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Midd Masti’s ‘Baat-Cheet’ a Success

Students dance and smile as they perform in Midd Masti’s show in Wilson Hall.

Students dance and smile as they perform in Midd Masti’s show in Wilson Hall.

Students dance and smile as they perform in Midd Masti’s show in Wilson Hall.

By Bilal Khan, Senior Writer

Let me paint you a picture. The canvas is blank. The colors are pink, purple, yellow and black. The artist is in a particularly gay mood and has about an hour to paint butterflies, roses and all things good and happy.

It is the Midd Masti show, guys.

Last Saturday on April 22, Wilson Hall was caught up in a Bollywood song and dance bonanza as the hosts looked out to a packed audience and invited on the glittering stage the first performers of the night: Ayesha Ashgar ’19, Hamza Kiyani’19 and their Bhangra dance crew.   

Dressed in black harem pants, tank tops and donning yellow “dupattas,” the dancers stepped onto the stage and flashed everyone the biggest smiles they could muster. They had hops, they had twirls and lots and lots of “thumkas.” They even had a (bearded) grandmother who seemed to be scolding them, before she joined in the dance and gave us a few “thumkas” herself.

This year’s show was titled “Baat-Cheet” (chit-chat) and a dialogue between the hosts preceded each performance. Each dialogue was based around the theme of identity and aspired to capture the spirit of the dance that followed. Many stories – most of which were happy, a few of which were sad – were shared by students who call both Vermont and the eclectic mix of colors that is the world of South Asia, home. 

Over the last few years, Midd Masti has maintained a tradition of inviting guest performers for its annual showcase. This year saw INGOMA – Midd’s only African a capella group – took the stage. They sang two spiritual songs from Kenya and South Africa: “Kuliko Jana” (Swahili) and “Ndikhokele” (Xhosa). They were followed by the University of Vermont’s Bollywood dance group, JAZBA, who performed a fusion of pop, traditional Punjabi and Bollywood music. With a six-song medley and a substantial storyline, JAZBA’s performance was really a mini Bollywood musical, complete with love at first sight, a (not too) devastating heartbreak and eventual (ecstatic) union.

Varsha Vijayakumar ’20 wowed everyone with a vocal performance of classical Carnatic music, which the New Jersey first-year has been practicing since she was five years old. Her hymn to Lord Shiva, the Transformer and Destroyer, was both tremendously skillful and incredibly emotional.

Akhila Khanna ’17, who is bidding us all goodbye next month after four years of organizing the brilliant annual Midd Masti shows, choreographed on the magical rhythms of the iconic “Humma Song” for the senior piece. As she prepares to leave our College, she wants to leave her Midd Masti pals with a very special message.

“Keep spreading the energy joy and happiness that is so pure and inherent in your dance,” she said. “Always keep the Proc basement doors open for everyone and anyone and I am certain you will change lives like you have changed mine. Thank you for keeping me going, reminding me of home when Middlebury was not. I will miss you from the bottom of my heart.”

We will miss you too, Akhila. The “thumkas” won’t be the same without you.

The show ended with the performers taking their bows and heading over to Crossroads for the after-party, with more desi songs and many more “thumkas” in store.

1 Comment

One Response to “Midd Masti’s ‘Baat-Cheet’ a Success”

  1. George Finch 59 on April 28th, 2017 1:25 am

    Wow !! I have not seen so much publicity about Middlebury since I graduated. The takeover by ul
    ra Liberals is disappointing and threatens our gift of free speech. Becoming a Sanctuary campus is a threat to our government and my feeling is that immigration is a legal way tof citizenship, and if you don’t want to go through the precession, then go home. America: Either love it or leave it ! I am a proud and patriotic American, and feel sad that my college has degenerated to today’s depths. When I was a student and among many Korean War vets, we wouldn’t have put up with this crap. Many from my class honorably served as ROTC commissioned officers maintaining our freedom which we still enjoy. It is time that the “snowflakes” get a life and grow up. It is too bad that kids today don’t know what it feels like to sweat, and need therapy dogs to comfort them during exams. Give me a break. ! Gone are the days when kids grew up with asphalt under the monkey bars rather than sponge rubber to avoid getting scraped. Yup, we even drank water from the garden hose. And, for some reason we are still alive. I had better end this venting, before I throw up.