Dancing like Sapna

“Talangu Tadigina thom tha thae thae thath… Kitta thaga tham dit thaam- Dit thaam kitta thaga thayi thath thae…

The opening sequence of Allarippu  – a Bharthanatyam dance remains embedded in my memory. It is a beautiful dance symbolizing the offering of respect to both God and the audience.

Being, the tallest in a dance group of 10 -12 girls, I would be shunted to the last row, where my hands and feet wrestled within the confines of the walls. It was small room, barely 8 X 10 feet, with so many of us jostling for space it was an art to be able to avoid hitting each other or the walls. I was apparently in-adept at that.

However, I had my Sapna – dream of becoming an exceptional dancer someday just like the best dancer named – Sapna. She was the privileged one, who performed solos in the 8 X 10 foot room, while the dance master burst into a song. Usually it was a song for the baby lord Krishna. He would sing as Yashoda – Krishna’s mom.  “Krishna nee begaane baaro” – “ Krishna come to me… hastily” I would watch transfixed as Sapna danced with grace, poise and complete perfection with expressions her face changing from a mother’s pleading to love to mock anger to sulking and back to pleading again in matter of seconds.

I dreamt of dancing like her someday, as I waited for my turn to dance with the other beginners – “low-brows.” Sometimes Aruna – my playmate and neighbor would talk about how her mother had beaten her that day, for getting only a 98% in her Math test. Another favorite topic of hers was “The Sharmas”, a couple that frequented her house. “ “You know, they were holding hands… and looking into each other’s eyes” She would whisper softly, and we would look at each other in disbelief. We hadn’t seen our parents or any other Uncle and Aunty, for that matter do anything like that.  Why my parents addressed each other as “Gal suno!” – listen, while her parents said “emmandee” – (What is it) . Couples held hands only in the movies.  These Sharmas were truly Besharmas “Shameless”!

After about a year Aruna was gone, I would while away my time –watching the agarbatti – incense stick (stuck in front of a poster of goddess Saraswati, as a sign of respect) droop to nothingness and wander into my little Sapnaland. One day, Bhavna was writhing on the floor like a snake, with her arms and legs twirling synchronously with her body, as the dance master very enthusiastically sang “ Aadoo pambe” – playful snake. He abruptly stopped singing and hit her left arm with the baton, that he used for counting the dance steps. She was upset and tearful for a few minutes, then continued dancing. It was implicitly understood that the respect for the dance master, meant any form of punishment was acceptable. One wrong step or expression entitled him to give anyone a sound slap, scolding or a pretend slap. No questions asked.

Three years into dance lessons, I was only performing simple dances like Pooja dance and folk dance on stage, while  still learning Allaripu. Almost every other girl had started performing solos, except for me. Whenever the teacher got mad at me he would yell “ Ishaandaar” and threaten to beat me with his baton, while the other girls giggled. I was a misfit –  in the class a Punjabi Sikh in Jayanagar, Bangalore – the hub of classical south Indian culture. My name, did not even have the customary vowel “a” in it… (even though my dance teacher chose to add it), and my limited understanding of kannada – the language everyone spoke, and a limited understanding of the rituals and nuances that were behind certain dance movements and poses  – did not help my situation. At least it seemed like, every other dancer understood everything, while I pretended to understand by imitating the other dancers in front of me. Now when I think back, I was fooling no one, but who wanted to risk humiliation or ridicule by asking a question?So, I hopelessly clung on to a dream of dazzingly everybody by dancing like Sapna someday, because that would make everything OK. Nobody would laugh at me and then the teacher would also pronounce my name properly.

I started biking to  the dance lessons, on the way I had to bike through this chaotic area on the street that practically was a settlement of sorts, people playing carrom board on the pavement, children running around, women squatting on the street and selling vegetables. It was very difficult to bike through, because anything could come at you anytime. One day I was biking back from the dance lesson and a small kid came in my way and wouldn’t move, before I could apply the brakes, the tire had struck his foot and he had fallen down. I got down from my bike to make sure he was ok, by then a whole crowd of assorted people had surrounded me and they were yelling at me. One lady, a tomato seller came forward and slapped me, my cheek felt her rough skin. I had no idea what to do, then  the little boy ran way. The crowd was distracted and taking advantage of that moment, I quietly slipped through the crowds without being noticed. For months, I took a different route to the dance class. But, then…my dance lessons ended abruptly so did my Sapna.

Two years ago at the Butte Folk festival, my sons had the opportunity of watching the Krishna dance. I was thrilled to introduce it, nuances and all to my boys, who were intrigued and fascinated, by a dance that they were watching for the first time! In fact, being a Tabla ( Indian drums) player himself, my older son could relate to the Tabla beat and the varying notes associated with the movements – Kitta thaga Thaam. He has continued his journey of Tabla learning here in Maine, from a local teacher who has lived and learned Tabla in Bangalore. It makes him happy to have that connection – to a place where he started his own Tabla lessons as well at the age of ten – about the same age that I was dreaming of dancing like Sapna….

Published by Ish

I love to cook and write. Growing up in India, I learned how to make rotis and blend spices for different dishes. Now my cooking, here in the Montana is more focused on local, seasonal produce, cooked and flavored in many more ways....I enjoy cooking for my family, friends, gatherings at home and for fundraisers.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Land of Images

Just another WordPress.com site

My Ordinary Moments

The idiosyncracies, the obsessions, the emotions, nostalgia and all things...human

water::earth::wind::and::fire

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Chronic Town

“Mommy, are you going to the doctor again?”

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

THE MEDITERRANEAN MICROWAVE

Original & Adapted Dinner Entrees in the Mediterranean Tradition

homemade naturally

JOIN MY JOURNEY

Crafty Coin

Tips for how to budget and live frugally

Cooking with Ish

Monthly Indian Dinners at the Creperie, Cooking classes, & Recipes from all over

Sweet aroma

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God...2 Corinthians 2:15

K E Garland

Inspirational kwotes, stories and images

Scribbles to Compositions

Encompassing the spectrum of writing

Lovely Reflections

Sharing ideas from four generations of Southern women

I Don't Have The Map

Notes on Getting Lost and Getting Found

REVolving

Tidgy bits along the path

All That Chatter

I was just thinking...

CREAKINGBONES

Random Ravings from an Old Bloke Down Under

BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Inspiring mental health through creative arts and friendly interactions. (Award free blog)

Word Shamble

Exploring fictional worlds in a flash

Quantum Hermit

A Life Unfolding

Seamless Writing

Exploring my writing potential

Cook Up a Story

Inspiration and Recipes for Growing Families

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Food...cooking...eating....tools - What works, and what doesn't!

More Than A Dash Of Salt

Not your normal food blog

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

フレピュアはアマゾンと楽天NG←啓発サイト

The idiosyncracies, the obsessions, the emotions, nostalgia and all things...human

milkandbun

Food with mood. Homemade. Delicious and easy to cook.

Cooking Without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

Tasty Eats

Tasty recipes from chef Ronit Penso's kitchen

Aromas and Flavors from my Kitchen

"Home is where the Hearth is"

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: