I met a woman today in my tish-tosh Indirangar Zumba workshop.
I like saying that. It makes me sound so snobbish and arty-farty fashionable. Things I really couldn’t care to be and rarely am.
In a typical tish-tosh workshop in a few elite areas in Bangalore (no matter what the subject) you know the sort of ladies to expect.
Ladies in chic designer clothes and accessories check you out (up, down, in, out) and then depending on whether they approve of your clothes smile a little plastic smile.
Today was my lucky day. I was perfectly clad – US shoes and designer sweats and everything. And replete with Yahoo! branding. So you really could say I was welcomed with almost open arms.
These ladies also have a very particular way of speaking. It is an art.
“Oh the weather is so nice today. (Innocuous, right?) I was telling my husband just how much it reminded me of New York today, you know? Something about…” (See how effortless that is)
They use a lot of ‘you knows’ and talk about living anywhere but Bangalore or India. They know a lot, these grand dames. They are all with the hot, happening trends across the world. Ergo, zumba workshop. It was a silly workshop actually – for people with disabilities or injuries to do something fun and exercise in spite of their limitations.
It apparently was also a class for the really shy who hate moving their body to music in a fashionable gym with perfectly toned bodies. Or so the instructor told us before the class began.
So in my Zumba class there was this fairly obese woman clad in tight navy blue tights, grey t-shirt, and malli poo (jasmine flowers) around her neck. And not as a garland. They were just there, carelessly worn.
Since I was new to the workshop, I thought it was a zumba trend but no, it wasn’t. I looked everywhere for my malli poo and didn’t find it. And anyway none of my research on Zumba over the past few days showed any signs of malli poo.
Now this lady kept jumping around the place even before the class began. In fact, even before they even set the speakers. She looked downright stoned and I was so tempted to ask her if she was on the same pills as I was. But she was jumping around too much and watching her made me a little too tired so I desisted.
We had an American instructor with African ancestry who taught us to move our bodies in time to Latin beats. It was, well, an experience.
Fifteen minutes before the class ended, a lady suddenly piped up and said, “Bye ladies, I have to go to church; you keep the party going.” I didn’t spare much thought to that because that was during the belly-dance section and I couldn’t believe that my hips could move like that. I was completely lost in my own body.
At the end of class I was suddenly face-to-face with Jumping Jasmine. Since I’d managed to work-out for an hour (and past posts would’ve shown you how unimaginable that would’ve been in days gone by) I was feeling rather kindly and happy. She looked at me and snooty smiled. I gave her my I-don’t-usually-smile-but-I’m-making-an-exception-for-you smile (second nature around arty-farty people) and said, “You dance well, you’ve got great rhythm.”
She looked at me all intense. “You know what Manuela Carrasco said? She’s a very famous dancer and she said that the moment a dancer walks into the dance area, the place becomes holy. I believe that, you know. I feel that holiness in me when I dance, you know.”
And before I could kick myself she continued in all seriousness, “Do you know how annoyed I was? I’m sorry if that lady was your friend, I saw you smile at her, but how could she leave holy ground and go to church? That is not buggering right, you know.”
I say this with great regret but I really couldn’t hold in my laughter at that. Laughing out loud I said bye and ran down the stairs and got the hell out of holy ground.