JUST as we were wondering how much longer our Astad Deboo was going to stay away from Mumbai, we hear he will be back next week. And in the two months since he has been traveling abroad, India’s best contemporary dancer, the man with wheels on his heels, has been packing enough activity into his days to make a 20-year-old exhausted.
Here’s a memory refresher for all his fans.
After dancing in Seattle to great approbation, he went to Vancouver, to the Asian Contemporary Art Gallery who are interested in commissioning a work from him.
Almost as good was meeting a Japanese curator who told him the Japanese press referred to him as India’s ‘living treasure’. Which was an appropriate appellation and now the living treasure will very likely be presenting his Tagore work in the US next near.
Washinton also meant meeting up with friends from Galaudet University, an institution for the deaf which is doing truly great work and with whom Astad has collaborated in the past. The staff had organized a great party for him as well and this gave him a chance to meet other Indian dancers, composers, friends and journalists, before he took off for New York. Where he attended the gala dinner given by India Abroad for Indian-Americans who have made a mark in the US.
Considering how many that is, it must have been a very crowded affair, but Astad was seated with Salman Rushdie, Madhur Jaffrey, and the Parsi head of Cooper Hewitt, so we doubt if he had much to complain about!
He left the US a week ago for Brussels, where a layover of a few hours saw him catching up with friends, returning to the airport to meet a pianist over lunch, and then it was on to Athens via Geneva. That is where he is now, after flying ‘door to door’ for 27 hours.
“At this moment, I am waiting for the guests to arrive at a dinner thrown for me by my hostess and it promises to be a long and interesting night’’, he wrote.
This Thursday, he will be on the Island of Hydra, a two-hour hydrofoil ride from Athens. And there is a possibility that he will also dance in Spetses, another one of the Argo-Saronic Greek Islands in the Aegean. What with running up and down and one more trip to Brussels and The Hague and finally back to ‘Aamchi Mumbai’ next week. Yes, he has missed home, he says.