructure, not enough water, and electricity – because instead of some proper city development, every investor was allowed to plant whatever he wanted. Most of it looks like: The more shiny, the better.

And in the midst of it is the “Kingdom of Dreams”, where Bollywood-Musicals show an even more dreamlike and escapist world. But the show is so overpowering and infectious, that all other things outside these glittering walls are easily forgotten.

Kingdom of Dreams

Bharatanatyam recital

Bharatanatyam is a classical Indian dance form, usually expressed by a female single dancer, through a mix of body movements, facial expressions, hand gestures, footwork, costumes, music, repertoire, and themes of performances.

Shashikala RaviThe basic postures and movements of which the dance is built are geometrical, but at the same moment full of dynamic and energetic. The basic postures center the weight of the dancer, and there is little use of the hips or off-balance positions.

Characteristic movements are the rhythmic stamping of the feet – audible through ankle bells -jumps, pirouettes, and positions where the knees contact the floor. An exceptional feature is the expressive movement of the eyes – accentuated through heavy lines that are drawn around, extending outwards past the eyes.

Unfortunately only a couple of dozen people watched Shashikala Ravi’s performance. Even though it was the only dance or theater performance I could find on this monday winter night.

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