Tuesday, July 23, 2013

1997

High school uniforms for girls are blue checked tunics over white shirts. Once a week, there's a change, when we wear white shirts with our house emblems over dark blue divided skirts, and try to do different yoga postures in the sweltering PT room over Shaila sweets. There is a sheetala mandir right across the road, and the clanging of the bells sometimes interrupts the mild mannered Gour sir. But he persists. And so do we.

Once a week, during afternoons, I am taken to learn Bharatanatyam at a famous South Calcutta dance school. The heartbreak and the disillusionment will come later. But that year, I love it. I am taught the first few elementary items and given a brown and cream salwar kameez.

My dancing days are interrupted. Chequered. Halted by the demands of daily life. I have learnt dancing since I was four. First at CLT. Then, during my one-year Benares stay, from Hombal jee, BHU's beloved Bharatanatyam guru. After I am whisked back again, I am sent to learn Odessey, and I love it, excel in it almost, before that stops because the classes shift far away. And now there's this. This crazy, once-a-week Bharatanatyam, and learning the mudras by heart, and feeling the familiar lurch in the heart when the teacher beats the stick on the wooden platform and goes "Thaiiya, thaiii; Thaiiya, thaiii".


I have a terrible ear infection. And after long hours of gritting my teeth,  break down and cry in the middle of a school day, and let go of my grown up girl (my high school student grown up girl) badge for a long while. I am nine years old and I can't hear and can't think and can't do ANYTHING for the excruciating pain in my ears. My mother comes to pick me up from school then. Smelling of her classes and of home. I cling to her, and cry some more and refuse to let go even at the doctor's chamber. Maybe, I think, this is how I'm going to die. Not on the stage, as I have thought of a million times. Not doing something adventurous Nancy Drew or Frank Hardy. But here, in my mother's arms, in the midst of a wave of blinding pain.

But of course, that doesn't happen.

(Edited to add: The idea of writing a few paragraphs about each year of my childhood, partly because I revel in nostalgia and partly because I would like to remember things when I'm seventy and senile, is taken from this blog. I love this blog, not least because a few years ago this lady quit work and backpacked through Asia for six months.)

2 comments:

Abhishek Mukherjee said...

You're writing.

Hang on.

You. Are. Back. To. Writing.

sayantani dasgupta said...

Bah. Back. Greater and more terrible than ever before it seems. :P

But I like it!