Puja, the biggest festival of the year, just went past. Nothing could dampen the spirit of celebration in the Dooars gardens - not the drought, and not even the high prices of food and goodies. Niswarth's people celebrated with a musical entertainment show in Bagracote Tea Garden on September 25, 2009.
In keeping with the Puja spirit, the show was open to all. There were a number of entertainers from Bagracote, but the Niswarth performers were the highlight of the show. Surjya Oraon's song had everone cheering and clapping loudly. This was the only way they communicate their appreciation to Surjya, who can't see.
About half an hour into the show, we heard there were two and a half thousand spectators. Later, even more gathered. It wasnt possible to get the exact number, but it turned out that all the labour lines were 'Khaali' and every resident of the garden was at the show!
The show stealer was Deepa, who danced to a lively Hindi film song. This lovely girl has malformed feet; they are twisted and point backwards. The CD took some time to find. Deepa was all ready to dance, and she waited quietly, smiling and excited.
When the music began, Deepa danced with terrific energy, mouthing the words of the song and enacting all the emotions expressed by the singer. There were four boys dancing with her. Two of them cannot hear at all, and the other two have very limited mobility. Their team work was remarkable.
As they danced, the crowd went wild. There was no way anyone present would think of the hardship or sorrow of such physical afflictions. Emotions ran high. There were some women sitting behind me, clapping with their hands high in the air, smiling and weeping at the same time.
Thank you, Deepa, and boys. You showed us that music and dance are for everyone, and that they have the power to fill us with happiness.
Deepa became something of a star that night. Representatives of the local press were seen clustered around her for a long time.