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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 4, December 2014

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Yesha Shah
Surat, Gujarat, India


Dhol Naad

We beat our drums to the harvest moon, the monsoon clouds, the autumn breeze, the winter sun. We do our bhangra, garba and ghoomar on the drum beats. We celebrate the birthdays of Gods and the mischief of Lord Krishna in dahi-handi. For ten days, beating the drums, we welcome the elephant-headed God Ganesha into our lives and bid adieu to Him as he floats away, on drumbeats too. We marry off our daughters on drumbeats and in the same way, our daughters-in-law are ushered into their new homes. Each day we hear the reverberating drums of a distant passing procession.

mingling scents
of henna, jasmine
and marigold
a mother braids her love
in the bride's tresses

flickering flame
of the oil lamp lit
for the Goddess
a mother's prayer
to another mother


Author's Notes:

dhol naad:the musical essence of the drumbeats

garba, bhangra and ghoomar are the folk dances of Indian states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan respectively

dahi-handi:(dahi: curd, handi: earthen pot), is an Indian festival, celebrated every August, on Janmashtmi, Lord Krishna's birthday, that involves making a human pyramid and breaking an earthen pot filled with curd tied at a convenient height. This event is based on the legend of the child-god Krishna stealing butter.

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