Passengers on Churchgate Railway station were in for a pleasant surprise recently, when they were greeted by the sight of 15 graceful Kathak dancers. Near the ticket counter, curious onlookers enjoyed the Kathak performance, led by Anshu Parihar of Mumbai-based Ta Thei Thei Tat Trust. This unique initiative was undertaken by octogenarian Aabid Surti and Parihar, with the support of Western Railways. Surti, who is known to fix taps in people’s houses for free, in order to save water, clubbed the idea of generating awareness about water wastage with this Indian dance form.
“Since more than 1,000 years temple dancers of India, including Devadasis used to dance before monsoon or in drought situations, to please Lord Indra for abundant monsoons. Inspired from that we intended to use this form to please heavens for a good rainfall and at the same time, also create awareness.” The dance routine was of more or less of 4 minutes and was performed at an interval of around 10 minutes, for an hour.
Volunteers of Surti’s NGO called Drop Dead Foundation, went around the station to explain people the necessity of saving water and educating them about the millions of litres of water that is wasted due to careless attitude. “The rain dance in the Kathak style was choreographed especially for the initiative and to suit a Hindi and a Rajasthani folk songs. The awareness drive clubbed with an art form is an interesting way to grab attention of people,” Parihar added. The dancers were from all age groups, with the youngest being just six-years-old. The last routine of the hour was open to all and people were asked to join, leaving a lot of people amused.