Bhangra Class #1

Before I tell you about my first Bhangra class in all it’s glory, allow me to correct myself.

A word about correction. Parents and roommates have very few things in common, but one thing they will both do is tell you when you’re wrong.

As such, many thanks to former roommate and wonderful friend Julie for her accurate correction: in our Bhangra class at UBC we were not the only white people. As Julie aptly noted in her comment, it was a skill-based failure. Apparently my brain tried to justify my failure by blaming it on culture.

Okay. So Bhangra class numero uno in a city that has a large South Asian presence. In a word: not as bad as I feared.

I got there late. It was far away and google maps told me the community centre was on a dead-end road. I walked into a room which was, and this is accurate, filled with 7 South Asian adults. And no white people. Also, there was no one under 35 except for our instructor.

I gulped down my fear and feigned confidence.

I also noted that everyone in the room was wearing normal clothes and I was wearing work-out gear and runners. I avoided eye-contact and tried to look friendly. (I don’t think you can do both of those successfully, but I tried).

The class was actually for beginners as it claimed and I wasn’t too far behind my classmates. Although the instructor did tell me to stop “hopping”. Apparently I have white-girl rhythm and try to compensate by bouncing up and down at semi-rhythmic intervals.

Goals for this week:
1. Move hands and feet at the same time. C-O-O-R-D-I-N-A-T-I-O-N
2. Meet one person. (Besides giving the instructor my name at check-in).
3. Don’t be awkward.

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Words Are Funny Things

Here’s your chance to eavesdrop on our conversations.

Me: No. I wouldn’t say my hair is brown. Maybe…dirty blonde?
Varun: “Dirty blonde”? That sounds so bad. How about…sophisticated brown?
(I guess some idioms aren’t taught)

Me: (Reading a note that could have Hindi or English) What’s a “boon”?
Varun: A boon? A blessing or benefit.
Me: Oh.
Varun: (Giggling) You don’t know that? It’s an english word. Check dictionary.com and see if I’m right.
(He was)
Varun: Wow! I knew something in English that you didn’t; this happens so rarely!

Bhangra Class

“Am I insane”? This is the very question I asked myself as I clicked, “Proceed to Check-out” on our city’s recreation website.

Bhangra? Again?

Allow me to explain. Two years ago, when I moved to BC to be with Varun, we had just gotten engaged. We had also just returned from an incredible trip to India. In my never-ending quest to be a Bollywood star I got my roommate and we signed up for the university’s Bhangra class.

Although the majority of my memories of this class have been repressed, I remember two things:

1. We were two of the three white girls in the class.
2. We had no rhythm and certainly couldn’t “flap like an eagle”.

Why would I submit myself again to semi-public scrutiny and cultural humiliation?

Why does anyone ever do anything absurd? For love. I want our home to be one that is Indian and North American. I want our food, music, friends and conversations to be a blend of our backgrounds. I also want Indian friends. Bhangra class will definitely help me find lovely Indian girls, but I don’t know if they’ll want to be my friend after seeing me dance.

But there’s always pity points.

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