Being a Woman
I had a healthy disdain for the dances seen in Bollywood movies and I must admit that there has been a certain amount of snootiness in the equation. What were these ladies doing jumping around like this, doing seemingly bizarre moves ? Living in the world of Classical Dance, I just couldn’t stomach the antics of the dancers. I always took care to steer clear of such dances. Now I realise that there’s a God up there who decided to point my upturned nose in a downward direction. Due to certain health issues, I had to stop my Classical dance classes and since I love dance it was quite heart wrenching. So when I got the opportunity to join a Bollywood dance class along with friends, I jumped at the chance. Not for a moment did I give a thought to whether I could do it well. After all I’d learned Classical, and in my enlightened mind that was the ultimate dance form. If I could do Classical, I could do anything !
So there I was in my very first Bollywood dance class, raring to go and show them my moves. We were a small group of friends who wanted to do some physical activity which was not boring and tedious. The instructor was a bespectacled, quiet young guy who welcomed us with a smile and made us feel quite comfortable. The music was switched on, the heavy beat of a song filled the air and the instructor gave a short demo of what he was gonna teach us. The guy moved beautifully and the whole thing looked ridiculously easy. Our instructor who I shall call D, stopped the music to show us the steps. It took quite some time for me to learn the very different movements. Again the music was switched on and we started moving. That was when I had the first inkling that all was not as it seemed. The song had a life of its own and the damn thing was not waiting for me to complete my moves ! For a couple of minutes I was only throwing my hands and feet around, since the minute I started a step the song would have proceeded, calling for the next step. By the time D stopped the song I was in a total huff. My hair was sticking out at odd angles and I felt like I would have a heart attack. D was as cool as a cucumber and not even breathing heavily. I looked around and felt a teeny amount of satisfaction when I saw the rest of my friends looking as shell-shocked as I felt. The absolute shocker was that we had only done a couple of steps; I thought we had completed one whole routine judging by my breathlessness and the time that seemed to have elapsed.
D assessed the situation and decided to ‘make it simpler’ for us, and I must tell you that as of the moment I’m writing this, the poor guy has perfected the art of breaking a step into the tiniest bit possible. He took a lot of time to teach us the first few steps and hats off to his immense patience in the face of this kind of adversity ! To give you a tiny example; while demonstrating a step, D would extend his right hand and most of us would promptly extend our left hand and wait expectantly, not even realising that we’d got it wrong. After some time when he felt that we could hold our own, the music was switched on and he started. Again there was a flurry of hands and legs going in all directions as we struggled to remember the sequence and keep up with the song. I had decided that this time I would keep my cool and do it perfectly. Alas, my body and mind went on two different paths; the agile mind sped on keeping time with the song, while the poor weary body lumbered along trying to keep flailing hands and feet from hitting anybody and trying to retain some semblance of dance in the movements. Any observer would surely have died of laughter to see a bunch of ladies throwing themselves around with looks of intense concentration along with a good amount of desperation on their faces.
The end of the first class had me thinking that I would die of exhaustion. I had to literally crawl back from class since I found it impossible to lift my feet and I discovered long abandoned muscles under all the fat ! My muscles went on strike and I found that the only body parts I could move without pain were my eyes and my fingers. For the next two days my family were subjected to howls of agony each time I moved. But you know how it is when we start something new. There’s a certain amount of unbridled enthusiasm which blinds us to many other factors. My physical discomfort made me forget one important thing, that I was not able to learn the steps as easily as I had thought initially.