Why Shaking is not exactly Dancing.


delhi baraatIt’s been nearly a week since I was part of a Delhi Punjabi wedding. It’s becoming an annual ritual and if a wedding is a buffet, then it was served with the usual delicacies – Engagement ceremony, Cocktail Sangeet and of course the night long wedding. For starters, again the usual was served – Interesting people in interesting outfits, pomp and show, gossips and bitching. And not surprisingly, everyone is tolerant towards it. And yes, Aamir needs to visit Delhi weddings to realise the real meaning of sense of insecurity. Every lady is insecure in these wedding. ‘Is she looking hotter than me’? ‘Is my hubby again chancing upon Ms. Malhotra using alcohol as an excuse?’ … ‘OMG, what has she done in life to look so slim and fit’? Guys are actually over secured about the fact that their personality quotient is sky high and every good looking girl is swooning over him and actually waiting for a chance to shake a leg with him. By the way, the definition of “good looking” and “girl” differs from one guy to another. And yes, EACH is to his OWN.

For me personally (a typical Mumbaikar), everything is safe and secure and unless the media publicizes, well in control. However, the advent of smart phone, video cameras et al which is nothing less than an uncontrollable media captures one significant aspect of each Delhi wedding, which is ‘Dancing’. And this makes me VERY INSECURE. Because I’ve realised that shaking a leg, or both the legs, shaking a hand with one or two legs or both the hands in tandem with the legs along with slight movement of the torso, if not violent is definitely not dancing.

It reminds me of department dynamics wherein against a similar backdrop of gossip culture, lack of team cohesiveness and in general chaos, each team member is required to dance when some cannot even shake. Before getting sucked into drawing parallels, let me continue with the tortures of Dancing when all that I can do is shaking.

Caution advised before reading ahead: Dancing to the tunes of your spouse, boss, kids, parents or any other person, thing in your life is not remotely close to real time dancing, be it of any form – Bharat natyam, Kathakakali, Salsa, Zumba, Bollywood or even Naagin dance. If you do not agree, then don’t read ahead. Stick to notional dancing. Any spouse, boss, parent or any other person who thinks he/she doesn’t make anyone dance, do remember that you are also dancing to the tunes of time and God. Ohh, how touching. Hoping it touched at the right place, let’s continue the journey.

The first step of dance starts the very minute when you alight from the flight. (Yes, this is my way of telling that I don’t travel cheap; I only travel by the cheapest flight). There is a spring in your step thinking about the grandeur of the wedding, the exotic food, and the heavily decked up beautiful looking girls and of course the overall cool climate of December. Let me remind you again – The definition of “beautiful” varies. And most importantly, the fact that one is away from office, automatically brings that spring in your step. Over the years I’ve realised one thing, you take a leave when you are unwell or kid is unwell or there is a training program, office will disturb you. However, take a leave for attending a wedding and nobody bothers you. I’ve already planned attending 3 weddings next year.

The first litmus test of dance comes during the Engagement ceremony. Apparently, I was coaxed and threatened to prepare a dance with my other half and showcase during the ceremony. Somehow I evaded that citing lack of time and obnoxious office pressure. My enthusiastic wife however managed to put a great performance on one of the songs from that movie which had more songs than dialogues. I think it was ‘Hum Aapke hain Kaun’. I don’t remember the song though I do recall it had something to do with her becoming a bhabhi of her devar i.e. my cousin brother or on similar lines. This was followed by many acts, one of them being a Jodi of my sister and my niece. They rocked. And what did I do. I danced to avoid dance. I danced in the roles of a – caring and guarding father of my 2 kids, son to my mother’s endless relatives, fellow barati to this great wedding show while with the male community in a secluded corner to share drinks. But I did not DANCE on the dance floor.

To escape the second round of dancing required a Houdini special. And obviously I failed. One has to dance during Sangeet night, with or without cocktail. There is no choice. And I did. Jostling amongst the crowd of bachelors and ladies, who have honed their skills over various weddings and in front of Television sets while watching dance shows, one merely has to shake a little and the rest is taken care by these overzealous dancers who manage to give you a shove and push. Of course, in between the drunken gang of bridegroom’s friends barge in and your awkward dance steps look a bit polished compared to them. Some of them indulge in more than a flirtatious jiggle and all the eyes of the oldies (who are the audience) is on their next move and this indirectly relaxes you to shake your legs and hands a bit more vigorously. As long as the shaking continues in a zone which is away from the prying eyes of the audience or drunken relative, one is safe. The moment you become a part of the group which has synchronized steps, you realise the true meaning of the golden question which everyone faces during school days, ‘Pick the ODD one out’.

Finally, no one can escape the clutches of dance as part of a baraat of a typical Punjabi wedding. I did play a smart one though. For some time I was literally in the eye of the storm. In front of the bridegroom’s horse and surrounded by band wallahs and the relatives, it took me some time to escape the storm effects. Within no time, while shaking, I came out of the epicenter and managed to get at the front of the baraat where the focus is extremely low. And when we reached the wedding hall, I along with my cousins shook like crazy for all the cameras to capture our gyratic movements and thus registered our names in the history of the wedding as the ‘Lead dancers’ of the wedding. Sweat and 15 minutes of shaking proved my invaluable contribution, showcased my world class dancing skills when all I can do is shaking.

Somewhere I guess, through years of experience I’ve realised that showcasing and building a perception is equally important to doing the hard work. So, let’s shake .. err.. dance:)