For nine days in a year, 29-year-old Borivli resident Bhavesh Bhayani is on cloud nine. Without any rehearsal, he bags the first prize in every garba-dandiya dance competition he participates in. That he is hearing-impaired and mute does not matter to him or his audience at the mandals.
Since 14 years, Bhayani has been participating in Navratri competitions. Moreso, he doesn’t just win awards for his dance he has also won several prizes for the costumes he dons. Bhayani performs at the dances held in Kandivali and Goregaon. He has won a bicycle by singer Phalguni Phatak, a wrist watch, a diamond pendant, trophies and certificates till date.
“I never rehearse for Navratri. I am just passionate about garba and I can dance all day, sans food. Dancing, after all, has made me famous and my family proud,” said Bhayani.
Bhayani began by performing solo but, as his fame spread across various venues, organisers of mandals began approaching him to perform in duets and with groups. He has earned two trophies for costume designing and stitches his own clothes, which he begins designing a month before Navratri every year.
Bhayani’s mother, Veena, admits she was in despair after doctors declared her son hearing impaired and mute. “We began his speech therapy, provided him with a hearing aid, and hoped for a good life for him,” she says. Ten years of speech therapy help Bhayani communicate. Though he cannot hear fully or speak clearly, he manages his family business and helps his father out.
“During Navratri, he sits at the shop and returns home at 5.30 pm to get ready and participate in Navratri’s dance competition. He returns home late at night, trophy in hand" added his mother proudly. “He participates at Kora Kendra since 2002 and has earned a prize every year,” she added.