May I Have The Pleasure Of Stepping On Your Foot?

So I went to a party on the weekend, and it was awesome, because there was music and dancing. But it also sucked, because there was music and dancing. What I’m saying is that I cannot dance. And this is no ordinary lack of talent. No siree. I am unable to dance in the same way that Vasant Dhoble is unable to distinguish between regular women and prostitutes.

But before we get into that, let’s just accept a few facts. Firstly, all the smooth, sensual dance forms that yuppies go nuts about today – be it the tango, the mambo, the salsa, whatever – are just extended foreplay. Also, for most men, dance is just an excuse to put on some music and rub up against a woman in the hope of seducing her. This is supposed to be hot, but when I put on my iPod and do the same thing on the bus, it’s suddenly frowned upon. OK relax, I’m kidding. I don’t use an iPod.

It’s no wonder that women love the idea of dance as foreplay. Because women love doing simple things in the most complicated way possible: “OK, before I hook up with this guy, I want him to spin me around 500 times, dip me, hold me, thrill me, fling me, lift me, bench-press me, hoist me up like a bazooka and pretend to fire RPGs out of my bum.”

This is a problem for me, because the only dance I know (and badly at that) is Bollywood dance, which is a certified woman repellent. The only way it could be more repulsive is if I wore a necklace made out of all the female toes I’ve stepped on.

And it’s not just me – most Indian men are rubbish at dance. We have a fixed set of steps that get increasingly stupid with each drink, and we just don’t care. Our approach to dance – be it at an office party, wedding, birthday or funeral – consists of various gems.

First up is The Nagin. You know a step is a winner when you see it being performed by sweaty guys at every engineering festival. This wonderful tribute to Sridevi involves raising your hands up above your head in the shape of a cobra’s hood, and swaying about with the grace of Hrithik Roshan. From Guzarish.

And then we have the Indian Man’s Overbite. No pelvic thrust is complete without it. It involves scrunching up your nose, and biting your lip seductively in the hope that the woman you’re trying to impress has a Tinnu Anand fetish.

Soon it’s time for the step that you’ve seen every uncle do at every party ever: the shuffle-about-while-balancing-alcohol-filled-glass-on-head step. The only time it is okay to balance drinks on your head is if you’re a poor village woman who has to trek 100 kilometres to the nearest bar to stock up on booze.

As the night progresses further, we unleash The Chammak Challo. Arms outstretched, and hands rotating as if to say, “Who knew turning imaginary taps could be so much fun!” While doing this, in my head, I’m convinced I’m Shahrukh Khan, whereas I actually look like a hawker offering you a breast exam.

I blame our lack of style on India. Our culture has no room for sensual dances. We have bhangra which, while fun, is about as sensual as a gunshot wound. At some point, they stop bothering with lyrics and switch to ‘bhhrrrrrwaaah’. Every time you make that sound, somewhere in Punjab, a buffalo gets turned on.

In Maharashtra, we have the Lezim, which is performed using what I can only describe as musical nunchucks. You should learn it if your lifetime ambition is to be featured in the background of a DD Sahyadri documentary.

And what in the name of holy Mohanlal moustache is kathakali? It’s a dude with green face paint who looks really angry. Then again, I’d be angry too if my face looked like something the Hulk might dig out of his nose.

I’ve actually decided to stop being a boor and to “get with it”. I’m going to learn as many cool dances as I can. And ladies, if you’re paired up with me in dance class, remember: wear survival boots.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 17th June 2012.)