While the acrobats were getting into position, the young girl was introduced as an exponent of Ghoomar, a traditional Rajasthani dance. Her claim to fame according to the show host? She is capable of taking 2,000 revolutions while dancing when normal people would tire after just a few. And off she went…1, 2, 3…by 25 she was looking like she would fall under the harsh sunlight. But the host kept counting, and she went on and on. 100, 200, 300… with every milestone of a 100, the host would invite the audience to applaud. Of course, the dance had long ceased and transformed itself into a marathon session of a girl going round and round; only the background music was suggesting it was performing art in progress. And it was taking forever, with the girl going all over the place. Thankfully, she was asked to stop at 700. Phew! Commendable achievement even if it does little for culture.
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Attention then shifted to two men perched atop 20 foot high poles. What was their agenda? To spin themselves in a horizontal position by resting their bellies on the top of the poles. Ow! Surely that cannot be done on a full stomach. Then you had a nine year old girl walking on a horizontally tied rope six feet off the ground – first with a bamboo pole, followed by balancing pots too on her head and then walking on a bicycle wheel rim with its grooves moving along the rope. And in all of these exercises she would pause to swing like a pendulum. Wow!
And then you had two men with wrestler builds and handsome moustaches trying to emulate the girl on their respective rope bridges. While one was brandishing swords in both hands, the other had a bamboo pole. Nothing as spectacular as what the girl was doing – unless you consider how these not-so-petite chaps were managing the balance. And then came the surprise: they started bouncing up and down. On the ropes. Landing on the you-know-what between their legs each time. With the full weight of their bodies. Not once, or twice but many times over. Ow! Didn’t it hurt? One of the two men had his hands cupping you-know-what when he was safely back on the ground, braving a big smile and commenting, “Nasbandi ho gayi.” (Looks like I have been sterlised). You cannot pay me at least to try this stunt.
On a side note, he mentioned they are not street performers but only put on these displays at festivals like the one at Pushkar or when invited by the rich and the erstwhile royalty to perform at their forts and havelis.