A good friend of mine recently performed a Bharatanatyam Arangetram, which is a style of Indian Classical dance and a several year long process. I was lucky enough to be able to see it, and it was one of the greatest things I've ever seen. It was perfect and I really felt a lot of different emotions watching her dance.
So I decided to write this little story out and dedicate it to my friend, who I have known for five years and is one of the coolest people I could have in my life.
I hope you enjoy this story.
You're here because you want to support the best friend you've ever had.
She's been working for years on her Bharatanatyam Arangetram, and you frankly don't know what it means or how to pronounce it. Still, you've known her for five years, so if she calls you answer on the first ring.
So you dress up nice, give yourself plenty of time to get there, and then once you do, you wait around in the lobby of a convention center. Pictures of her in her Indian garb are everywhere, and she looks incredible… you even have to give the pictures a second look, because you're used to seeing her in a t-shirt and jeans on most days.
Some more of your mutual friends walk into the lobby and you join them, only to discover that they know less about what they're here to see than you do. So you read the brochure, do a quick Google search, and attempt to figure out what you'll see when you walk through the lobby doors. For this one time, however, the great search engine Google falls you.
As you rack your brain for any logical conclusion for what a Bharatanatyam Arangetram is, the lobby doors open and you walk into the center.
It's built like a theater, so you walk inside and join your friends in sitting down near the front. Excitement mixed with apprehension gnaws at your insides, just what is she going to do up on that stage?
You made idle conversation with your friends until the lights dim and the curtain opens.
The front part of the stage rises up and the sight of a wooden flower greets you.
Then it moves…
You watch in awe as the girl you came to watch rises from behind the flower, stretching out her limbs as if she was a flower herself.
Her dress is colorful, her jewelry shines in the lights of the theater, and she looks breathtakingly stunning. You suck in a breath as she begins to dance, moving around slowly around the stage.
A spotlight illuminates a four-person band in the left corner of the stage, and two women chant words you don't understand to a tune of music you've never heard of. You only recognize two instruments from where you are sitting, but even a violin and a flute sounded different when paired with the other unknown instruments.
So you watch her movements unfold like the petals of the flower she emerged from, and you find yourself cheering just as loud as the section devoted to family and friends.
She moves around the stage like it was made for her, tossing flower petals at an altar that rests on the right of the stage, then at the musicians. You don't understand the meaning of the flowers or the altar, but you watch her dance around them slowly, until she finally stops.
You clap and cheer with the rest of the crowd as the curtains close and the lights faded, except for a spotlight on a podium at the end of the stage.
A speaker gets up and explains what that dance was and what the flowers symbolized, then the next dance begins.
The minutes tick by as she dances to various styles of music, and you find yourself mesmerized by the music and her movements. She spins and twists and moves her body in ways that you'd never be able to do… giving testament to her years of hard work, living in her perfect moment.
After two more dances, she leaves the stage and her parents come up to the podium, explaining how hard your friend has worked for this one three-hour performance, what she had to do, what she had to give up, and how much she's been anticipating doing this show.
You listen intently, absorbing the information like a sponge, wondering if the girl you are hearing about is the same girl that became your first friend five years ago. Just how much do you not know about her? Or any of your friends for that matter?
Finally, another speaker takes the podium and says that the next dance is the longest and the hardest, but it tells the story of the life of an ancient Hindu God. The speaker briefly outlines the events of the life of the God and then the curtains open.
She's changed her costume for this dance, but looks no less majestic or colorful, and she begins to dance to the music.
The chants and cries of the vocalists are almost enthralling as you watch her, and her eyes catch yours for the briefest instant.
Suddenly, everything around you fades as you drain her of her knowledge. The story flows in the air and you catch it, absorb it greedily, and you understand.
Every single move she makes, every single facial expression and every single beat of the music fills you with the story. Suddenly you find yourself sitting at her feet as she dances around you, telling you a story you've never heard of set to music you've never heard before, but you don't care. Right now all you want is to listen to this marvelous story and learn every detail you can.
The unfamiliar music wraps around you like a blanket, and you relax as you watch her dance, your sight, and hearing on overload. But it's okay… just this once, the overload is okay.
She keeps dancing, taking you through every step of the story and you feel like she has a tight hold of your hand as she moves effortlessly, dragging you with her towards the end of the story…
Reality snaps back as the music stops and she strikes her final pose, before the curtains close again and she leaves the stage.
You take several deep breaths as your heart rate settles down to normal levels, shaking your head as your vision clears and you wipe away some errant tears.
Your friend nudges you with an audible smirk, "Were you crying?" He jabbed, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
You growl a negative and turn away as the stage lights up in smoke and color for another dance.
The rest of the performance is mesmerizing as you watch her move, and you try to take in each emotion and each movement as your own.
Finally, the speaker talks about the final dance of the night where the dancer gives thanks to God, her teachers, and the audience for attending the performance.
She emerges on stage one last time, dancing her heart and soul out, giving testimony to her years of hard work and dedication and you can practically hear her screaming 'thank you' to everyone and everything for coming and supporting her. Her movements make her passions more than clear, but for a second you laugh a bit.
She's thanking you? Shouldn't you be thanking her? She was the one who took you on this amazing journey and led you through this amazing story. Without her, you never would have gotten this clear level of understanding, you would never have learned the story behind every movement.
Still, she dances until she settles back in the flower, and the stage lowers her back down from where she came.
The room erupts in applause as everyone rises to their feet, cheering, whistling, and clapping. You're among the louder cheerers and you clap until your hands sting with pain, but you don't care. The only thought in your mind is to try and tell her how wonderful the dance was, and you hone in on that thought as you leave the center, going out into the lobby.
However, having the thought and carrying it out were two different things entirely.
You manage to catch sight of her for three seconds before a crowd of family and others swarm her, blocking her form from your questing gaze and filling the air with jubilant exclamations.
After a few minutes, she comes away from the crowd and hugs you and the rest of your friends, then she is swarmed again by more eager parents and family.
Your words die in your throat as you realize that you're not going to be able to talk with her tonight, so you leave the lobby after saying your goodbyes.
Maybe she knows how much you care about her and how great you know she is… and you content yourself with that thought. She's been your friend for five years, and she knows you better than anyone… so she probably knows already.
If not, you'll probably write it all into a story and send it to her… you've always been better at writing than talking anyway
I hope you guys enjoyed the story! Seriously, watching my best friend dance was an incredible experience and I loved every minute of it.
Please leave a review, feel free to check out my other works, and have a great day!