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Behroopiya - Part 1

Posted by Saksham Singh on

A story about migrants is what this collection is. I am a migrant myself. I left home when I was 11. Found myself at a boarding school in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand. Came back home for a year again and one more year later, found myself in Delhi. Finished my school in NOIDA and have been here since. I was born in Calcutta. Early years of my life were in a little village far away from the city of joy. 

The memories of my childhood are unique in their own way and they have shaped me into a fine individual today. Individual is the right word I believe. Man, woman, these words create differences where there is none. 

How does it feel when a certain experience triggers a certain memory. For example, Every time I see a stall or a corner selling chicken rolls, I am reminded that the best chicken rolls are found where I come from. 

Life is such a journey my friends, and you all will agree, that we have to move from one place to another. In life we never really settle down. For the collection, the inspiration comes from this thought and the experience that is migration. 

An individual from one place comes to another to study, to work and to make a living. In doing so, they spend many days and years. These years change them. The experiences in these years change them but the nostalgia of their homes remain. This nostalgia is a sweet and beautiful feeling, is like falling in love or feeling a kiss for the first time. 

Behroopiya - I am calling it that because it feels a little dark. A little grunge in there with a little pop would precisely define it. As a kid, I had heard stories of a behroopiya of how they abduct little kids who do not sleep on time, do not study, play too much or cause troubles. Goes without saying, it was urban legend when we were kids. Scared the crap out of us boys. Later in life, I realised that a behroopiya is something else. 

What exactly is a Behroopiya?

Men, women, dressed as Gods, covered in paint or makeup, wearing costumes and playing the part. If you have grown up in India, You know what I am talking about. Back in the day, it was a legit way of life for many people. Entertainers, I would classify them as entertainers. 

So these behroopiyas, they made a living out of entertaining people. They would appear out of nowhere in a crowd and just do their part. It is incredible, the amount of effort they would put in to look the part that they were playing. Mind you, they would not only dress as Gods, they would also dress as police men, doctors, politicians, anything and everything that they could pull off. 

Behroopiya - Boy dressed as a Hindu deity, Lord Shiva