GUWAHATI, May 7 – Rongali Bihu was held at London on May 1, in Hornchurch, in suburban Greater London. There was glorious sunshine throughout, even though the temperature was slightly tempered by a reasonably strong wind.
On offer were the usual delicious variety of snacks namely ghila pithas, til and narikol laroos, chira doi, cakes and plenty of children’s delicacies. Huge credit goes to the member ladies of the London Bihu Committee who slaved over stoves in the run-up to Bihu, an e-mail received here stated.
This was the second bank holiday weekend in a row in the UK and as a consequence, attendance failed to hit the heights of last year, though the event was still successful in attracting visitors from places as far afield as the Midlands, the North of England, Scotland, and even France!
The introduction of Bihu Olympics, in tune with Great Britain’s preparation for the real thing in 2012, proved successful due to enthusiastic crowd participation and excellent commentary by Maushumi Baruah.
After speeches given by the president, Neera Borkakoti, welcoming everyone to the event, and the vice president, Geeta Borooah, talking informatively about Bihu in general, came the cultural show. This was its usual pick‘n‘mix of the young and not so young, classic performers and debutants, those who brim with talent and those who don’t really. Show items included a children’s Bihu dance done by Navina Arora, Shreya Bora, Aayana Goswami and Jishnu Arora, an Odissi dance by Shatarupa Chatterjee and a debut Bihu dance from Rimli Das. All-in-all, the show was very well received by guests, as was the generous thank you to one and all from the general secretary, Rishi Kakati.
London Bihu also played host to first time Bihu participant Apuraj Barua. Apuraj has been credited with the innovation of ‘scratch art’, which involves using a shaving blade to scratch out figures and landscapes on a canvas made of bromide paper. Apuraj will soon be attempting to scratch out the largest example of this type of artwork ever made, and entering the Guinness Book of World Records.
After the successful cultural programme had ended, Apuraj held the audience enthralled with a fine speech extolling the virtues of this experimental art form. He then proceeded to sketch a portrait of a traditional bihu dancer, while hordes of guests surrounded him, jostling for position like excitable fans at an IPL match.
The general Bihu dance got under way with the usual interpretations of joy and pain while the non-rhythmical took the opportunity to socialise with old friends. The brisk steps, languid hand movements and beat of the dhol seamlessly gave way to more energetic and gyratory Bollywood ‘hits’.
The main feast followed soon afterwards and the generous offerings of Indian/Bangladeshi cuisine were enjoyed by all including the artists.