Small towns, big hearts

Sep 28, 2012, 09:01 IST | Urmimala Banerjee

"I am finally getting to spend time at my new home," says choreographer Terence Lewis, who had been travelling across India and abroad in the past six months. "What I loved about small town India was the simplicity of the people.

The people there, children and adults alike have a sense of innocence and openness about them, which is missing in Mumbai,” says Terence, who visited small cities across North, North East and eastern India. Gearing up for a stint with a kid’s talent show, he talks to CS about his experiences in small town India:

Terence Lewis
Who: Terence Lewis 
What: Talking about his small town sojourns
Where: At his Bandra home
PIC/ Santosh Nagwekar

Aisa des hai mera
I went to Sonipat, Panipat, Jabalpur, Udaipur, Jaipur, Jamshedpur and lots of other purs (laughs). I had heard about the impact of reality shows on small town India, and I now saw it with my own eyes. The people there treated me like a star. I was completely mesmerised by the beauty of Assam and Tripura, which I visited during the rains. I was staying in Guwahati, Assam, and it’s a congested city. I used to hear all the honking in the street below but when I looked out of my window, all I could see was the lush green hills. I was in Odisha, where I learnt the Mayurbhaj Chhaau. It is a lovely dance that combines the grace of Odissi and power of martial arts. I also visited this centre outside Bhubaneshwar where young boys learnt the ancient dance form Gotipua. They were amazing.

Small town living
The people there have very simple needs. I was in Sonipat, which had these huge parks. Every morning people used to come out for walks in the parks. And everyone knew each other. I loved that sense of community living. There is a huge amount of talent in our small cities. And most of them learn things from the Internet. There was this guy who presented a wonderful contemporary piece and I asked him about his teacher. He told me that he learnt it watching my videos online.

Stage act
I was in Agra for a show. The organisers had told me that it was a small event but I went there and saw around 8,500 people. Later, as they moved closer to the stage, it literally started shaking. Thankfully, there was a cop who came and escorted me to my vehicle. He was shooing away the mob as he walked beside me. Then, suddenly he grabbed a woman’s hand and brought her in front of me saying, “This is my wife, please say hi to her.” I was quite embarrassed as there were other women shouting at her to get aside. And the cop kept telling me, “Please talk to her or else she will beat me up at home.” It was hilarious.  

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