Navratri 2020: Everything-you-need-to-know guide to cracking the virtual garba party

Updated: 11 October, 2020 08:42 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi | Mumbai

Don't let the pandemic get in the way of celebration. Here's a primer on how to enjoy the Navratri indulgence from the safety of your home

Makeup artiste Bianca Louzado's model with highlighted eyes and stand-out lips. Pics /Sameer Markande
Makeup artiste Bianca Louzado's model with highlighted eyes and stand-out lips. Pics /Sameer Markande

While Unlock 5.0 and the reopening of restaurants may have brought some cheer to Mumbai, crowding remains a foolish idea in a city that continues to struggle to bring its COVID-19 count numbers under control. Following quiet festivities in the last few months, the upcoming Navratri celebrations are also expected to be subdued. With social distancing norms in place, the nine-day festival, that begins on October 17 this year, will not be celebrated on the usual scale.

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However, the virtual age allows us to connect with friends and relatives over the Internet with some amount of fun. And, we can dress up and dance ourselves senseless even at home. We got experts to tell you exactly how.

Make the eyes stand out

WITH masks being a must when outside, celebrity makeup artiste Bianca Louzado recommends wearing non-transfer make-up. "It is best to focus on the eyes, since outside the mask, it's your most visible feature. Use only waterproof mascara and eyeliner since you don't want it to run when sweating. Use a primer as base, so that your makeup lasts longer. Use transfer-proof lipstick, which should stay in place for up to eight hours."

Louzado’s first step is to ensure that the skin is treated well before the makeup is put on
Louzado's first step is to ensure that the skin is treated well before the makeup is put on

She then defines the eyes of  her model with waterproof kohl and gel liner and uses glitter on the eyes
She then defines the eyes of her model with waterproof kohl and gel liner and uses glitter on the eyes

Louzado suggests blending a mélange of earthy toned eyeshadows (brown and dull gold). “Tone the highlighter and use on the brow bone and use a transition colour in the crease of the eyes,” she says
Louzado suggests blending a mélange of earthy toned eyeshadows (brown and dull gold). "Tone the highlighter and use on the brow bone and use a transition colour in the crease of the eyes," she says 

The makeup should also work on the bridge of the nose
The makeup should also work on the bridge of the nose

Here, Louzado has played the lips up with a beautiful mix of colours—rust orange and taupe
Here, Louzado has played the lips up with a beautiful mix of colours—rust orange and taupe

Pro tip: Use glitter subtly, but imaginatively to draw attention to your eyes.

Quick pointers

  • Use skin care/vitamin C serum and moisturising cream for your skin's health. It helps from within and without.
  • Use glitter, since it's festive season and you want to draw attention to your eyes.
  • Do not wear lip gloss as it will stick to your mask.
  • Do not use make up brushes that have been lying unused for months. Ensure you give them a good wash in shampoo and quick spritz of cosmetic disinfectant before use.

Dress comfy but glamorous

Accessorise the outfit with chunky bracelets and bangles. Keep the earrings large but light so you aren’t bothered by the weight as you swing
Accessorise the outfit with chunky bracelets and bangles. Keep the earrings large but light so you aren't bothered by the weight as you swing

Dressing up for home can be awkward. And, while it's okay to skip the heavy ghagra-choli, there's no reason to be a slouch. Riddhi Doshi, movement therapy practitioner and founder of the Dance and Textile Project, says, "It is important to dress comfortably. Ensure that you can move freely in whatever you wear." For a fuss-free look, Doshi suggests pairing a black/white kurta with a bright palazzo—preferably in cotton, as it makes it easier to dance in the October heat. "Throw in a bandhani or leheriya with an embroidered, mirror-work dupatta for a Gujarati, dandiya night feel. Another option is to wear a bright blouse over a skirt and throw in a dupatta for a more festive look.

Those opting for the saree should try draping a bandhni, leheriya with zari work pallu, in Gujarati style. "Accessorise with bold but light earrings, a statement neck piece, a finger ring and multiple bangles or a thick cuff. Go all out festive by adding a traditional maang tikka and nose ring," she adds.

Men can pair a batik-print shirt with jeans. Or keep it simple with a black/white kurta and drape a bright-coloured dupatta around the neck. Add an ethnic coat pin to up the style quotient.

Pro tip: Go all out with the choice of dupatta. Red, green, blue, bright pink, purple and indigo look great on screen.

Do up your dance corner

Nayantara Sangtani suggests decorating a corner of your home for video calls and online garba parties
Nayantara Sangtani suggests decorating a corner of your home for video calls and online garba parties

It's difficult to dress up a home which invites no guests. But, nothing announces festive cheer like happy home décor. Nayantara Sangtani, event stylist and founder of Dinners By Nayantara, says, "Garba settings involve a lot of fire as it essentially comes from the term 'garbha deep', which means a lantern representing life. So, the first step for your virtual setting is to use plenty of candles, lamps and diyas. Just be careful not to keep them too close to where you dance. Stick to a two-colour theme. Pick from yellow, pink and orange—they look great on screen as well. "A good idea would be to have a common theme for all guests. Get everyone on a group chat or Zoom call and share representative festive images, so that everyone is clued into what the background of their performance space should look like."

Before selecting the virtual space for your call, check the lighting. Make sure it gets natural light if it is a day party. For after sundown, ensure the space is well-lit so that everyone can see you and the decked-up space on screen. Set the screen in the direction that light falls on your face, not on your back.

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As for the frame, Sangtani warns that holding the camera too close to your body can cut your dance and decor out of the frame. "Also, balance the background music to the right volume to set the right mood and ambience."

Pro tip: While styling your home for a virtual party, stick to a two-colour theme.

Dance like everyone's watching

Movement therapist Riddhi Doshi says wearing a heavy ghagra-choli at home might be tiring. Instead, a light, attractive kurta with cotton palazzos (glitter trimmings) with dupatta, or bandhani saree works betterMovement therapist Riddhi Doshi says wearing a heavy ghagra-choli at home might be tiring. Instead, a light, attractive kurta with cotton palazzos (glitter trimmings) with dupatta, or bandhani saree works better

DOSHI, who has been conducting online garba training, thinks garba-dandiya, is easy, flexible and meant to be enjoyed with friends and family. The formation of a circle is the best way to feel synergy and oneness of community.

Doshi recommends choosing steps that focus on the upper body as, in a virtual setting, the lower body may not be visible. "Choreograph steps that can be performed while seated since your performance space is confined to a small box on screen. Choose steps that are, both, graceful and energetic to make up for the absence of a physical gathering."

Doshi says it is best to be versatile with the songs. "Start with a slow number to warm up your group and then move to fast tracks. Choose a mix of Bollywood and Gujarati songs so that everyone from old and young, inside and outside the Gujarati community can join in." Download all your songs in advance and create a playlist.

Don't play songs from YouTube since the ads will break the flow.

Choose from these steps

Doshi suggests doing versions of the do taali, teen taali, taali-chapti and chapti rolls when choreographing sequences for online home parties
Doshi suggests doing versions of the do taali, teen taali, taali-chapti and chapti rolls when choreographing sequences for online home parties

Teen Taali: This popular garba-dandiya step is easy and can be done in many variations. One clap above your head (hands stretched), second at your chest level and third, a little above your knees. This order can also be reversed. Another variation (apt for a virtual session): while you sit, one clap on your right (waist level), second above your head (hands stretched) and third on your left (again waist level).

Do taali: This is done by clapping above your head and below at the thigh level, while stepping in and out with your right leg. While clapping, imagine that you are collecting something with both your hands before clapping above, and for the clap below, you clap and leave behind something, stretching your hands all the way behind.

Taali-chapti: Bend your hands and throw your right hand on top of your head, left hand at your neck level, parallel to each other and snap. Then clap. Next, place your left hand on top and right hand below.

Chapti rolls: Snap your fingers and roll your hands around each other once, in an imaginary circle four times. One in right, two in centre and third on left and move your waist slightly while sitting. When standing, step ahead with your right leg four times while moving in a semicircle and let your waist roll slightly to the right along with your hands.

Pro tip: Choreograph steps that can be performed while seated since your performance space is limited to a small box on screen.

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First Published: 11 October, 2020 08:21 IST

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