“chaiyya chaiyya”

4/16/13

 

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Thump, thump, foot stamp with clear rhythm of the open train they ride

beautiful man and sensual woman twist and turn around each other with smiles that match the pastoral landscape surrounding them

more men dance beneath them, turning, bending, clapping with bright clothing,

swinging dark hair so far as to lose their head-coverings

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

and the train continues through a landscape of breathtaking beauty

beauty matched by the lone woman thrusting her hips

instinctual, not sexual

enticing, not arousing

the man smiles, snapping his neck in time with her torso

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Thump, thump, a solid march that does not climb nor descend, but steadily moves forth

as the train rounds a bend, displaying the dancers almost as parts of a machine

machinations of joy and celebration

the singing not matching the actors but somehow enhanced by the incongruity

finding the video and clicking on it to watch for the first time

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

heartbeat matching the dhol thumping pounding like feet stamping in unison

sweat beading on my face, breath shallow and short in anticipation,

lean forward, not enough screen for my eyes to drink in the event

thoughts cascade

how can they do that? how can so many strangers fit on that platform without falling? dancing waving their turbans, banging their heads, twitching in time,

footsteps pounding still,

Thump thump

words I don’t know, can’t know, but familiar from other songs

man’s voice drops down, conspiratorial whisper, speaking of wearing his love like a charm, a way to keep her heart with him at all times

he kisses his own hands and touches his cheeks in reverence for the love so spiritual for him

head bowed, eyes closed the music seems to pause even as

Thump thump, footsteps marching still

Thump thump

song swells, man bursts with his proclamation of devotion, strange to this American as his climactic moment is singing about friendship, not lust

arms thrust to the sky, train swiftly moving still all around him lift their arms in agreement

A song, a video, a movie, a dance…. all this is playing out before me on Youtube. This piece, clip, part, excerpt plays and the past unfolds…

being pregnant and chair-bound, watching videos for new music,

stunned, elated, tears of joy

Holding onto my chair, trying to dance in my ninth month because the rhythm will not be denied

TURN UP THE VOLUME LOUDER LOUDER LOUDER

suddenly my boys, teenagers all, are with me, writhing and hopping in their gangly gawky way

but elation from me becomes frenetic haste in them

we jump in unison

Thump thump bare feet stamp a beat that threatens our poor carpeted floor

Thump thump

all together, so rare for us, nearly desperate to push the feelings out of our bodies and into our feet

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

words are mouthed with the notes even though we know nothing of the language

English, for my boys, is no less mysterious, syllables to trip over in attempts to reach out to other humans

music sounds beckon like a crooking finger in front of a revolving door

THUMP THUMP heart slamming along until there is no discernment of time, of bodies, of separation

together all four of us jerk, twist, nod and shake out all the connection we cannot put to words in our quiet moments of mundane life

THUMP THUMP is the chant of our feet as video plays forgotten

nothing but the music, the unknown syllables turned to one more instrument to flick our attention to

man and woman, voices tease each other, nearly touching in their words and tune, wrapping around each other like caduceus – separate but climbing upwards, ever upwards

break in the song twinkles with promise, the beat sits behind different movements

unevenly other sounds move forward, retreat,

man’s voice breaks in like peeking through curtains

surprise again as woman’s voice answers the man once, only once and together they continue their spiral towards climax

But we can’t stop now, our bodies are not done,

I click “repeat” before anyone can move

and  the keening of the start soothes our firey nerves, stopped too soon

introduction done, we resume our consensual march

Thump thump, family soldiers we are, building an intimacy so elusive there is no name for it now

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Then time resets in my mind and I fall into another memory

sitting in my armchair, nursing my newborn,

exhausted confused from the sadness which threatens happiness and is answered only with silence

finding the song and playing it again, and again, private, headphones, only for me

so that I might not see my husband grind his teeth once the music begins

moments of stolen release, leaning back with my babe sleeping soundly on my breast,

lost in the voices and beat that create a space familiar and sweet

I crawl into that dark corner and let the waves flow over me, imagining the dance I’ve seen so many times

careful not to move, wake the babe and no song in the universe will bring back that gentle moment

yet still my muscle strain, begging to be given permission to fulfil the promise of the song

Thump thump, swaying so slightly, still in heartbeat time like so many playings before

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

yet another time, baby gone, no one around today, given an afternoon to be free in my house

with almost guilt the video beckons me

new speakers cry for their true purpose

click “repeat” and wheel the knob all the way up

THUMP THUMP feet, MY feet this time, cannot slam the wood floor hard enough now,

head jerks hard enough to cause pain for later but now,

now

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

THUMP THUMP body takes life from the song and tosses it back from every limb a piece at a time

with no one to see, no one to know, the dance is mine all mine

the energy coursing through

so powerful it surprises, almost frightens

but no time, no time to think

move, move, MOVE, THUMP THUMP, throw every part away, snap every part back, jump jump, thump thump, flick eyes, whip hair, snap arms, crack knees

there cannot be enough force to let the song come out

until finally

four plays later

the body concedes defeat

and exhausted I sit again in the chair

the same chair I first watched the video

the same chair I used to support myself while pregnant and wanting to move in time

the same chair I sat in to nurse my new baby

the same chair I sat in to watch my boys perform chores when I could not walk

it holds me again, connected to that song, that video, that dance

silly really

So now, so much farther along

click “replay”

feel the same push, the same forceful jerk, the same desperate need to throw the music out of my body

but I have the wrong chair

and there are no gawky lanky boys frantically dancing beside me

no newborn at my breast while I sway ever so slightly

Thump thump

it sounds almost hollow

and tears no longer of joy

but loss

this song is no longer ours

the song is just a memory

always,  I can hold it,  shine it, smile at it, with tears so fresh yet so old

Someday, this song will play for me when I am ready for my last dance

Thump thump,

Thump

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