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Dandiya Night

It was a night of color and culture, a night where everyone was able to come together, regardless of differences. Everyone danced to cultural Indian music and was really enjoying themselves. People dressed up elaborate, festive outfits that made the night that much more authentic and memorable.

The best moment of our day was hanging out with one of our new friends, Mina. It was his first session. We understand how this could have been a very overwhelming environment to get acquainted with everyone since so much was going on around us. However, Mina was able to witness an event in which the Pragnya mission was perfectly displayed. Regardless of how crowded it was, it was a mix of neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals- we were fully together.

Looking at the event as a whole, there were many people who were not familiar with Dandiya, a traditional Gujarati folk dance, but they weren’t afraid to participate. The people who know the dance took the time to include the people who didn’t, which shows how friendly the event was. You could join the dance circle without fear of judgment or fear of not fitting in. Everyone had a different style of dancing and everyone danced to their own beat. Even if it wasn’t exactly the beat of the music, it didn’t matter, because it was an event where everyone was being embraced for their abilities. You could have been goofy, crazy, jumpy, spinny, it didn’t matter. The event was about the celebration of culture, but behind the scenes, it was also a celebration of acculturation.

It was an event where the gap between two secluded communities, separated by stigma, was bridged. It was bridged by music and dance, universal languages. We held Mina’s hands and spun in circles to the rhythmic music, embracing him despite not knowing him and not having spoken to him before. He did the same to us. Evidently, the atmosphere brought us together, and that was something beautiful.

Written by:

Megana Arunarthi

Preethi Edara

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