The Turf. October 2nd, 2019. Socio-cultural fusion is taken to a higher plane at the Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) on a daily basis, an experience that explodes in a riot of merriment in Dhamaal. The annual festival is ostensibly the BESC way of flagging off the nine-day euphoria which in the eastern parts of India is celebrated as Durga Puja, while in the western parts, is practised as a veneration of MaaAmbe. While DhunuchiNaach is a celebrated part of the rituals in the east, the Garba is synonymous with the festival in the west. At the BESC, the manifestations of the Mother Goddess become one as does the Dhunuchi and the Dandiya-Garba to take the form of a joyous celebration of life. The underlying seriousness of the gay abandon with which the students dance their hearts out can be gauged from the fact that every year, a number of workshops are held before the actual event where the students are coached to perfection so that the finer nuances of garba are not only picked up by one and all, but also to ensure that the performance reaches the high water mark that BESC sets for itself. Says Prof Dilip Shah, the Dean of Student Affairs of BESC “Dhamaal is, like everything else about the BESC above all divisive forces of caste, creed, colour or religion with students across the board participating. The dance is invigorating, but the underlying message of unity in diversity is what makes us walk the extra mile to ensure that no willing student feels excluded, and it is the universal participation that makes Dhamaal so inclusive, even by the fabled Durga Puja standards”. Prof Shah has a point as Dhamaal gets the Kolkata campus scene abuzz, with everybody wanting to partake of the nectar of eternal youthfulness, which is the other name for the event. Security has to be beefed up to restrict the crowd that gathers and while the dance floors are packed dense, bigger crowds are witnessed outside the venue, eager in their anticipation of gaining entry. This year was no exception with as many as 800 students dressed in the classical traditional wear – a pulsating body of lengha-choli and turbans did the ritual numbers to pay tribute to the universal Mother Goddess. The moves depieced the choreographed precision brought about by the vigorous workshops and exhaustive exercises. The music, naturally beatsy and the atmosphere eclectic. The ceremonial beginning of the ritual dance was inaugurated by Champak bhai Doshi, the patriarch of the BESC family, who was accompanied by other members of the Governing Council and senior members of the faculty. As the evening progressed, the beats became faster and the dance moves more and more frenzied. Soon enough, the moves were a blur with the performers dancing possessed, the viewers witnessing fusion of another kind, their jaws agape. As a matter of fact, such is the intensity of the performance, just to ensure that the performers do not push themselves across the levels of exhaustion, the DJ is forced to show down the tempo of the music, moving on to more popular but mundane music so that the high-flying performers can be snapped out of their reverie and brought down to solid terra firma. The students had a blast and the members of the faculty and management used the event to renew old bonds and strengthen their social connections. The music was euphonious, the performances stellar and the participation typically Bhawanipur. Dhamaal may have created a stir whose reverberations can be felt in campuses across the city, but at the BESC it was just another evening. Dhamaal is also, incidentally, start of the preparations for Umang, the Mother of all college fests. (This report has been filed by Divya Shah with camera person Shouvik das of the Expressions Collective of the BESC).