Learning salsa has been his dream even since he saw Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. He was thirteen when he watched this movie during one of school’s summer vacation. TV was not allowed to him and his elder sister as books were emphasised more by parents, but when everyone in the class was taking about this movie; how could eM stand a step back! Ever since then he knew that he would learn Salsa when he would fall in love with someone. Over the years, his passion for dance increased, but he did not take a step forward for dance. He still was waiting to find The One in his life. Few more years passed by and he still was in search for the lady of his dreams for whom he has been writing his love songs, inspiration behind his efforts towards being a poet was still stuck in the maze, he was waiting to hear the rhythm of the beating of that heart which has been with him and yet was missing.
He decided to join dance classes but not salsa. eM was sure that he’ll dance salsa with that one only. Classes began with all fun and sweat, eM loved learning new steps with all those in the batch. While rehearsing he realised that music is his better buddy than dance as there were few difficult steps which were hard to get.
And then came Valentine’s Day, he was not aware of what was coming on his way. He was on time as usual and at the beginning of the class everybody got the news that it would be a special class on the occasion of V-Day. Excitement suddenly filled the hall as everyone was waiting for ‘what’s next?’. And then the instructor announce, “Find a partner guys, we are going to learn Salsa today!!!” While everyone in the class was busy searching for a partner, eM was stunned by the sudden announcement. It took a while for him to come back and look around for a partner, by that time most pretty girls in the class were already asked for being a partner by other guys. eM slowly walked across the room to see if there is a girl or else he would be dancing with a guy. Just across few smiling faces he found out a slightly tensed face of a girl. eM walked towards her, she looked at him and smiled in apprehension agreeing to his intensions of being a partner.
He asked for her name while trying to kill the ice between them. She was Lucy, people in the batch hardly knew her. A low profile student in the class who always was struggling to match-up with the pace of the batch. eM knew that before beginning with any step he first have to make her at ease. He cracked few jokes to make her smile and with few more attempts she was comfortable. Beginning steps were taught and then music went live for the students to portray the same steps. Lucy fumbled with few steps, initially eM thought of letting her take her own time but soon realised that he would have to help her. Now from the basic steps they moved to next level. From hands now its waist and shoulders. Lucy was hesitant of putting her hands on his shoulders, eM made it a lil easy by lowering down his shoulder…eventually making her smile. eM was careful while placing his hand on her waist. “She should not feel awkward” he thought, to figure that out he looked into her eyes and there he saw something else. There was sadness in her eyes, something eM was not expecting to see. Lucy looked at him and then looked away, probably was trying to avoid the inspection through his eyes. By now they were up-to-the-mark with the batch. The next step was a ‘lift’. Guys were supposed to lift girls. While the batch was trying to replicate the instructors, Lucy said no to eM as she was sure conscious about her heavy weight. eM insisted and so she agreed, they tried but couldn’t complete the step. This left Lucy in splits at eM’s overconfidence. She kept laughing for minutes, to eM’s surprise all he could listen was her laugh in spite of the fact that the hall was echoing with the song at high volume. He stood there, smiling at her. They completed the small act on a piece of song gracefully with the batch before the class ended.
eM experienced some difficulty while writing a poem later that day, it was supposed to be included in a play by some serious theatre artists. All he remembered was Lucy’s laughter during the class. Before he could even realise, he was falling for her. It was difficult for him to wait for the next class; thankfully it was the very next day.
eM was at the venue much before the class timing in the anticipation to meet Lucy. She did not turn up even when the class started. eM was not able to concentrate on the steps that were taught in the class as he was busy recalling the laughter yesterday and kept wondering about her absence in the class. While he kept standing staring at the instructor trying to understand the step but actually finding out the reason for which she couldn’t make it to the class, suddenly the door of the audi opened and she entered with hesitation. A smile adorned his face as she came into sight. Now he was waiting for the class to get over as conversation during the class was not an option. His attention in the class was mostly towards her and less towards the steps that were taught. Once the class was over, he looked for an opportunity to talk to her.
eM: Hi Lucy!!! How are you?
Lucy (hesitatingly): ohh Hi! I am fine thanks!
eM: How come you were late in the class today?
Lucy: Slept late last night so couldn’t get up.
eM: Insomnia is a common disease these day…hahaha
Lucy however just smiled and took a leave.
eM: Would you be coming in the next class??
eM: Great!! Can I have your number?? I might not be able to attend the class next week, so would get the updates from you.
Lucy: ammm…. okay…it’s 9871****70
eM: Thanks! Wish you a nice week ahead
Lucy: Thanks and same to you
eM saw her disappear while he kept standing there. He felt a sense of accomplishment with the phone number he just bagged.
Rest of the day he kept dealing with the desperation to bring the phone number in use. “No…this would make things too obvious, I’ll wait”
In a day full of Sun’s harsh rays
I found you… showing me the way
During the times, showers were falling bad
I found you…making me smile than being sad
On the road, full of leaves in fall
I found you, sapling of hope…
…protecting me like a wall
While it snowed making everything seem white
You came as an angel…
…with your laughter you made my life bright
eM was writing all mushy stuff, that too when he was suppose to write for a separation scene. He was not able to understand this chemical reaction inside him… when he had no control over his thoughts. They again and again were going in the direction of Lucy.
Week passed by and his wait was over to see Lucy again. Though he had told her that he might not come for the class but that was just to get her number. He was at the venue, waiting for her. She did not turn up like last time. Half an hour gone, one hour…two and now the class was over. The wait was still not over and he decided to finally call her to know if everything is alright. While walking down the road towards his house he dialled the number. A faint voice answered the call, he knew that it was her and that straight line turned into a curve called smile!!
eM: Hey…you took me seriously eh?
Lucy: Excuse me? Who do you want to talk to?
eM: Oh…I am sorry! Lucy this is eM…how are you?
Lucy: Hi…I am good…how are you?
eM: yeah…better now! All well? You dint turn up today?
Lucy: eh yeah…I would not be able to join back…
eM stood at a point…he certainly was not expecting this…
eM: Whatt??? Why??? Are you alright???
Lucy: Oh yes, I’m alright…it’s just that my fiancé doesn’t approve of dancing alone…so I might join back the next batch with him.
eM: Oh…ohkay…! That’s nice and romantic (eM tried to be normal)…wh…when…when did you get engaged??
Lucy: Last weekend…remember I told the day I was late..?? There was a small function in the evening..
eM: I see….
eM: So I won’t see you around anymore in the class?
Lucy: Yea…probably till the next batch..
eM: Well…I surely did not expect to hear this…but good to know that you are settling down…take care and all the best for the new beginning…will miss you in the class…
Lucy: Thank you so much eM…I do need good wishes…Thank You! Bye and take care..
eM: Yeah…you too!
eM heard her disconnect the call, he still was not able to comprehend what he just heard. “Is that it??” he thought, “Was this I was waiting for…all these years?”. He had no answers, he thought that getting back home and chasing away all the thought by sleeping was a good idea. But even that dint help. He couldn’t sleep. Going back to the class next day was unbearable, but he had to.
He continued with the batch and completed the same with a rocking performance. The batch was terrific; the only missing element was Lucy. But it wasn’t anybody’s fault.
eM came back to his routine life for next couple of month. And then he got the news of a new batch, a new session. He was curious to join; he wanted to see Lucy’s fiancé. He got himself enrolled and to his surprise, he found out that Lucy did not join the batch. Calling her up again for this was not a great idea. He deleted her number that day to console himself that she is not around him anymore in any way.
The very next day all were suppose to find a partner for the dance. This time his partner found him. A girl next to him smiled at him asking for being a partner and he smiled back faintly. The very next moment they were partners. Memories of last batch filled his mind all over again, when he fell in Love with someone in just one class. Suddenly sadness could be seen in his eyes. Mi kept wondering as sadness was least expected.
Mi: I am sorry I couldn’t recall your name..
eM: That’s fine…there’s nothing fancy in it to remember anyways… it’s eM.
Mi: My name is Mi and I was wondering how would you look with a lil smile on your face while dancing?
A faint smile came on his face again hearing that statement…
Mi: Here you go…see…much better than the serious face 🙂
eM reciprocated with a smile…
Mi was better than eM while dancing. She was picking up steps quickly, or may be eM was still tied up with the memories.
Mi helped eM learn a few difficult steps to make them come up to the mark with the batch. eM could see her eyes on him, but he was afraid to look into her eyes now. “I don’t want the same to be repeated” he kept on repeating the same in his mind while deliberately looking at a different direction.
The act was funny as it was based on Bollywood Masala. As a gimmick, girls were suppose to lift guys in the section. eM was hesitant but Mi was confident. Mi said, “Don’t worry I won’t drop you, you anyways looked lighter than me.” Mi tried to melt the ice to bring that comfort level. They performed the lift and none of the girls could complete the same. Instructors waited for the next class to confirm if they would incorporate the lift in the act or not.
A week passes by and this time eM did not want to continue with the class but sitting at home during weekends was more depressing. He went to the session again where Mi was waiting to greet him with a smile. He did not smile back; he was busy calculating in his mind whether or not he should smile back at her. Mi was disappointed at the beginning of the class with the behaviour, however considered it to be his bad day for his bad mood.
Everybody rehearsed for the lift again. And to everybody’s surprise only Mi could complete the same, though with slightly bad finishing and transition. “This is something we can work upon, so decided Mi and eM would come in the centre for the lift and rest of you would continue with general steps” announced the instructor. eM was happy to be able to make to the centre stage. It was difficult for Mi to complete the lift and then continue with the dance till the end. But even she dint want to miss the opportunity to be at the centre of the stage. Both of them were working towards better finishing and transition as their main step was the highlight of the song. There were extra practice sessions to ensure better performance as this performance was open for public. Parents, siblings, friends and relatives could be invited.
eM was excited with the piece of performance and Mi was happy to see him excited. It was the last class of the batch before the final performance. eM still was looking away throughout the performance, when Mi finally asked him “Why?? This does trouble me. Why can’t you be normal and look at me while dancing. Everyone around us is doing the same.”
eM: Sorry, I have decided not to.
Mi: Being your partner may I know why?
eM: No…! it would be better if you just concentrate on your part than questioning me.
Mi was silent with such rude words and couldn’t stop her eyes to moist. eM did notice them but ignored.
eM wasn’t too happy with the transition in himself. He felt bad with what he did to Mi. “The girl is trying hard for both of us to perform well and look at the way I behaved with her. But then, do I want to get back to the same vicious circle?? No…” eM was evaluating his behaviour with Mi. And he hardly cared what she thought.
eM was not aware as he never noticed Mi’s eyes. They had the same affection for him as his had for Lucy. He dint realise the way she had made him feel comfortable, something similar to what he did. He ignored the change in smile and the curiosity to talk. eM was too busy with his unsuccessful past to pay attention to what was ahead on the road of life. Only if he had the eye to see those eyes, he would have realised what Love is…
On the day of performance everyone was suppose to reach the venue half an hour before the mentioned time. eM was late, the moment he entered he saw Mi running towards him. “Where have you been?? We all were so worried…”
eM just smiled and replied, “insomnia is a common cause of getting up late”. Both shared a smile and went ahead. Mi knew that eM would never look towards her while dancing and she had to deal with it anyways.
Their turn…everyone was on the stage. Lights were off, few moments of silence.
“All the best eM…our time to rock the stage…it won’t be possible without your support”
eM heard the words and smiled, for the first time someone accredited him even before the results. He never was important to anybody…so he was amused to listen to Mi’s words. He was looking at Mi in the dark when suddenly lights went on with the music. He continued to smile and he continued to look at her face and yes, he did see that contentment in her eyes. As for the first time their eyes met, with the smiling faces.
Performance begun with hooting and claps. The lift was fantastically performed and gathered a lot of whistles from the audience which made all grin ear to ear. Their piece of act came to an end, but there was no end to the applause. “Once more” echoed the auditorium when everybody bowed and went off stage to let the emcee sooth the demanding audience.
Back stage it was all happiness with a feeling of achievement. People congratulated Mi and eM as they were the highlights of the performance, instructors came and congratulated…at last it was time for both of them to congratulate each other. They kept looking at each other, they kept smiling…none of them knew what to say…all eM could do was…open his arms for Mi to sink in.
They shared a hug to congratulate each other for a rocking end and for a new beginning!!!!