Flash Mob – What’s that?

The time – 5 PM on a lazy Sunday afternoon; Place – Mumbai’s famous Railway station, Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus or CST

The railway terminus is not crowded at all being a Sunday afternoon. Few commuters are rushing around as usual. Few coolies and hand cart pushers are relaxing since there is not much work to do. Suddenly loud music starts playing to the tune of a popular song from a Bollywood flick, “Rang De badanti”.

A young girl, wearing white Tee and jeans suddenly starts dancing to the tune. Within seconds she is joined by another girl attired in similar fashion. In next few seconds they are joined my couple of young males. The this crowd on the station starts collecting around the dancers. Within next minutes, more and more dancers join. By now there is milling crowd around. Everyone starts enjoying the music and the dance. Number of dancers steadily increases to about 200. There is question mark on the face of each and every spectator ” What the hell is going on?

But, as the dance catches every one by surprise, it also stops suddenly. The popular music also can be heard no more. The dancers mingle with the crowds and disappear. Only thing that remains, are the questions in the minds of the spectators. Who were these guys? Why did they dance here on the station?Where did they disappear suddenly?

Dance videos appear on U-Tube, face book and twitter exchange the videos in thousands and a new social experiment is born in India. Even though the entire dance sequence looked to be spontaneous, in reality it is a well planned, choreographed and rehearsed performance. This is Flash Mob for you.

Flash Mob or a dance by a fairly large sized group, which appears to be spontaneous and ends very quickly to create maximum impact on onlookers, may be new to India, but was first performed abroad in 2003. For the performers it is an unforgettable experience. These performers, dancing before a stunned crowd, derive a special joy from the act. This act brings the group together and the collective energy can be channeled for a noble social cause.

In what way a Flash mob could be useful for any social cause, except for the collective joy for the performers? This is a question that straight way comes to my mind. According to the organizers of this event, this performance happens so suddenly that it invariably catches the attention of almost everyone present on the scene. This could be a simple trick to snatch attention of the people to local as well as social causes such as public transport problems, male-female equality or old superstitions. Compared to a street drama, Flash Mob is far more effective.

This Mumbai Flash Mob was orgnized by Shonan Kothari and considering its huge popularity on the internet, it appears likely that it may be repeated in other places. There are rumours that a Flsh Mob would be held in Delhi next. But, since the most attractive aspect of this event is its suddenness , if people knew where it would be held, most of its effectiveness would disappear.

4 December 2011


About chandrashekhara

I am a retired electronics engineer. I am interested in writing, reading books. Other hobbies include Paper models, wooden fret work and social networking.


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