Last evening, my goddaughter, all of 17, was engaged in a most unusual activity. She stood in her living room holding two bunches of dhaniya in both hands. Then at short intervals, she would shake them simultaneously in a circular motion, kick her legs around, and end with a tango-like throwback of the head.
“Ayesha, what exactly are you doing? The coriander leaves in your hands lead me to believe that you planning to audition for Masterchef India?”She stopped dancing, annoyed. “Dude, do I look like I’m cooking? Man, I’m dancing, watch these moves closely. Tell me what you think.” And she proceeded to show me another peculiar gyration, armed with the aforementioned bunches of coriander, looking much like she’d been administered an electric shock. She finished and looked at me like Chris Gayle looks at opposition bowlers. “Ayesha, I’m sorry I have no idea what you’re doing, Jhalak Dikhla Ja Season 10 is over and Indian Idol requires vocal skills, which you lack. So, please enlighten.”
“Damn it god-dad, it’s so obvious. I’m practicing to be an IPL cheerleader.” “Jeez, Aysh, you don’t even like cricket, let alone most other sports. And you’re only interested in football because it has some hot looking players — all you do post college is plant yourself in front of the TV, and drool over Lionel Messi.”
“Shut up, bro. Anyway, IPL isn’t even cricket, it’s a circus. And, puhleez, it isn’t Messi who’s hot, it’s my Cristiano Ronaldo,” she cooed, dreamily. “Okay, okay, let’s get back to the point, walk me through this weird dance of yours.” “You see,” she painstakingly explained to me, “I’ve created a free flowing, versatile movement that is a heady mix of dances from various parts of India — part Bharat anatyam, part Bhangra, part Bhavai, part belly dance, part Bollywood — so it’s loose, I’m like up for grabs, like at the auction. Any team can pick me up. MS Dhoni may love the Bharat Natyam aspect, and next thing I’ll be the Chennai Super Kings cheerleader.
Or Adam Gilchrist, will notice the Bhangra component, and hire me for the Kings X1 Punjab. Shilpa Shetty may be awestruck by my Bhavi and I will be a Rajasthan Royal. Belly dancing is a universal favourite; I know the owners of the Royal Challengers, Bangalore are fans. And Bollywood is Bollywood, anybody, including Farah Khan will be impressed.” “Ayesha, aren’t you concerned that you will be it out there in the open, hordes of strange men leering at you? Why don’t you opt to be one of the IPL TV anchors instead? It’s a far more dignified role to play.” “Female IPL anchor, no way! I don’t want to be picked just for my beauty and physical appeal,” my god daughter concluded humbly.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.