Thursday, March 10, 2016

Letter to Tomorrow ~ If all else fails, dance

Dear Tomorrow,

One day, I'll play that song for you. I heard it on the radio most recently in the car we had hired while driving through Kandy on a warm Sri Lankan night. Like most songs, it took me to a point in the fabric of my past that I had forgetten until that incidental aural reminder.

I have a memory of dancing in our Lavelle Road house. We had one of those chunky, clunky cassette players. I can see Didi dancing to Dire Straits' Walk of Life and myself being silly wishing I could be more like her.

I can see my aunt's waist-long hair gently gliding over her swaying body - hands up high, eyes half-closed, a cigarette limply kissing her lips. It's Laura Branigan this time warning us that in the day nothing matters.

Air Force parties had many opportunities to practice the trendiest moves and I availed of each of them! The 90's had tons of terrible music to move to - thanks to Boney M and Scatman.

On trips to see cousins, Aditya, Revati, Didi, and I would choreograph some pretty entertaining dance sequences and "create" music on a synthesizer. We would also write and perform plays for Daddy and Nani. There are few moments when I have laughed that loudly or had so much fun creating something with and for people I love.

I was in 7th standard when my friends and I choreographed a dance and performed it in front of everyone. 5, 6, 7, 8 - we danced our hearts out.

By high school, I began spending hours in my bedroom, avoiding homework, just dancing. When I wasn't moving my body, I would dance whole sequences in my head. I took Kathak in school but all I remember was being informed that I was flat-footed and the acrid smell of paan from my teacher's stained mouth. I stopped liking Kathak after the first class. But I still danced.

I danced to Eminem shouting that he was indeed The Real Slim Shady, and to Chrono Cross' Another Inspiration. I spent hours solo-moshing and head-banging to loud metal and faux-balleting to Lunar Blue Lament's OC Remix.

In college, I decided to try out for the dance society. I walked into our common room and there were about 50 other women doing a monkey-see-monkey-do type of ritual to one step. It was easy enough by the looks of it. I tried it. It turned out to be much harder! Under-confidence and self-consciousness brew a brutal cocktail. I have never auditioned for anything since that day.

I tried my hand at hip-hop, salsa, and line dancing classes. I loved each of them. As a teacher, I loved having "dance parties" in our classroom with my kids as a body and mind break! You see such different sides of a shy, quiet, withdrawn child when you put on Call Me Maybe!

Choreographing and dancing for our wedding and for Didi and Vansh's will always hold special memories for me! I didn't know you could dance your way out of jet lag until Brian and Sarah grooved with masked exhaustion to Mauja hi Mauja or be sporty enough to dance at the last minute like Uttara and Revati!

When Dan and I began to share our living space, he and I would often have dance parties. It's still one of our favorite things to do together. Though he doesn't think he can dance. And I just plain disagree with him.

Today, I zumba-ed. I started going to zumba classes about 6 months ago after finding my love for the aerobic dance-based exercise through some videos online. The combination of moving, sweating like a water bottle with a leak, and good music is so exhilarating to me. Yet I'm not entirely comfortable with dancing with so many people around me.

Dancing was, is, my escape, my challenger, my friend. In India, I had friends for a sleepover, and while they talked for hours, I got up and danced for hours. By myself. 

I want to feel like that again. The feeling I get when the music turns on and my whole body gets 5'3'' tall blinders and I can create a magic balloon of non-judgment around me and cozy up into it.

Doesn't matter though - I love to dance. I wish you find something you love to do and find ways to do it with your whole body, mind, and heart. I wish it'll keep you company in uncertain times. I wish it'll guide you to clarity and push you to take risks. And if nothing else, if all else fails, you could always, you know...



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