The stage was set — decorated with lights, like vines falling from the heaven. That day, she was her best self. It was her best performance. There was no question of the possibility of a better performance in her life.

Image by Sitara VS ©️

Avyaktha would often twirl around in continuous circles, at an age where she could barely walk. And once she could, her mother took her to a teacher nearby. That’s how it started : the tatkaar (footwork), the chaal (walk) — her love affair with the art form.

She walked onto the stage, her heart excited with anxiety. She did not remember the last time she’d ever been so happy. The last time she had danced before this never-ending wait ?

She grew up with it — her first performance on stage at the age of seven. She could not stop smiling to herself as she danced away like the wind. She would participate in various cultural activities every year.

At the age of 14, she was put in a residential school for her parents had to go away for work. She fell extremely home sick — everybody and anybody found pleasure in bullying her; student or staff. 

The curtains went up, and the show had begun. The music reunited with her ears and the taal with her body.  She flawlessly switched into the world she’d missed so badly, as she faced her audience — the biggest she ever had. 

She tried out for the annual cultural fest’s dance team, for kathak; but was rejected. The lady barely looked at her — the team had already been selected. The try-outs were merely a facade.

The hostel, her class, the school – they never accepted her. Her mother forbid her from any cultural activity — focus on your studies. She did try very hard. The following year,the school did not allow anybody from the batch to participate in the fest, keeping in mind the board exams. But by then, she had lost interest in it.

Illustration by Sitara VS ©️

The sound of her ghungroos in congruence with the taal brought her utmost joy. She twirled like nothing could stop her – the chakras she’d practiced to perfection. 
She managed to do well in her exams, and begged her parents to take her back home. She was tired of searching for tiniest pieces of happiness, and an occasional nostalgia could barely calm her mind. 

In her higher secondary, she was at home — on the condition that she would only think of studies. But how could she control her thoughts? The clatter of vessels often reminded her of her ghungroo. The subjects were going beyond her head, and her life beyond control.

Her teacher watched her with pride from the side, enjoying every bit of her performance. After all, she had been teaching Avyaktha from the age of five. The transformation was incredible,and she felt happy that she had run into her student after all these years — a serendipity that sealed Avyaktha’s journey to this very stage. 

Avyaktha finally fulfilled the meaning  of her name — one whose life is like the Gods’ — and that is exactly what she felt at that moment. She could not draw a line between heaven and earth.

She glowed as she effortlessly did her storytelling – her feet, arms and face coordinating with her. In perfect rythm. She danced like never before, it was her story. The music went into a crescendo, and her body followed.  The story was at the turning point.

The stage disappeared, the audience vanished — only the blurred remains of the red vine lights glowed. She was wind, swishing to the music, twirling and taking her whole world with her ; all of it resting on her two light feet. The curtains fell down, and the music stopped — but so did her heart. 

Her story had come to an end.

Image by Neha Menon ©️
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3 thoughts on “The Forbidden Love

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