Amidst the cacophony, she was running, chirpy and enthusiastic in her house in a narrow street. Her mother was sitting and knitting. In that front yard, the jagged floor had visibly clear but a little random bricks. As her friends left, she decided to indulge in her favorite pastime… a balancing act. Whenever alone she would try to walk within those bricks, which she had categorically assigned different roles in life. Like a guessing game, she Tried to find out which boundaries to cross and which to strictly adhere to. As she started it, she had an urge to break all of them. She didn’t want to be enclosed in them. Her mother was watching and told her… its better if you keep your dreams confined to these bricks and not take to the air in the sky. You wont go any farther. At that moment her father entered the scene and said, we are shifting to a new house. Start packing. She was devastated. She would miss those long brick walls and sleepless nights under the star studded skies. Sleeplessness because she couldn’t stop her mind racing over the probabilities of life. She thoroughly enjoyed that along with the stillness of the night. She was waiting for something but didn’t know it was a cocoon waiting for her to gulp her down. And now her life would never be the same again. She looked at the sky in the twilight. Even the stars were not there. That was the beginning of the opening of a cocoon. 15 years later, those words uttered by her mother still vouchsafed in her the underlying connotations. She was cocooned forever where there was no breathing space and myriads of dreams were lynching her. But she had learned to live happily in her own world, with her dreams, with her own dance.
Well this was Nyssa dancing to the tunes of her dreams and probabilities extracted from the credo she had principled. Her life was like a ballroom, a close restricted ballroom decorated with vibrant yellows and blues. And the marbled unsullied floor as the mirror of her mind – crystal clear. The mirrors that enveloped the ballroom like bodyguards reflected her own catholic forms and emotional cadences – smiling, jolly, notorious, angry, gloomy, chuckling, nervous and fearsome. And the soul of this life was always clothed in a blue gown like the blueness of the water and happy go lucky. Her locks were done in shining black ring binders ad the white lilies garlanded on her head traced the measure, of peace she was at with herself She danced crazily, lonely, intoxicatingly drunken with love for herself, lost in her own world, engrossed in her own inhibitions, she danced and danced, ran around that ball room in a psychedelic entrapment. After Every halt she gazed at herself in the mirrors…she never changed.
She danced and danced to the strong rhythms of bluesy and one day fell with exhaustion but not to stop dancing but to get up with a new raw verve.
She felt she wanted people to watch her dancing in this ballroom of life. She was fed up of playing two roles at the same time, fed up of being the audience and the performer herself. She required spectators to see this self–obsessed damsel at her best who was buried under anonymity. She was lying on the dance floor.. With saturation of repressed desires she was unaware of hitherto. In a bolshie’s mood she anticipated a radical conversion. Suddenly the lights went off. Only the white diamonds braided in a string in her neck glistened to convey that the toughness and stability in her psyche would never lose its radiance. The immense crystal entry of the ballroom creaked opened and the light that engulfed the whole place on the other
side blinded her. And everything subsided in a jiffy. The ballroom vanished. The marbled floor turned into a charcoal gray road. Her studded gown clad look turned into a plain Jane look. Her stilettos of grandeur gave way to flats. Being gob smacked for a few minutes she started melting in the new mould. She had become a rebel. She had finally crossed the boundaries. She had run away. Nights followed dawning days , the darkest skies followed rains. She walked and walked. She saw money fame recognition. But it occurred to her that she needed a little distance to see them better, it was not that easy. As she walked those not so concrete houses brought a sense of de ja vu. Down to earth people who were hardcore revelers surrounded the place that she rented. It was a white – bread town. they knew how to extort happiness out of every moment. Although they displayed their inner courtyard, which was filled with the particles of the past which they refused to throw, and were unable to tackle with which troubled them. But then everybody exhibit a share of it. Most of them were Christians. But to put it clearly, there wasn’t anybody with a racist bone in his body there were these two guys from Nigeria who were the most hassal free in the whole street. They were living on the first floor in front of nysa’s floor. They would booze at night, create a hula bulla on roads at midnight and were seen in the mornings tackling with Lemonades and black coffees with drooping eyelids and heavy heads. A perfect treat for others to make their mornings cheerful. The old grannies would sit on their porches and pander to coquetry. The so-called grandpas would tag along which usually ended in punch and Judy shows. There was another fair lass from ladakh who was an attention grabber in the true sense. All the kids were a bundle of raw energy and notorious for their quick witty tricks. but surely it was not a land of lotus eaters But Nyssa was hesitant to open up, unfold herself and commiserated on herself for not being able to interact , laugh with them, to be able to non – chalantly original with them as she was in the ball room with herself. Inside that ballroom she had no masquerades, no facades, no fears, and no fences. She could scream, she could laugh, resent b, rise and fall. But that self-obsessive ballroom had become a fence itself. This multilingual and bifurcated patchwork of culture made her coldly defensive about everything. As a child from a dominating family she had never grappled with all these stifling realities of life in which change is the only permanent factor. Cocooned under a cover she had struggled like a caterpillar to come out of the studded palaces and chauffer- driven motors with all the frills attached. And now she had become a butterfly. Why she was unable to strike a chord with others tunes? But undoubtedly this radical rebellion had catapulted her to a different world. She would cuddle herself in the rain in a cranny of an isolated balcony and would watch the lonely wet roads and the rim of the trees for hours which left her so superfluously excited and in full oblivion to go see the world and fly like a bird. She would get up at night and stare into the black sky talking to the stars …only about her, her dreams but never about how to give them a shape .One fine morning when she just went down to collect the grocery items the two Nigerian guys were just passing by and they stopped. Nyssa stiffened…hey can I ask you something? Amused, she nodded reluctantly trying to avoid eye contact. The spoke with an accent, which she had loved to hear from Whoopi Goldberg in her movies. He shrugged and said… are you too much in love yourself or you have some strong notions about us that keep you from mingling with us. She was starting to panic. We have been living here since two years and you since two weeks. Look we live like a family. We eat, drink and be merry. Why do you cower away from everything? Open up girlie or you will stagnate. Saying this he just pushed off.
It was odd to hear a man from another continent telling you about the people and community of your country. Didn’t they know that had the power to do that to dance to her dreams? Or dint she herself know?
She watched the road and ran back upstairs. She closed the door and sat hunched up in a corner. Thoughts passed as if in a procession. She jerked up with tears brimming her eyes and saw myriads of her images in the mirrors screaming at her to unlock them, let go of them. Out of frustration she started banging up things and coming to her sense she found that the banging noise was coming from the knock at the door. She spruced up herself and opened the door. A middle-aged lady appeared who lived on the same floor. She greeted her with a smile and said, hey girlie, are you all right. Nyssa nodded. It was relaxing at the moment. Well I thought this would be a perfect day to give you a chance to interact and feel comfortable with the members around. We have a bop in the street hall tonight and a dinner on the roads itself. Do come down and watch this dance of life. And remember remove that shell of coldness around you and dress up like a bird free and open. By the way I also brought some momos and want you to taste them. I’ll wait girlie. She left but not her words. They flashed again and again…. watch this dance of life, remove that shell, and dress up like a bird. As she watched from the balcony as bigots everybody was filling in their moieties ending the street and houses a prettier shade. The trees and the flowerbeds at the threshold of the houses were being festooned with colorful lights. Amidst jokes the fairer sex was busy in looking more presentable than ever and the other sex was busy in commentating and jollying around. At some point it was an awkward mumbo jumbo for her. But she decided to bear the burden of proof that she could be like them. That day she decided to dress up like a bird. She wore a white long frock with flowing cascade like beauty. She let her tresses flow open and her eyes shining with light heartedness and freedom… freedom of mind. She started downwards at the scheduled hour. As the steady bass of the drums beat the ground, her heart pounded. She felt as if she was on a white knuckle ride.. As she approached her head to toe alabaster look gave her the freshness of the snow and the status of a head turner. At one end the couples were dancing to the tunes of samba and Santana, so on the other the colorful energy driven kids were trying to rise to the sky by jumping in circles,. Hand in hand everyone let their hair down and adrenalins flow, singing with each other with their heads held high and Nyssa exclaimed.. uhh..! That’s the dance of life. They employed no defense mechanisms to protect them if they cut out a sorry figure for themselves. They crackled and popped with an intensifying desire.
Nyssa found her feet giving way to the whirl motions, her head trembling to the bolero beats and her hands lifting to let go herself. She found herself drunken once again, dancing like a rag doll lose and free. She saw what her eyes craved to see. She could talk freely, laugh heartily. She had finally broken the shell of self-obsession. She was learning to dance for others. She had spectators. Amidst this drugged ness, something flashed and she turned back with a jerk. A blue-silhouetted figure with hair tied in ringlets was making a way out of this hub of activity. It seemed familiar, her pace slowed down and she looked back at Nyssa. It was her former self-.she goodbye and pointed in the direction of the balcony where her own white clad images were dancing merrily. Nothing could give so much joy to Nyssa but nostalgia tinged her at the same time. And the pat on her back made her come back to the picture…the same lady asked… well girlie! Did the momos work or this pretty white dress?