Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sundays and Lipstick.


I suddenly missed dancing today.Not the moronic club dancing that I occasionally indulge in, but the classical dance that I trained for, for years. Dance was a part of my Sundays.Unlike a lot of children in my generation, I never got to watch Mahabharat on TV, because I remember its timings clashing with my classes. More than the nostalgia, there was this sense of deep seated guilt of having wronged my Guru and also a sense of waste. Not a waste of talent (I was never a great dancer) but a waste of knowledge. Imagine having learnt something for around a decade and then not remembering almost all of what you've learnt. I remembered a taal in the middle of class the other day but could not, for the life of me, break it up into its constituent taalis and khaalis.
I dont remember when or why I stopped dancing, but I like telling myself that it was around 11th standard, when I had too many tuition classes to attend.
I had a bright yellow costume with a black border, and the blouse had tiny fishes woven into its border and my ghungroos got pretty heavy by the time I stopped (as a ritual,the number of bells in the ghungroo increase with every year of your training)
I miss the unified ringing of the ghungroos and the dirt that stuck to the sole of my feet after the lessons got over. There was also a typical way in which the dupatta was tied-one end covering the chest and the other wound tightly around the waist.
Maybe someday I'll get back to dancing, which was my primary hobby. (I began dancing at the age of four, writing in middle school and started taking photographs only in high school) Till then, I'll just look back and smile at memories of wearing alta on my feet and fingertips, of wearing a fake bun for the head-dress we wore, and of licking off the lipstick the make-up men put on us before shows.

P.S: the photograph was taken during the Mylapore Festival in Chennai.Mylapore is a lot like North Calcutta- the old and orthodox settlement with beautiful houses and dingy lanes.the dance form here is Bharatnatyam, but I trained in Odissi.

16 comments:

Karthik Purushothaman said...

Dingy lanes. Houses stacked side by side than one on top of the other, I've never been fascinated by another city (other than my own) as I had been by Calcutta. Three times, and I liked nothing better than the egg noodles I got in the streets for nine rupees (raised to twelve the third time I was there).

I've never fancied dance. Classical, especially. But then again, I guess I'm just a guy. :)

Revived Angel... said...

You reminded me of the classical music training i had right from five to fifteen, in fact a little more than that. And the way the voice turned raw henceforth, with dust gathering faster and thicker on it than on the harmonium and tanpura.Somehow people still find it very much in tune, but i hate to hear it in its hideous form that presently exists.

Magically Bored said...

I've always been fascinated with classical dance, you know, even though I know absolutely nothing about it. I learnt Bharatnatyam for a bit when I was in class IV, then had to give it up because the classes clashed with school timings - or something like that.
Anyway, I was never much good at it. Didn't stop the wishful thinking, though. Indian classical dance is simply too beautiful for words.

Astraeus said...

thats how it is B, we learn something and nurture it fr years only to let go later..

dont worry, it will come back, when you really want it back

Neel said...

I always believe that you should not let go of a few things you miss.
I'm sure you haven't forgotten dancing at all. It's inside you...thats the only reason you wrote such a piece...its all there..inside. So let it out and let it in...!

Dewdrop said...

I always thought Kolkata was the only place in India you cud describe as having stacked-up houses... till I came to chennai... this place too has an old-world charm... some lanes still seem stuck in time...

brainwrenched said...

one of those posts that takes me right back to my Hindustani Classical days. And the term moronic club dancing is funny, what we do to fit in. try death metal from khamaj

sujaan said...

do start dancing :)

jokerman! said...

that's a hell of an ugly dress you describe there, next time be cautious. (or at least, get rid of the fishes)

Thoughtless Wanderer said...

yes.i remember them sunday morning dance classes.. :)

The Ketchup Girl said...

...and i still hold my parents responsible for not sending me for dance classes. you trained in odissi? man, i'm just short of worshipping the ground odissi dancers walk on. the most graceful dance form. and i hail from orissa too. u must get back u know. :) love your blog.

Casuarina said...

Why not try, dear girl ? I'm sure it's there somewhere deep within you, just waiting for you to really want it to surface sometime...

Phoenix speaks.... said...

Hey! I know that feeling too well so just had to comment.Don't give up.I danced last week after years.. felt like coming home.. trust me..it'll take you back in time.
Read your post about leaving college too.A whole new world lies ahead.Hope you try for JNU.

inihos said...

It's been a little over a year that I have stopped dancing. I did Bharatnatyam. I feel quite wretched at times. Especially when I see someone dance well or hear a good dance-able piece of music.

Brenny said...

There is something in the way you move, and now I know what it is.

My little girl is dancing bharatanatyam now. Every week she tells me she wants to quit. I bribe her. She goes and then doesn't want to leave. She has told multiple people that she dances because Dad wants her to.
Once in a while tho, she'll be preening in front of the full length mirror and I will see footwork or a hasta.

Our thought was to give her a framework with which to approach her heritage. I doubt she'll dance forever, but if it gives her a way to appreciate the epics or interpret Krishna stealing butter, then it is mission accomplished.

How is it that you are such a damn good writer and I am discovering your blog only now?

little boxes said...

thanks branavan.now that you know,keep dropping by :)