the dancing girl

A song was playing and she was dancing. Everyone watched her, ridiculed her. She watched their faces, their expressions, the disappointment; the shame-she watched it all. Let them ridicule me, she thought. Tomorrow they will realize that I am doing nothing wrong. The song ended and she got off the stage. Everyone moved away from her. She walked away quietly to her shack. It wasn’t much, but it was her home. It had a huge banyan tree next to it and she could practice all day under it. The villagers never came to that tree, because they thought she had cursed it with her dance. They called it the dancer’s tree. No one dared to come there, for if they stepped near the tree, they believed they would be cursed forever. Whenever she went to the village to get her groceries they all glared at her, and refused to touch her bag. They gave her whatever she wanted with the help of a stick. No one offered to employ her, and most of them thought that she earned her money as a mistress. Little did they know that the flowers that entered the village everyday were handpicked by her from the forest. She went there every morning to get baskets full of flowers and then supplied them to the florist under another name. And nothing had happened to any person in the village who used the flowers. But they wouldn’t listen to her when she told them that she was doing no harm.
That night as she walked to her shack a tear slipped down her cheek. She knew she had to be strong, but sometimes she just couldn’t take all the hatred. She danced because it was her passion. Was it her fault that the villagers thought of it wrongly? She strived to make them realize that dance was an art-a great art, which would be the passion for hundreds after her. No one before her had openly acknowledged to being a dancer. But she had seen, the barber’s wife dancing to a simple tune in her kitchen while the barber got ready for his day. She had seen young children dancing along the way to the river, when they went to fetch water. But none of them were willing to give up the norms of the society to be able to liberally dance without putting up pretences. Bur even they believed that they might bring harm to their near and dear ones just as she had done.
She went inside her home, took the pitcher of water and drank some water hoping it would ease the tension in her. Then she lit the stove and started preparing her meal. As it cooked she watched the flames and remembered that day- that solemn day. She had been married to the village woodcutter. A strong, bright minded, young man. She was glad that it was him, because he knew her secret. He had come to cut her banyan tree and had seen her dancing. He promised not to tell anyone and also not cut the tree. Once she had been married to him he made it public that she was a dancer and a good one at that. The village elders had warned him that it would be a bad step to take. That such uncouthness would bring no good. He did not listen to them nor did the rest of the young blood. 3 days later when he was cutting down a tree a huge branch fell on his legs. Despite the best treatments, he had been paralyzed for life. That had been the first mishap. The elders had expressed their concern again but he had lent a deaf ear to them. At this point a lot of other people had become concerned about the so called curse. Sometimes she still wondered if she should have stopped then. For, though it would mean giving up her passion, it would also mean saving a life
After the paralysis he would sit in his room all day and she would bring him whatever he wanted in there. It had been a dark, windy night. She had taken a candle to his room and opened one of the windows to let in some breeze. She had gone out to secure rest of the windows and doors when a strong breeze came in. she went out to bring in the clothes fearing rain. What she didn’t fear was the breeze being strong enough to push the curtains far into the house knocking over the candle and starting a fire in the room. When she turned around to face the house she saw the flames in the back of the house. She screamed and the villagers rushed towards the house but it was too late. He was gone.
She slowly finished her dinner and prepared herself for bed. She closed the only door in the shack. She remembered his house, how she would go about closing all the doors and windows. But after his death the village head had sealed the house and given her this tiny shack. At that point no one objected, for they had all seen what had happened. There were days when she too believed that she was the root of this misfortune. Every week the village panchayat would assemble. She took her chance there. She offered her devotional dance as a means of prayer before the meeting started. The only reason they let her perform was because they believed that denying the devil something would only arouse the wrath of the devil.
She slept on the bamboo mat that she had just laid. A few more tears trickled down her face as she recalled her husband. Yet another day had ended the same way that many before this dusk had done. Tomorrow’s dawn would show her the same things that she seen today. But yet, she believed that someday there would millions waiting to stand under that tree, waiting to dance.


6 thoughts on “the dancing girl

    1. are you kidding me???? YOU are getting a compl;ex from ME???? i still have a long way to go before i can honestly consider myself a writer.. right now, i have the ideas.. i just need to be able to organize them.. and lets hope this will be a good forum to start..

        1. no way.. your still my inspiration.. (i see you mentioned that in your blog btw) … and you have covered ground that will take me a lot of time to.. what you write is very clear.. very organised.. and there is this sense of maturity… i one day hope to be that… 🙂
          but then again no one is ever happy with their work… i bet even Shakespeare thought that he could do better..

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