Saturday, 24 September 2016


With the class over, Ridha couldn’t decide why she was happy. Was it because she learnt something new, or because this ordeal was over? But when did dancing become a task. She shoved away all the thoughts, hoping to tackle them with fresh energy.

She picked up her cloth bag, put her ghunghroo in it, and was ready to leave. She wiped her forehead with the corner of her dupatta but ended up smudging her black bindi. It now formed a tick mark across her forehead.

‘Hey! You are very graceful when you dance. I could help you with some of the steps in the next class.’ A young guy with an athletic build and curly hair springing out in all directions, said to her. 

He wore a light kurta that was drenched in sweat, and half a dozen discolored threads on his wrist.
He was probably the first person who had spoken to Ridha on a warm note. She thanked him profusely, and decided to come early for the next class.

‘Aren’t you leaving?’ She asked.

No, I stay back after everyone leaves to do some riyaaz.

May I just sit and watch?

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Ridha’s first class with the young celebrity dancer had begun on an extremely adventurous note. She silently prayed to god for the next one hour to pass off without an episode.
Shielded behind rows of students, she could finally let go of the anxiety, and focus on the music. She was copying the steps that the other students knew by heart. With each passing move she felt at peace with the world, in love with the rhythm, and rested in her mind. It was the only refuge that she had known as a child.
Moving to the music, Ridha wasn’t aware that her eyes were shut, and she had been doing steps that were totally different from the rest of the class.
“Is Guruji’s choreography not good enough for you?” , “Or it is too tough?”, “You thought this would be easy?”
“No.. I don’t even..”

“Let it be, all of you. She can do what she likes.”
Confusion would be an understatement. Ridha just can’t understand her enigmatic Guru or what goes on in his mind. Just when she felt he thinks nothing of her, he intervened on her behalf.
But, did he? Maybe after all, he thought nothing of her. He didn’t care if she could learn what others were doing. Maybe he saw no potential in her at all. Yes, that is the cause of this indifference, the tiny voice inside her, said.

She is not any other student. She is a performer. I can’t restrain her in mechanical steps and moves, he thought.   


Expecting to be rejected by the celebrity dancer after her ungraceful and non-dancer like fall, Ridha stood up to see him smirking at her.
“You know nothing. But I can make you a performer. You may be my student”
Excuse me?? Did he really say that, the little voice screamed inside her. How is it that she is never able to judge what’ll happen to her next!
Her ideal artist had uttered the most arrogant words. In one sentence, he had given Ridha the biggest joy and at the same time broken her self confidence into bits.
Recovering from the smack of words, she turned back and started walking towards the end of the class, while his eyes followed her till the last step.  He withdrew his gaze just at the moment she turned to face him.
His eyes gave nothing away.

PART - 3

   How hard will it be to do a few steps in front her would-be Guru ji, Ridha thought.. But here she couldn’t bring her eyes to meet his gaze, the same man whom she looked at, transfixed when he performed. Was it her shyness, or fear? To have her potential as a dancer be recognized by him would mean bigger than any award for Ridha. But if he refused to accept her as a student, then, what?  
‘5..6..7..8..’ She mustered all the courage she had inside her and jerked her body into movement as the music began. When the familiar melody floated from the Sitar, she began to ease into the rhythm. The tempo quickly picked up pace, and she matched it with her graceful spins.

Ridha took a poised jump as the climax approached..

CRASH!!!! She landed with her face hitting the wooden floor, and a circle of students peering down at her, at the head of which was the man she wanted to impress.  

PART - 2

   Looking at her reflection in the mirror, Ridha adjusts her red bindi, finally satisfied with her appearance. After all, she’s going to meet the celebrity dancer today, who if accepts her will become her Guru.  
She has seen him weave magic on stage infinite times, and each time she wanted to perform along with him. Moving to the same rhythm, mirroring his movements, becoming his shadow. She hoped to alleviate herself in the art as she plunged deeper into the mysterious appeal of this man.
  ‘Wake up Girl! You’re late on your first day. Come in fast.’
  ‘Sorry Guru ji
  ‘I am not your Guru ji, yet.’

PART - 1  

Shinjini Kulkarni
Deeply kohled eyes, waist length hair loosely put in place with a stick, silver bangles clattering on her right wrist, and a halter neck khadi kurta adorning a naturally slender figure; meet the dusky dancer Ridha. For the many nameless faces in the audience she was a self confident, strong, outgoing girl who was born to be in the limelight. But only the butterflies in her tummy knew how many times they fluttered before she took the centre stage.
Ridha did indeed love the stage, but only after she was off it. She longed to perform when she saw another speak authoritatively on the mic, but the moment before her own turn felt like a dark, nebulous cloud, hanging over her courage, her desire, her ambitions, and her strength.
Her relationship with the limelight was one of Love & Hate. But every time this alluring seducer called her onto the wooden path illuminated by yellow spotlights, the enchanted girl answered...