For those who are visiting Chennai and
always asking the one big question – so what else is there to do or see around here?
I have quite a few things on my “list of places to see and things to do’”. One of
them is to visit Dakshin Chitra. I have been here numerous times, with family
and friends, for family functions [yes an uncle had his 60th
Birthday celebrations here] and other times for a photo shoot a friend was
doing. The most recent of them was on 12th Jan with a bunch of
friends. There were a few in this gang who were here the 1st time,
so we spent a leisurely 2 hours strolling around, checking out the various
houses, the activities and few even did some shopping at the store in the
reception area.
As we were completing our tour of the
place, we noticed the area near the entrance all set and ready with chairs.
There was going be a Kerala dance performance called Oppana. This is a dance specific
to the Muslim community of Kerala. A bridal group dance, it is typically
performed the day before the wedding day.  The bride dressed in all finery and covered
with the finest jewellery sits in the center while all her friends and family
dance around her in a circle.  Here we
noticed one girl decked up more than the others, and she sat in a chair in the center
while the others danced around her. There were 2 women singing on the side. It
was quite a beautiful dance. Oh and the best part about this dance is that it is often made up of words used to tease
the bride and the theme is around innuendoes about the bride’s anticipated
nuptial bliss. The songs are composed in a mix of Arabic & Malayalam.

Apparently, there have been times when this dance was performed by men for the
bridegroom, just before he leaves to bring his bride over.  
We watched this dance for a few minutes and then bid adieu to the beautiful place, making our way towards Mahabalipuram.