Been doing loads and loads of travelling recently. Newcastle, Castle Howard, North York Moors National Park, Manchester (just to eat in subway), Reading, London, and Whitby yesterday. It's been non-stop (bar the distracting weekdays) tripping all over the place.
Reading was for Dassera festival. Quite well organized (inspite of limited resources), good events - dances, skits, fashion show. Some of it was amateur, but still very endearing and worth our time. Compare that to Diwali event at Trafalfar Square. Brandishing the Indian flag every 5 seconds. Every patriotic song in all its form - Sare Jahaan se, Jana gana mana, Vande mataram, performed, and danced to.
But hang on - this is Diwali!!
What's it got to do with Indian flag. Why hammer the "Chak de" song till everyone says 'F*$k de'. Can't we have some pure festive revelry. Even some jhatak -mataks and rocking Bollywood numbers - I was rooting badly for "Sajana ki vaari vaari" so badly - would have been fine. But no! The best they can do is 'Mein teri dushman, dushman tu mera'. Amrish Puri would have turned in his grave like a constipated snake.
The dancing on all the songs was unrehearsed and very banal. The dancers were so out of depth that a lady whose skirt started to come undone at the start of the song, continued to dance with one hand on the crotch, rather than go backstage, fix it and come back (or better, just let it slip on stage).
The stage lighting also was so poor, that most of the time, the performances looked straight out of a horror show. On top of it, the weather was wet and awful. The best part was a kid singing Jana Gana Mana so completely above the tune (reaching notes no human has reached before), that he must be the proudest (and loudest) Indian.
All in all, a very embarassing show of Indian culture.