Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dancing with Kailash Kher

Voice from audience: (shouts) Kailash Kher! Please call this girl on stage once again.


The girl referred to, is me. I am back from dancing with The Kailash Kher on stage (see the performance here and here), and presently dancing in the aisle, to the dedicated viewership of a packed Siri Fort Auditorium.

Minutes ago, Kailash Kher had invited a few girls to come up on stage and 'compete' with him on a Rajasthani folk number, and I was the first one to rush to stage. Barefoot. It is August 11 of 2015, and it is the third time I am dancing with Kailasa on the same stage. The first two times were in the winter of 2011. Four years ago. But the troupe recognises me, and tells me so.
The guitarist and percussionist, flanked by my friend Vandana and I

Kailash Kher: No no no. I call only once on stage. The girl can continue dancing in the aisle. Please enjoy her dance there.

Voice: But we want to see her dance on the stage!

Kailash Kher ignores.

The voice presses on. Till the maestro can no longer shelve it.

Kailash Kher: Arey bhaiya payment mujhe milegi. Kyun kachcha kaam karwa rahe ho? (Essentially: Oh dear, I'll be paid for the show, not she!)

The audience bursts out laughing.

Understandably, the swell of public fanfare encourages me. By now, I occupy a pride of place in the aisle, from where team Kailasa can see me. I dance ceaselessly, drenched in sweat, on the songs that follow. Tauba Tauba, Chak de Phatte, Saiyyan...I have inherited my grandmother's memory (you can read about her here) when it comes to songs. I could actually tell where Kailash Kher eschewed a stanza, or mixed up the lyrics!

So there are two shows going on in the auditorium, and the artists and audience are having quite a ball. Some people are enjoying the best of both worlds. Their back is to the stage and face towards me: Listening to Kailash Kher's phenomenal singing, and seeing my possessed dancing.
Dancing with Kailasa, wearing the organisers' badge, in January 2011
The show gets over around nine. But my friend and I are able to exit the Siri Fort premises only after an hour of undeterred fame. People in the audience have exalted me to the level of a star, and I am so grateful for their kind words of appreciation. Someone wants me to meet their children, a few people wonder whether I'm game to teach them dance, scores of fellow humans shake my hand, and the kind of things they say! It is as if the world is telling me that they understand my love for dance, and want me to do more of it. I want to thank them all here.

That's the thing with love. It shows.

But the most memorable of these interactions is a brief hug with a girl. She came rushing to me full of praises, and opened her arms for an embrace. Since I sweat like a pig, I keep telling people repeatedly, "I'm sweating profusely." She held me by the shoulders and looked into my face with keen and wondrous eyes. "Forget it," she said, "I just HAVE to hug you." And she pressed me to her heart.