Monday, October 18, 2010

Navratri Nights- CEPT Style!

I'm back in Bombay with the Ahmedabad Blues. The Navratri music is still playing in my head- the coarse voice of the village singer is swimming in my mind as I hum the tunes of traditional Garba music such as "Pankhira" and "Dholina". I went back to Ahmedabad after 8 years. I have a long association with the city. To begin with- I was born there. I came back to study high school there and then later SID, CEPT. It was a city I had my first crush in, my first love, and my first heartbreak. I grew up in this city. My time at SID was the most formative years of my life. From struggling to understand the technicalities of space to a simple idea of a concept. What I love about Ahmedabad is the celebrations. Whether its Holi, Janamashtmi, Navratri, Diwali or Uttarayan- the festivities are beautiful and magical. More so the CEPT University takes pride in the celebrations that it hosts for the city.
Navratri- Nine Nights - before Dussehra (the tenth day) is celebrated all over Gujarat and Maharastra with nine nights of dancing. At CEPT, Navratri becomes an incredible project in lighting design, sculpture, painting murals, and most of all hospitality. It is one of the most popular Garba in all of Ahmedabad. It is the most traditional where everyone dances in a big circle around the Devi Ambe and the music is always performed by village musicians and yet very modern and a bit anti-establishment-like. I remember working in the studio, slipping on a chaniya (skirt) and running to the grounds to do a couple of rounds of dancing and then running back to the studio and pulling an all nighter for a submission next morning. Aah those were the days- sleepless nights. My body would hurt for nine days but the spirit of dancing was more important.
Oooh the other thing that I love about the CEPT garba is the fashionable clothing. The women mostly experment in styles, mixing Western with traditional. Backless Cholis have always been the flavor of the season. Mirrored long skirts paired with halter tops. Sexy cholis with jeans. Even a traditional Chaniya Choli outfit paired in its textures and color looks very unique. Big jewellery pieces, head gears, lovely draping of dupattas all make for gorgeous accessories.
Below are the photos of the incredible lighting- all designed by SID students (so proud), the dancing and the fashions at CEPT. I tried once again to sort through the hundreds of pictures I took.
Also want to thank the Shastris for being such great hosts, Lahar for the company to Ahmedabad. It was a pleasure meeting all my old pals- Kamalika, Anand, Vishal, Natasha, Chandni, Dhara, Pooja, Birju, and ofcourse interacting with the new soon- going to be fabulous designers.
CEPT never ceases to inspire...

Hear the sound of the music. I love the song Dholina.

The kid sleeping belonged to the family of musicians. The music is played all the way to the wee hours of the morning. These nine days is probably the most important way of making an income for the family. hence the sacrifice.

And now for some of the hot Belles that caught my eye. Well some of them I knew..


  1. Superb Work...U know just a thought..If you could have also included Ahmedabadi's gorgin on Fafda jalebi On Dushera...Was at CEPT last night till 3 am and then went hunting for Fafda and was amazed to c the serpentine que at that hour......Parth

  2. Wow! That first picture especially is amazing. So pretty

  3. @Parth- the Manek chowk food post is coming... its on my craving pav bhaji
    @Megan- I hope you com down one day

  4. jo... u wrote as if u knw hw each ceptian feels.. lovely pics... n hope next year we can celebrate togather..

  5. Awesome pics.......I miss Navratri
    YOU Captured almost everything from every corner of CEPT........
    Ur pics are making everybody look much more prettier ..... :)

  6. the pics have totally captured the mood tht night jo- nothing could have described the ambiance better!! love you with this camera! (remind me when i complain about it) :)

  7. Jo.... aap aur aapki blogging, jug jug jeeyein! :) great post, my zealous comments on ur fb page are testimony enough of how charming the pics are. and I think ur post truly echoes sentiments of everyone who's ever been in cept!

  8. Hey - those are really REALLY cool lighting fixtures. I'm VERY impressed and can't wait till I get to see them for myself! they remind me of an installation I saw by a Hong Kong designer. I'll email you the pic...

  9. this is my favouritest post on all of your blog. you wont believe it - but now when i think of home - my parent's home and cept kinda come together. sigh for cept navratris. some day - soon.

    kissies to you.

  10. i missed my last navratri a lot thanks a lot for such amazing pics n capturing navratri 2010 in such a beautiful way.....
    it was the best navratri i ever had in my 6 years....

  11. i love your pictures!
    i m missing navratri for the first time in my life,
    and the video made me nostalgic about cept
    i was in SID 4 yrs back,
    but went for cept garba every year!

    THANKS A TON for the post,
    love it!