Thursday, February 06, 2014

98, 99, and others

On my ninth birthday (which, obviously, is a big deal since I am a big girl and soon to go on to high school) I demand, and get, a big party. School friends come over. And they bring books. And I'm not sure if I am more thrilled with the former or the latter. Near the end of the day, I curl up in a corner and read a shiny new Rebecca, and am surprised at the intensity with which I just want people to leave NOW so that I can finish it in peace.

My mama gets married the day I turn ten. And I am delirious with happiness. The bright lights. The happy, shiny people. The house full of excited words. The thrill of wearing a saree. The fish fries. Food and BIRTHDAY and people and laughter and glitter. I try to prolong the day by doing my best to not fall asleep that night - I am that high on people.

The next year, on the 15th of February, which is also my birthday, my dance teacher slaps me senseless and pinches me so hard on my hands and feet, that they bleed and turn blue. I am shocked. Mostly because she slapped me. But more because nothing horrible is supposed to happen to me on my BIRTHDAY. I go home and howl to my heart's content. Even the shiny new Enid Blyton refuses to console me. I feign stomach ache when it's time to go for my classes next week. The week after, I turn up...but the dread that has settled in my stomach refuses to go away. I quit bharatnatyam soon after. The dance form still makes my hand turn cold and clammy.