A New Year
under a canopy tent, thousands step and twirl and skip in sync, silks flailing, skirts swishing, jeans scraping. Bare, pedicured, bejeweled feet alongside Nikes and Timberlands hit the carpet for just a moment before the next step takes over, picking up speed with each beat of the drums and the melodious sounds and high pitches of home. Here, in suburban New Jersey, the 7-Eleven cashier and Amoco gas station attendant become dancing kings with whom bankers and computer programmers struggle to keep pace.
It is the night of October 7,2000, one of the nights of Navratri, a Hindu festival commemorating good's conquest of evil. The tent's canvas walls encompass a heated area three times the size of a football field but can't keep the crowds within from shivering or blowing clouds as they breathe and speak. The teenagers with their North Face puffy jackets keep them on as they dance, brown faces eventually dripping with sweat, arms pumping out of the thick material of their outerwear. To stay