Marie Marie is coming out of my ears. And I cannot wipe the smile off my face.
Dancing is my release. And it took a bunch of panic attacks, four months of thinking I’m losing my mind, a chance encounter in khar, a cab ride, a gift, Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back and Fat Boy Slim’s Because we can and two Mac men to show me the light.
Rewind: To the year 2004.
I was a stoner girl, who was happy and oblivious. Happy because I loved A and S, the dog. Oblivious because I didn’t really know much about myself. And I know this ‘in touch with yourself’ sounds like hippie crap, but bear with me.
Anyway, so smoking up was a huge part of my life. And it made me feel like we lived inside a cushioned ball. Point is, I’d been smoking up since I was nineteen, so gradually the cushioned ball just got bigger and softer and more blurry and silly and happy.
Till I started to get paranoid.
At first it wasn’t much. Just a general feeling of too many lights on the street, cars whizzing by, loud honking – that jumpy feeling. Then it started getting worse. Every time I was stoned I used to feel I can’t breathe. Ya, ya, I tried the deep breath into a paper bag. It didn’t help. And then the windows...if they were open I’d always feel I was going to fall off.
But I didn’t stop. I even hid it from A. Dude, what would he think...I’m such a wuss?
And ya, getting stoned was a way of life. We watched TV, talked random shit, giggled a lot, all my friends smoked. How could I just stop?
Then I quit my job. And started writing TV soaps. Which was all new and exciting...till I realised how brain dead it actually was. And just as the realisation was hitting me, the dog S died.
That, i think, was the tipping point.
The grief. The not knowing how to share it with A. The job I didn’t like. The loneliness. The smoking up. The no food, just wine during the day. Somewhere it all caught up.
And I decided I had to quit smoking there and then. So I quit the grass, the hash, the Goldflake, the vodka, the wine. And I went from 100 to 0 in 4 seconds.
The next four months were hell. I had panic attacks all the time. My mouth was forever dry. I felt I was losing my mind. I could find no words for A. I could not read anything more complex than an Archie Digest, because everything else would set me off. I could not leave the house in fear of fainting or being overwhelmed by panic, noise, light. My hands shook all the time. My feet were sweaty. I couldn’t go to a restaurant, a movie, a friends place. Nothing.
And mentally I was a wreck. I kept thinking my family would commit me to an institution. And I could trust no one.
Anyway, I got better. All thanks to many people. But this post is not about how I got better. It’s about now.
Cut to cab ride, 2008: I am suddenly seized with this urge to dance. All because the cabbie is playing some hopping chamiya music. And I decide, What the fuck...you love dancing...and you don’t have an Ipod....only because you think oh my god...it is so expensive...move your ass woman...go get one...now.
I get off the cab. Walk into shop and say, “ Ek Ipod dena.” I don’t get the Ipod just then (sorry to ruin a dramatic moment), but when I tell A this story...he gets me one the next day. I’m telling you, I owe this man biggggg time.
So there starts my affair with Sexy back and Because I can. And dude, I sure can. I have no clue if I ever had that much rhythm, but suddenly I discover I have the moves. Or maybe it’s just the size of my booty. More to shake. Whew, at least a big bum has some use.
And then I dance and I dance. Till A and I enrol in dance classes. More providence here, because this is not just any dance class.
This is run by two Mac guys. One is huge and has a belly. But slithers on the dance floor. The other is from the hills and is full on flamboyant. But the class is fun, and boisterous and unstructured, and full of laughter.
So after a gap of about a year, when I felt the rains beginning to make me feel like smoking a nice cigarette (not the joint, that’s over. The nicotine, that’s not as easy though), I began to wonder what to do. Also, I have changes in the job to cope with, a new house...and ya, the rains. What is it with rains and smoking?
So I just went back to dancing. No partner, no agenda, just the dance floor. Dance till I am exhausted. Jive for an hour, salsa for another. Quick, quick, slow. Turn and dip. Twist and shout.
Dance when you’re broken open.
Dance when you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you’re perfectly free.
And ya: The picture is from photobucket. The poetry is Rumi (who else?!). And darryl and saby who run the fast forward dance class are just what the doctor ordered if you have the blues. Or too much energy. Or even two left feet. Check them out at http://www.ffdancestudio.in/home