Archive for April, 2019

Hope shall still shine, even if someone has pushed you down, and another crab has pulled you right after. Mind you, they can knock you down but they can’t knock you out unless you let them do it.

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I have never been a good dancer- to the public- I don’t dance. Even so, I do at home when I’m alone and my phone is playing my favorite song.

To the outside world, I dare not tap my feet as the music grooves. But secretly when I’m all by myself and there’s no one around to witness, I move my hips like Shakira.

But that’s me now (I’m quite embarrassed to accept the truth). What I’m about to tell you is one of the many queer incidents of my childhood which involves me, dancing and dhoti.

Bihu is a traditional festival of Assam which beyond the bars of religion, is more of a festival including dancing, singing and gift taking (vice-versa). Bihu dance is a popular form of dance which in the erstwhile Assam was performed in open fields- it being more or less of a singing duel between the male and the female dancers. While the females dressed themselves up in the colourful, embroidered floral Muga Mekhela-chadar, the males donned dhoti and Muga jackets.

For those of you wondering what dhoti is, it’s just a piece of white cloth, which when draped skillfully around your waist and legs, forms a kind of loose trouser which successfully protects your dignity…most of the times.

I studied in an all-girls school. So, due to the unavailability of boys, the rough and tough, tom-boys were picked up to play masculine roles in dramas and dances. Owing to my boy’s cut hair, I too had to once bear the baton and be a boy-dancer; that too in our Bihu festivities. Which obliquely implied me wearing dhoti, raising my hands in the air, partially flexing my hip and smiling at the beautiful girls flirtatiously. I was just a third grader then. And in my company were girls from first to tenth grade.

The next day, we had our quarterly exams in the morning and hence were instructed to bring along with us our costumes which we would eventually wear once our exams got over and the festivities started. However an overzealous friend of mine probably heard only the “costumes” part and hence, the next morning, she was seen, all clad in ochre and white, ready to dance any time soon.

Our exams got over and while we were all busy draping the white piece of cotton linen over our groin, the other girl was busy, sampling spraying her clothes with deodorant; while I on the other hand tied as many pins as possible to tighten the dhoti and finally sealing the upper part with a Gamosa.

And then the dance started off. We were supposed to dance as long as the Principal himself got tired of dancing and walked on the stage to conclude the program.

Fifteen minutes into dancing, the others around me pretty much forgot that we were dressed trans our gender and our wardrobes could malfunction any time soon. Especially that overzealous girl who would not stop shaking her hips, and her hands moved in sync with the music. On the other hand, my hips were more cautious of what was covering it.

The song tuned into a more upbeat one, more people chimed in to join the dance and as we kept jiggling our legs, the friend standing beside me all of a sudden crouched down, holding something. I looked at her. She was gathering something around her. And before I could realize, she stood up holding a piece of white, fidgeting with her dhoti. Maybe it was my conscience or something, for immediately I jumped right in front of her, covering as she draped it up, once again.

But for some reasons, she decided to quit for she pulled me by my dhoti, dragging me out, into the backstage. As she did that, I prayed, hoping against hope that my dhoti would not meet with the same fate. Once out of people’s eyes, I grimaced at her. She let go of me, changed herself into a pair of trousers and I sighed as I watched the principal walk up to the mic and conclude the dance show.

I sat there, thanking my stars and my pins for not letting me meet with the same fate while at the back of my mind, I decided: Next time, I shall dance only after knowing the costume for it.     

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Sometimes we forgive, but don’t forget…

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