Those of you who have read my earlier posts would know that I live in a vibrant apartment complex called Purva Venezia, which is multi-cultural and takes pride in coming together to celebrate its diversity.

After a hiatus of 2 years due to COVID, this year all the festivities have been celebrated with great gusto. The Kannadigas too celebrated an important day recently and the entire community participated with great enthusiasm. We had various cultural programs by residents including a few dances by kids and ladies and a dance drama followed by a musical evening. The highlight of the morning’s program was the Kolaata Dance by around 60 women of Venezia, in which I participated as well.

The specially made Ilkal Saree in purple, costume for our Kolaata.

What Is Kannada Rajyothsava

On 1st November, the state formation day is celebrated as Kannada Rajyothsava or Karnataka Rajyothsava. In 1956, all Kannada speaking regions came together to form the State Of Karnataka. This date is marked as a state holiday every year and is celebrated with the hoisting of the National & State Flags and cultural programs. The other 3 neighboring  South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu were also formed on the same day. Chattisgarh, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh too share this state formation day.

The Kolaata Experience

Kolaata is a dance performed with sticks, similar to Dandiya. It is a traditional dance followed in the  south, particularly Karnataka & Tamil Nadu.

I had forgotten to register for the dance and with my college, writing and coordinating for the Diwali Celebration (YES! We had a Diwali Milan too with high tea and Tambola) I thought I would give this one a miss. I was sure I couldn’t fit in the practices. Then a chance encounter with one of the coordinators made me change my mind. Though born a Tamilian, I take pride in calling myself a Kannadiga as I have lived here all my life. This city has made me what I am today and I identify with the culture here much more than the one that I was born to. So I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am glad that I was able to join last-minute.

Morning Kolaata In Ilkal & Finery.

The 2 songs chosen for the dance “Cheluvaiah Cheluvo” & “Gallu Gallanutha” are classics to which most of us would have performed in schools and communities as kids. So in that sense, it was nostalgic too. Though the practices started almost 20 days in advance, due to Diwali a lot of us were traveling to hometowns or busy cleaning the house. So the attendance was inconsistent. But the teachers patiently taught all latecomers, ensuring we were updated via video recordings too. Once the festivities were over, we got to serious practice across 5 evenings, before D-day. Even the suddenly chilly Bangalore evenings could not keep us away as all of us came prepared in our hoodies, sweaters, and caps.

The evening impromptu performance, more informally dressed in the colors of Karnataka – Red & Yellow.

On 1st November, all of us were ready in our specially ordered purple Ilkal sarees, decked up with Kasu Mala and other finery. We enjoyed the other programs along with the audience and shopped at the flea market as well for around 3 hours, while we waited for our dance to be announced. Since we were around 60 women, we were dancing in the open in the amphitheater and not on stage. As the music started, so did the rain. And strangely, it also stopped when we stopped dancing – like it was a sign from above! Though for a few moments initially we were disheartened, the team spirit kicked in as each of us decided to dance despite the rain and have fun. All of us smiled throughout and encouraged each other so that the rain could not deter even one of us. The audience too was equally great and stayed on in the rain, continuously cheering us. In fact, the dance was such a hit, that we performed again in the evening to conclude the Rajyotsava celebrations.

The bond and camaraderie that such events bring cannot be aptly described with words. Many of us who knew each other only by names, bonded well during this time. New friendships were formed. Barriers were broken. Limitations were tested and overcome. I guess that is what happens with the collective power of so many women coming together to rejoice and celebrate.

A big shout out to the 3 wonderful choreographers Rashmi, Sapna & Deepti and to Anitha, Vinuta, Mamta, Nagamani, Krupa, Vedika, Ramya & Mahesh Sir for their inputs and help with coordination to pull off this dance on such a large scale. Believe me, it wasn’t an easy task to manage the changing partners and positions!

As Helen Keller said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”. I feel that Purva Venezia embodies this. Despite differences in lifestyles, religions, or viewpoints, we as a community always come together to encourage and celebrate each other. Here is sincerely wishing that we continue to do so for many years to come and here is crossing fingers for a Christmas celebration!

To read my earlier post on Onam and my experience of the Tiruvathira Kali, click here.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla.

Top picture courtesy via Google search, Praveen Kumar on Dribble (https://dribbble.com/shots/5485721)

19 Comments

  1. I’m so happy to see any kind of festivities personally even if I do not have much knowledge about it. I guess seeing people celebrate about something that they believe much about and the fact that people can get together again is so impactful. After going through that period of Pandemic, we really can’t tell the uncertainty of the future. Other people may be talking about going to and living in Mars but the fact that some virus can put the earth in halt, I guess, whatever humankind have developed still isn’t enough for us to be too complaisant. Great celebration!

  2. You are really blessed to have such a community where each one is participate and enjoy. I really don’t know about this festival. Your post is informative and more over it tell us how to enjoy diversity.

  3. To read about a gala event of which we were all a part of feels so special! Informative and fun , I love reading your blogs. Yes, Christmas is just round the corner. Waiting to read about that one too:)

  4. You look stunning, Vasumathi. Your community seems to be such a lovely place where everyone comes together to celebrate festivals and occasions. I enjoyed reading your post on Onam and this one was equally enjoyable. Looking forward to your post on Christmas and I am sure the celebrations too would be unique.

  5. Festivals are introduced in Indian culture to establish the bond of love between people and so any festival irrespective of cast and creed I love to enjoy. Thanks for sharing this wonderful festival with us.

  6. Enjoyed reading your post as always. I am really impressed by your apartment complex and how they celebrate each festival. I didn’t know about Kolaata. Learnt something new today.

  7. What a lovely post Vasu and informative too. i thoroughly enjoyed watching the Kolkata performance with the heavens blessing you all with a shower just for the duration of the dance😊
    btw, I totally agree with you… you are more kannadiga than a tamilian cuz I have noticed the depth of your feelings for Bangalore.

  8. “The bond and camaraderie that such events bring cannot be aptly described with words. ” It’s true and these type of events boosts the well being of all in every way. Looking forward to read about many more events in the future.

  9. I really wish i lived in a. similar gated community. What an exceptional way to celebrate. I just loved the colours and the camaraderie, which are palpable. Even in Andhra, we have kolaatam as it is called.

  10. I have read your previous posts and I just loved this one too. thanks for sharing video with us. You look gorgeous, Vasumathi. It sounds like you live in a wonderful place where people from all walks of life get together to celebrate special events and holidays.

  11. The dance is so graceful. I love the sarees everyone has wore. The entire celebration is so beautiful and filled with grandeur. It is nice to see even today people come together to celebrate and remember their traditions.

  12. I hear from my sister in Bangalore – where here community partakes in similar activities, celebrating the vast culture of India and bringing folks from other semi-cultures together. Loved reading your post and looking at the beautiful pictures. You are blessed to have such enriching experience with your neighbors.

  13. Firstly ur looking gorgeous in the saree, regarding ur post it lovely to see people get together in big numbers to celebrate, ur post shows how we must indulge ourselves in celebration of such important events.

  14. wow being in Bangalore for 2.decades now ,I wasn’t aware about kolaata dance. we do hoist flag and dress up in yellow or red but this is something new I have learnt. thanks dear will save this post and try this dance form next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Vasumathi

Blogger, Content Creator, Knowledge Facilitator, Hobby Photographer & Mom To A Naughty Dalmatian.