Pashmina – A seductive dance with a stranger.

Dear Reader,

Please hear this song  before you read the blog. This is an audio only link – Please don’t see the video!!

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I was alone in the studio that afternoon. With Pashmina blaring on the audio system, I danced within myself. My moves were silted, controlled. I danced not for passion, but for a show. Somewhere I had lost the fire.

It was hot outisde, and I wore a wispy thin dress which fell just on my knees. I need them thin flowing dresses – the costumes I wear sometimes choke me. As the song roared, I hugged myself and danced. Suddenly there was a threatening silence. The music was cut off. I turned, angry at having my peace and space invaded. Before I could focus, the music started again – softly this time, like an echo of a inner heart beat and the song of a soul. I was whirled  towards the wall, my head facing away, and a rough calloused hand slid on my waist, while the other hand moved up and down my bare arms. Holding me, but giving me space. And as the lyrics hit the room, our dance started. I had no time to feel anything, not even fear.

 

Pashmina dhaagon ke sang
Koi aaj bune khwaab aise kaise
Waadi mein goonje kahin naye saaz
Ye rawaab aise kaise
Pashmina dhaagon ke sang

 I was still not facing him, but I felt him – tall lean and muscled. Smelling faintly of tobacco.  Like a far away fragrance, I had always known, but forgotten. His long fingers caressed my dress, from my arms to the hem, from where hung faint wisps of threads. I felt like I was that soft pliant pashmina thread, and that thread was being felt and stroked for its susceptible beauty.

His fingers, just two of them, moved up my thighs, just grazing them, and his other hand rested on my forehead. Calloused, rough, long seductive fingers stroked my temple, while the other hand grasped my waist, and we both – our hips stuck to each other, did a half turn to the lyrics. My head felt light, dreamy. I had still not seen his face.

Just then I felt his  stubble, next to my face. Lifting me by my waist he swung me around. My legs taut and extended, my dress billowing around me, I felt like I was on the top of a misty mountain, and the breeze tingled on my skin. When he put me down, his fingers again moved along my arms, tingling with goosebumps, and my skin pricked in anticipation.

I felt in my head a long forgotten song. I felt it in my head, I heard it in my heart. And somewhere as I was being whirled around by this stranger, I realised that the music echoed in me from valleys of misty mountains.   

He let me slide down, and as his hands once again skimmed down my bare arms, his fingers twined themselves around mine, and locked them in.  His face was still to be seen.                                             

 

Kaliyon ne badle abhi ye mizaaj
Ehsaas aise kaise
Palkon ne khole abhi naye raaz
Jazbaat aise kaise
Pashmina dhaagon ke sang
Koi aaj bune khwaab aise kaise

His strong wrists felt mine. It was a signal, a move a dancer knows. I locked my palms around his wrists, and when I was lifted into the air, I knew he would let go of me for a few split seconds. I rose up, and free untethered. The trust was impulse, the move calculated. When I tucked my hand around me, hugging myself and twirled in the air, I knew I would land into his strong lean arms. There was anticipation. A tumble in the stomach –  I would finally see his face.

As I descended I opened my arms, knowing I would want to tangle them around his neck. Not had to – for he would hold me – but want to. He did not let my feet touch the floor, but grasped my waist when my face was just above his head. I lost all semblance. The dance and it’s grace were no longer my concern, and I struggled to peer down. Who was this stranger, who felt like home?

I looked down, and he looked up, his nose touching the bottom of my chin, and my world opened up. I gazed into eyes the colour of chocolate that is melting in front of you. Long eyelashes hid those half closed liquid eyes. Eyes that were locked into mine. Still held tight agains’t his chest, I heard and felt the world whisper its deepest secrets to me. Tumultuous emotions overwhelmed me. Had I been standing, I would have dissolved into a heap of passion. I felt frail, yet strong. I existed, but my soul had moved elsewhere.

 

 

Kacchi hawa, kaccha dhuaan ghul raha
Kaccha sa dil lamhe naye chun raha
Kacchi si dhoop, kacchi dagar phisal rahi
Koi khada chupke se keh raha
Main saaya banun, tere piche chalun
Chalta rahoon…

Pashmina dhaagon ke sang
Koi aaj bune khwaab aise kaise hmm…

I could  not take my eyes off him. Curly wisps of his hair stroked my face. I did not have to see the rest of him. Our dance so far had made our bodies an elemental knowledge to each other. Now only the eyes met and souls touched. I felt vulnerable! Soft! New! Old! Happy! Sad!

It was a new feeling. A raw awareness of self, but tangled with another secret, a known familiarity. I knew the path I had taken, which I had no control over, was dangerous, and a further dip into the labyrinth of emotions would have me crossing over into new territories. I was not ready, and yet my entire being yearned only to complete this journey.

His arms wrapped around me, my heart thudding , we danced. In slow motion, his steps synchronising with mine. Round and round we went, spinning over and over again, turning and whirling circles, head, body, mind and soul – until he lifted me and holding my waist – me standing straight, balancing only on his hands, he ran with me across the room. I don’t know how he held me. There was no definite grasp or hold.. like I was sitting on his palms, yet standing upright.

Poised in front of the huge sparkling studio mirror, he let me slide down. Like butter falling of the rim off a heating pan. Just as I was gliding below his knee, he stopped my drop, and slid his arms under my arms, holding me just under my shoulders. With the song belting its heart rendering lyrics, he lifted me up again, and his hands fell to his side. I immediately felt bereft.  For a moment we were two people – a man standing behind a woman, eyes locked into each other – reflecting in the mirror.

Before I could drown in his eyes, his hands went up and circled my neck, while his other hand thrust against my hips. Now I was to lead the dance, and he would be my shadow. I moved, my right  foot sliding towards the back. He followed. Both of us on the floor, in a split position.  My left feet to his left, my right to his right. Other than his hands around my neck, and his palms on my hips, no part of our body touched – yet the sync was perfect.

A dance where the partner can read your mind, is as near to bliss as one can get. Holding our sitting positions, I leaned back against him, and he leaned back towards the floor, till my back had arched and moulded perfectly to his perfectly bowed torso. Both his arms went around me, and both of us rose again, and in one fluid motion we were standing. I fell forward, my arms straight on my side, and his cheeks grazed my back, his palms went parallel to mine and our fingers entwined.

 

 

Shabnam ke do qatre yunhi tehal rahe
Shaakhon pe wo moti se khel rahe
Befikr se ik dooje mein ghul rahe

I had lost all sense of time and self. I only existed for this dance, for this moment and now for him.

His right fingers still entangled in mine, we let go of every other contact. Slowly facing each other, arms extended and holding only our right hands cupped into each other, we circled. looping the same path – slowly. His eyes held mine, all my control sacrificed. His fingers crawled up my pulsing wrist till we held each others arms. The feel of his rippling muscles, his penetrating glance, straight roman nose, damn it! his entire structure, made me feel like I was thrust into an alternate surreal world.

As the lyrics changed he pulled me to him, crushing me to his chest. My arms went around him, and I held him fiercly. We stood there, all dance forgotten, the world surrounding us forgotten. We only heard the din of volatile, erratic heart beats. Two bodies fused as one. Before the song could finish, he pulled out of my hold and without turning around, with his eyes still fixed into mine, he backed out of the studio, leaving me trembling and in tears.

I was left without words. What can one say to an interlude of this kind? What can one think? All logical reasoning had left me. I was a puddle of emotions. Wave over wave of tremors went through my body. Where had he come from, who was he? Who was I? – after he had danced with me?

I left the studio, not knowing what to do, where to go, how to proceed with life after this.

A dance with this seductive stranger.
A dance with this seductive stranger.

 

 

Jab ho judaa, khayalon mein mill rahe
Khayalon mein yun yeh guftagu chalti rahe
Haan haa..

When my stage show got over, I got a standing ovation for over 10 minutes. Abandoning my former routine and choreography, I danced alone. To Pashmina. And my partner was his absent shadow. 

 

Ye rawaab.. aise kaise
Aise kaise.. aise kaise..
Aise kaise.. aise kaise..

 

For English translation of the song – click here

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My approach to life – 50 things I have learn’t.

  1. Dont stress! For every problem there exists a solution. Trust me. Find it. It’s there somewhere.
  2. Read. There is a world hidden amongst words, and sometimes an answer to your questions.
  3. Make work fun. I have a friend who has to travel 3 hours back and forth, thrice a week. He has a picnic breakfast, en route,with fellow travellers who are now, thick friends.
  4. Have a drink with your friends. Look them in the eye and say cheers!
  5. Hear Music. It has the capacity to uplift you , or to stir up your emotions. Catharsis both ways.
  6. Travel. When you don’t have money. You will see things, you cannot – from fancy hotel rooms.
  7. Travel. When you have money. You will experience a different side of your destination.
  8. Cook. It’s an important skill – and – it’s amazingly de stressing.
  9. Eat healthy. Binge on healthy food, nibble on junk.
  10. Exercise. Every day. Minimum 5 days a week. Without fail.
  11. Take Deep Breaths. Conciously. We don’t take in enough oxygen.
  12. Walk. It’s the best way to see the places you travel to.
  13. Pray. It helps. It heals.
  14. Talk to your kids. About everything. Decisions – family matters – grief – loss. Just everything. They are more intelligent than you think.
  15. Don’t become friends with your kids. Who will be their parents?
  16. Be polite to those who work for you. I once sat with two men for dinner. The difference between polite and harsh was so vast, it made me rethink what I want to be.
  17. My friends mom always told her – don’t fight with your spouse and sleep. Resolve the tiff, or then, decide to call peace till next morning.
  18. Hug people you like.
  19. Don’t be bullied or black mailed into spending time with people you don’t want to.
  20. The people you love ? – Hug them extra hard.
  21. Take naps. Sleep always makes thing better.
  22. Tough decision to make? Sleep over it. I promise you – the morning will bring clarity.
  23. Make girl friends. (Women — This is for you!)
  24. Take girls’ only trips.
  25. Learn something new every year. Let your self be challenged. Let the brain cells exercise.
  26. Dance. Even if you have uncoordinated, buckling feet.
  27. Make your bucket list. Start ticking off your bucket list, earnestly and immediately.
  28. Hug a small baby.
  29. Pour out your emotions to a dog. Nothing is more unconditional than that.
  30. Keep a clean house. Clean office. Clean mind.
  31. Follow your intuition. Your soul will always guide you.
  32. Meet your school friends. They have seen you poop in your pants. What more can they judge?
  33. Stare. At nature. At the sky. At the sea. Into space. When you come out of the reverie a few questions will be answered. Trust me on this!
  34. Meet your siblings. Have dinner with them. Talk to them. They have shared the womb you came from. The same blood runs in you’ll. What can get closer?
  35. Walk bare feet. On the sand. On grass…..
  36. Sleep on grass. On sand. Let your body meet the earth.
  37. Sit by the sea. Aimlessly. No agenda. The wave more than roars. It whispers. To you – personally.
  38. Start that hobby – the one you always wanted to. Time waits for no one.
  39. Laugh! Loudly. Happily. Copiously. 
  40. Sleep in late. Laziness is good – sometimes.
  41. Take care of your parents. They have lost at least 1000 hours plus of sleep on you – and continue to do so.
  42. Do something unusual at least once a year. Milk a cow. Bungee Jump. Take up martial arts.
  43. Don’t let age EVER get in your way. Shrug at them nay sayers and carry on.
  44. Make your kids skip school once in a while. And take them for a movie or to the park. The bond made that day stays forever.
  45. Drink loads of water. Loads.
  46. Eat on time.
  47. Don’t forget romance.
  48. Wear what you want to wear. Whats the point of wearing something in fashion and almost having an asthma attack because its so uncomfortable?
  49. Follow a rainbow. They might not exist. But they sure are pretty. Don’t let your dreams rot! Act!
  50. LIVE. BREATHE. LOVE. BE HAPPY. SMILE. LAUGH.

Mr. Jaysinh Mariwala – my mentor, my guide.

I have had a very rough year! (There I admit it!)

The elder kid left in 2012. I felt like my arm had been wrenched out of my body, and my skin was peeled from my face. At some point the husband and me settled down. Every night when she was safely in bed, I could function without hyperventilating. In 2014 the younger one left. I thought I had my emotions down pat, and knew how to deal with the hollowness!! Not true!

The twilight hours would find me moping around. I have lots to do, a busy household, work and great hobbies. But nothing seemed to light up and shine! I needed a dose. A shot of effervescence and bonhomie.

I had forgotten about Jaysinh Mariwala.

Mr. Jaysing Mariwala
Mr. Jaysinh Mariwala

I met him 3 years ago, in Mahabaleshwar. He helped shape our house, and helped shape me.

When I entered uncle’s home for the first time, I heard loud ear blasting Indian Classical music. He and me clicked instantly. How could we not .. love of whisky, cooking, books, and indian classical vocal music – in that order. (He has a humongous and stunning collection of music.)

He cooks – and so well. I must have eaten quite a number of meals at his place, and not once have I ever eaten the same dish. One evening he made fondue, and when I put a piece of the cheese covered bread in my mouth, the taste left me so surprised I almost choked. He had cheekily used blue cheese and made his own version, and man was it good! It just illuminates the point of how creative he can be!

He cooks, he paints, (they are all over his house and range from abstract to realism) he reads, he conducts music concerts, he gives talks, he treks (Yes – still! Twice a year – Himalayas and other obscure places!) and he runs his own Hospital, which has taken off and is now extremely successful. By now, I mean – it’s only 4 years old. He did something as amazing before that – I am sure.

A few months ago, I was sipping whisky and chatting with him. He said, a week before that, he felt a tightness, in his chest, while playing golf (Hmm! that too.) and again the next day when he went for a walk (Yes! that also – he is amazing I am telling you!). So he took himself off to the hospital, and by the time his daughter in law came running in, (he lost his wife some, many years ago) he had already signed himself in for an angio and further action if required. And a week after that he was in Mahabaleshwar, porting around a sorted heart, after undergoing a stent placement! And (Yup! that’s not the end!) he went for a trek to Nagaland one month after that.

And (there are many ands to this man!) a few months before that when I met him, he was sporting heavy bruises on his face. Seems he had gone for a trek and a small stampede happened and he rolled 40 feet towards the crevice of the mountain and stopped rolling at the nick of time. Undaunted that man, still got up, put an end to the trek, saying he knew when to retreat, and planned another one a few months later!

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uncle and the husband.

When my husband meets him, I see adoration and extreme happiness in his eyes. We always go home smiling and grinning. The past seems more happy and the future is welcome with all its angst. He is my injection and my guide.

I keep his picture handy. I keep him in my mind. When small problems of life attack me and threaten to spill my confidence I think of him. He says he never feels lonely, living alone in the woods, as he does. He has so much to do, where is the time to feel lonely and unhappy.

The man has had 2 by pass surgeries, and a few stents. He still lives, still drinks, still walks every morning, still laughs and God! Tells bawdy jokes after a couple of drinks!

He does not apologise to life and does not let life apologise to him. There lies the secret of his success, because he knows that there is nothing he cannot do.

I stopped feeling bad for myself. I stopped the self pity. For I have uncle as an example to guide me. I meet him and my life shines. I talk to him and I hear the voice of a mentor. I drink with him and enjoy the whisky even more.

I love that man. And he is all I ever want to be.

 

MY UNIQUE MARIWALA UNCLE

PS: HE KEEPS SNAKE ANTI VENOM IN HIS HOUSE – KNOWS HOW TO AND, HAS ADMINISTERED IT TO MANY PEOPLE!

The Trade.

My very well meaning, but utterly crazy batch mates, insisted I go beyond a blog! So here is a sample, of  a “Beyond the blog – plunge” – written a few years ago.

GO  L.V.G.A !!

The breeze was balmy and she sweat freely. But the sea always called her. Alone she would walk by the beach, the waves calming her tumultuous mind. The fishermen had gathered. She knew most of them by face. Every day at the same time she would walk past them and stand and watch their catch, some of the fish yet thrashing, side to side in their struggle to survive, wildly trying to breathe in an atmosphere which was stifling them. She would stand  and watch them, mesmerized by their need to survive. Wasn’t it easier to just give up and die?

There was an unusual excitement amongst them today. “What a catch! Kya maal aya hain haath mein!” they exclaimed. Indeed it was a catch. She was a catch! And she was caught, between the struggle for power and the union of two rich families. One day suddenly, without being asked, her life was changed. It was an exchange a mongering, a trade. And she had no say in the matter.

As she walked, her mind weaved, hitched and always stopped on him. The man she met on the beach, the man who was her life and the sweet breath of love. The man, who was now, walking towards her. The radiance and love from his face caught her straight in the guts. Even after five years of knowing each other the love grew and strengthened. He was tall dark and lean to her petit small build. But today she would perhaps, kill that radiance forever.

She told him, before he could even touch her. A smoker thinks he is immortal and cancer can never touch him. Lovers think their love is forever and the ending always happy. They always knew this could happen, but knowing does not diminish the pain. He held on to the intense longing to touch her, but there had to be a cut, a long viscious slice, made by the lethal blades of a family barter. Without a word, tears streaming down his face, he turned and walked away without a backward glance. She had killed his spirit without bleeding him.

She herself was bleeding from the inside. For a long time she stared at his bent back. She knew he weeped and his soul sobbed. But she could not cry. Her emotions were dead. She walked on, until she reached the shore and the waves tickled her feet. The sea had always answered her questions. This time her soul decided. She walked into the sea, waves lashing at her. Kept walking. Somewhere far behind she thought she heard shouts. But she kept walking till her beloved sea claimed her.

Around the same time, fishermen snagged a heavy object in their nets. “What a waste of a life” they said. “ Such a handsome man, so tall and lean”

She was right. It was easier to die than struggle forever.

 

Rites of passage.

From that tiny fetus swimming and kicking in my stomach to the time I held a hungry, squirmy yelling kid in my arms, to now, when he leaves our home and flies the nest, we as parents have come a long way. The rites of passage have been happy, sad and sometimes heart breaking. This kid, our last one in particular has given us a few heart attacks, but many many more happy times. And to think we had him in the most unplanned and disorderly fashion, in the midst of life changing decisions the family was making.

The day he cut his first tooth was a delight. We were as it is struggling with feeding, with me wanting to feed him for a few more months and he struggling to break out and venture into the world of chewing and masticating. This fellow with his puppy fat and soft skin, whom I forever kept in diapers only, so that I could cuddle him any time I felt like, started school. The sight of him in a brand new uniform – Had I known then, that it would lead to this day, I would perhaps have kept him home. But again life has to spin and move.

Days of fever, heart breaks and happier days of winning matches, being chosen to lead the school in games, friends leaving, new friends, voice cracking, girl friends and girl friend issues, studies, SAT’s, Essays and now here we are.

It’s time for the kid to leave. I’ve already sent off the first one. It was heart breaking enough. We know in our hearts that this is their step into the real world. They might never come back home. Their rooms will remain empty for months on end and one day we shall hear that they might not occupy that room again. We don’t know, we think, but it’s a damn close possibility.

But whatever the future holds, what ever their lives lead them to do, we parents have years of spit, poop, pee, gurgles, laughter, love and hugs to hold us together for the rest of our lives.