When we, Indians, leave behind our homes to call a new land our home we adapt ourselves. We start dressing up differently, we experiment with spices of a new kind, we accept that water is a paid commodity, we learn how to greet and be grateful in a foreign language and a lot more. In short, we change. But one thing that we refuse to let go, one thing that remains the same is how we dance. Place us on a dance floor in the cold Arctic or the hot Dubai we refuse to give up on our ways of dancing!! Last Thursday was my first ‘Desi’ night in DXB. And while I came back humming ‘Desi Boys’ I also couldn’t stop wondering & smiling at how ‘we’ danced in this foreign land!
So ‘Desi’ nights are apparently very big in DXB. In simple words, Bollywood and Punjabi music rules the playlist and needless to say Indians rule the guests list. We attended one at a club called Velvet Underground in Bur Dubai, for it was a dear friend’s birthday and she is apparently a huge fan of all things desi And it goes without saying the DJ was an Indian! We reached the club around midnight, which by the way is early by DXB standards. The psychedelic lights welcomed us to the ‘Little India’.
The music was ear deafening loud and lovely. From Band Baja Baraat to Angreji Beat and 47 Weight Kudi Da to Hookah Bar – they played it all. And the crowd hopped, swirled, jumped, screamed and twirled in ways only Indians can do. If you’ve ever attended a Punjabi wedding you would know how the crowd dances – each with his individual style and big smiles. From a distance it looked like the moves were synchronised in a way that no one was copying the other yet looked alike! It was a leaf from the overdose of enthusiasm and energy that I had last witnessed at a club in Delhi. There was pulling the flush, swinging of hips, shoulder shrugs, beating the dhol and more. The steps were familiar, as was the shrieking, singing and whistling. And so was the discipline in the musical party chaos - courtesy the staff & bouncers.
The loud was being given company by the suave and quiet. They just sat and clapped. Some shared jokes (screamed) in the noise. A few perched themselves on lounge sofas and just watched. Many got ‘non-Indians’ to swing to Honey Singh. Each one of them loved it. And almost everyone drank. We smiled at a few unknown faces too. Their moves and smiles said they loved Bollywood as much as we did.
It was only at three am when I walked out of the club I realised I was not home! The sight of cabs and that of luxury cars brought me to the reality! But then as long as DXB’s hot & humid air is Bollywood rich, I am not complaining! Right?