The Glass Bangle

Being a Woman

I Salute Thee, Oh Bollywood Dancer !

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.

The second class saw us back in the dance studio with a lot of enthusiasm and I remember we even had a good laugh over our aches and pains. D welcomed us back and efficiently moved on to the routine we had to practise. Now I must come to the villain of this story which is a huge mirror which completely covered one wall. I am led to believe that any self-respecting dance studio has to have one. Anyway, the mirror in our class is a particularly unflattering one and I have come to hate it with a passion. I’m convinced that mirrors are the creation of the devil to show us our non-existent faults and certain non-existent bumps and curves in our body !In the first class I was too busy trying to keep up with the music and D,  that I didn’t notice the damaging effects of the mirror. During the second class I was confident that I was shaking my hips and doing the moves and generally showing a lot of improvement. As the class progressed, in the gap between my friends who were standing in front of me, I caught a glimpse of a round figure wobbling on her feet and swaying gently with minimal movement of the body. I sympathised with her for a second, and thought how hard it must be for the poor thing to manage all these moves. I resolved to help her out once I completed my dazzling jhatkas and matkas (that’s Bollywood lingo for moves and grooves). Suddenly I almost keeled over in shock when I realised that the swaying blimp was none other than me ! Where were my hips ? In my mind they were moving in an east to north-west direction ? In the mirror I was still swaying, solidly staying on an east-west path and that too only by the barest minimum movement. I tried moving my torso in different combinations of directions, but other than my eye balls which were rolling around alarmingly the body swayed gently, like a content coconut tree. That was the beginning of my efforts to hide from the dastardly mirror. I might be slightly chubby and slow but the mirror made me look big and ungainly which just was not acceptable. Now I have a feeling that I’m concentrating more on playing hide and seek with the blasted mirror than in learning the moves.
We have completed two months and D has touched new levels of patience. He has also learned that keeping things simple is good for his health and sanity. It would be unfair to say that we haven’t improved. I have certainly picked up the rudimentaries of Bollywood dancing. Some of the group have become really good dancers while some of us are still trying. Our stamina has increased. Now we no longer feel as if we are dying after each class. We just cannot move our limbs. We have learnt that  propping ourselves up on walls will make the feeling go away after a considerable amount of time. Mr.A has got used to seeing me practise my moves in the most unlikeliest of places; while making coffee, in the middle of reading a book, while watching tv and once even in the middle of reading the newspaper. I have a new-found respect for Bollywood dances and dancers and I do not let anybody make fun of Bollywood dancing in my presence.
Dear Bollywood dancer, I salute you ! You really are a force to reckon with 🙂

7 comments on “I Salute Thee, Oh Bollywood Dancer !

  1. dreamzandclouds
    April 22, 2015

    hahaha…..its glad to hear that things are getting better after that 1st day 🙂 BTW I think you should stay away from that mirror to be able to do wonders in Bollywood dancing 😉 😛


  2. Susanna J. Sturgis
    April 17, 2015

    I’m not a dancer of any kind, but this reminds me of several things I’ve tried that turned out to be harder than they looked and also a lot more rewarding than I expected. D sounds like a wonderful teacher, and I love what you wrote about the mirror. Tools of the devil indeed!


    • The Glass Bangle
      April 17, 2015

      My dear Susanna, I’ve never been so over confident in my life and the resultant crash to reality was quite painful, literally ! But I’m really enjoying the fun and laughter that we have in class and the dance is of course interesting. D has displayed super human levels of patience. It must have been a shock to the poor guy to witness our ultimate incompetence but never has he been annoyed or irritated. He always has a smile of encouragement 🙂


  3. Nish
    April 16, 2015

    haha, I know Bollywood dancing is really quite tough. I volunteered for a few dance shows at office, and realized just how much hard work it takes 🙂


    • The Glass Bangle
      April 16, 2015

      Nish, it really was a shock to my entire system ! The head is supposed to go one way, the hip in another direction while the hands have to trace out intricate patterns in air. Phew ! It’s tough, but I’m liking it 🙂


      • Nish
        April 17, 2015

        have fun 🙂 , it’s a great workout too!

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on April 16, 2015 by in Artists, Bollywood, Colours, Dance, Friends, Humour, life, women, World and tagged , , , , , .
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