The music rose and fell, like waves, then swirled around the room, sweeping everything in its wake.
They lifted her fingers and made them tap. The music then moved to her feet making them move to the rhythm.
She gave into the moment and did a small jig.
Embarrassed, she looked around if anyone had seen her lapse of control.
No one had seen.
Everyone was outside practicing for the sangeet. It was her daughter’s wedding tomorrow and tons had to be done. Rama, looked out the window and saw her daughters’ friends dancing to the lively music. There were squeels of laughter and good natured ribbing; it was going to be the perfect wedding.
Rama thought of her own wedding, and the failed marriage which followed. She had been a fool she realized now, to have dreamt dreams too lofty for any man to fulfill. She had believed in the song and dance routine of the hindi films she loved, she had believed that she would dance in the rain and twirl in her rain-drenched Sari, only to be caught in the arms of the man of her dreams on her last twirl ala Kajol in Kuch kuch hota hai. She had believed in the fairy tales she told her daughter at bed time.
They had tried dancing; she had even heard that her husband was a great dancer. They started diffidently, their rhythms did not match, they stepped on each others’ toes the onlookers clucked and said it would get better with time. But Rama was disappointed. It was not supposed to get better with time, it was supposed to be PERFECT the first time itself, that’s when it would be magic. She stepped of the dance floor, preferring to sit in the side lines than lose her dream of a perfectly synchronized dance. Her ‘star’ husband got pulled into dancing all night long with his ‘friends’. She felt betrayed. After all it was her dance, and she saw her partner keeping time with someone else. It was just a dance her rational mind cajoled, but the girl with too many stars in her eyes could not look beyond the symbolism of it all. With time the music stopped, there was no dance and no rhythm to keep up to. Many blamed her for the crumbling of her marriage, she blamed the dance.
The music changed suddenly to a loud Punjabi rambunctious number and the clapping of her nieces, nephews broke her reverie. She peered out the window to watch her daughter dance. A lively dance made for one, a dance which allowed a partner to join in and yet was complete in itself.
That is how she had taught her daughter to be. Independent; confident in the belief that the dance of life need not be meaningful only if danced in a pair.
The claps and hoots were all the encouragement that Rama needed. She rushed out the door and joined her daughter. She lifted her arms, and gave in to the music.
She twirled, in the knowledge that there might not be a dream man to hold her in his arms at the end of the twirl, and it was OK.