I hate to admit it but I actually had fun last night at Bollywood class. The instructor apparently knows my name too. She asked if I was going to keep with this class. I said I wasn't sure. But the song we're learning now, Chaiyya Chaiyya (from Dil Se), is really fun. And I actually remembered the steps this time. So I'm torn...I could just buy another 4 pack of classes for $40, and go the next couple of times and then attend again after the new year. Because classes are good for a year from the date of purchase. And I'd actually like to try the Bhangra class but I can't do it because I don't get off of work till 5:30, and class starts at 5:15, and I feel guilty asking my boss to leave early on those days just for a dance class. A paycheck is much more important.
But back to last night's festivities. After we learned the first part of the song, we gathered around and listened to our instructor tell us about Diwali, and background of it. She also showed us a tray of stuff on there and their significance. She had two figures on it, a little container filled with rice, and other with some red stuff, and a candle. She showed us the blessing that they traditionally do which includes dipping your ring finger in the red stuff and then putting a dot on your forehead and then adding rice to your dot and then you take your hands and wave the fire towards you as a blessing for the new year. I was completely fascinated by this and took part in it. It was great to be apart of such a thing, even if I'm not Indian. And I think I appreciated it even more because I majored in Cultural Anthropology, so I was totally loving that aspect of this whole ritual too.
After the blessing, she gave us each our own deepa, which is a small pot that you put oil in and then a wick and then light. She even let us keep them! (Image is courtesy of Wikipedia) How sweet of her! She explained that during Diwali, it's ritual to light these. Supposedly, the brighter your house is the more apt you are to receive the gods' blessing. We filled our deepas with mustard seed oil, and put in a little cotton ball-looking wick, and then lit them. She also added that many people gamble on Diwali because they want to make money for their family and for the new year. Sounds fun!
Once we lit our deepas, the entire class went outside in the parking lot and lit both American and Indian sparklers and danced around. When we came inside, the instructor laid out special treats that she had shipped from a store in Queens, NY. Again, she told us what they were called, but I forget. The one I tried was a ball size of dough, yellow, and had cucumber seeds, crushed up nuts, and sugar and flour in it. There was one that was made from chick peas and cashews, and another that had saffron in it. I saved half of my treat and gave it to M for her to try. It was just wayyy to sugary to eat it all at once! And I learned that one of the girls in my class, she studied abroad in India for a semester. No wonder she's like bffs with the instructor.
Overall, it was a great time. I wish every class was like this!