Thursday, January 17, 2008

of fathers and daughters

it's 8.30 pm. doorbell rings. mithi evolves from a state of near somnolence to hyper activity. her father's home. now the performance will begin.

father showers. has dinner. the stage is set. the door shut. the bed cleared of all debris. the music's turned on. loud. aankhon mein teri ajab si ajab si adaayen hain. mithi's standing on the bed. her father stands next to the bed. this enables their heights to match.

mithi starts swaying to the music at first, and then dancing. her father matches her steps. good timing between them. expressions are perfect. they don't lose eye contact. dil mein mere hai darde disco resonates in the room. at punctuated intervals, mithi twirls and pirouettes towards her father at top speed. years of doing this together and they both can predict each other's movements. mithi falls off the bed into space... and right into her father's arms. first to the left, and then to the right. at other times, she jumps slightly in the air, crooks her arms around his neck, he holds her by the waist, and turns full circle. never missing a beat.

there's a circle of magic around them i can't touch. am a mute spectator who watches everyday. spellbound. sometimes father says, " dance with mama today." mama can't recreate the magic.

mithi's dancing more and more and better and better each day. self-taught. observation at work here. a dozen thoughts crop up in my head sometimes: this is what she loves doing the most; what if she wants to take up dance as a career? that's nice. she likes all these item girl numbers and does them so well. heavens, that's not so nice. to my small town sensibilities. we should gradually guide her towards classical dance. kathak? she talks about it sometimes. maybe salsa and all that jalsa.

shouldn't push her. don't want to morph into one of those pushy parents. on second thoughts, when have parents really been able to influence their children? does it work in our day and age? i think parents are more confused than children today. confused between being a disciplinarian and letting children grow in an organic way kind of attitude. confused about where to draw the line. helpless sometimes in the face of a generation that increasingly seems so sorted out. twiddledads and twiddlemums.

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