There was one little piece of information I had deliberately skipped from all the postcards I had sent last week. It was about an invitation I had received for Thursday. Had it not been for this evening, I would have probably gone sight-seeing in Moscow.
But, on Thursday, I went to the Indian embassy in Moscow, which had reached out to the Indian journalists in Moscow and those covering the FIFA World Cup. G Balasubramanian, Deputy Chief of Mission, made a small speech about the Indo-Russia relationship touching the points that a layperson is mostly unaware of. A tiny piece of information that came our way was that one of the states in the country is as big as India; or it takes nine hours to fly from Westernmost city to Easternmost city, as the distance between the two is 10,000 km.
The speech was followed by a small programme by the students of Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre (JNCCC), who performed four dances — two in Kathak style, one Lavani and another a Rajasthani Ghumar.
What was more impressive was that every dancer knew what they were doing, they knew the meaning of every expression that was used, hence they won the hearts of the audience and earned encore to which the girls obliged happily.
I was, of course, most impressed with the Lavani, as they performed on Apsara Aali... Believe me, their gyrations were graceful, and their understanding of the subject, second to none. Dharmendra Gautam, who is heading the JNCC for past two years, was visibly happy with his students, and a huge credit to his efforts as his method of explaining everything with meaning (subtext) has clearly paid rich dividends.
The campus of the embassy is one of the best property the Government of India has abroad, informed one of the officials. The campus also houses a building from where Bonaparte Napoleon watched the Kremlin burn after the Russians failed to honour the treaty. A sumptuous Indian dinner was served later. It was the first time I ate Indian food on the tour.
As we headed home, a picture in front of the embassy was waiting to be taken. After all, you don’t get summoned by the government every day.
(The writer shares his travel and tour experiences, and also catches the fun and revelry during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.)