Rhythm & Blues Chap 4: Break Free

R and B

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Chap 4: Break Free


Dadar station(Major Railway/Train Station in Mumbai, India)

“CHAIYAA! CHAIYA GARAM GARAM CHAIYA!!! Madam Chai?” (Tea! Tea! Hot hot Tea..! Madam Tea?)

Khanak woke up with a start and looked bleary eyed at the thin almost emaciated child with very bright eyes, who was extending a glass full of the milky brown brew. It took her a little while to realize where she was.

Then it all came back to her. What had transpired more than 24 hrs ago; the shock, the tears of anger and disappointment at being considered a liability by her uncle. Why hadn’t her parents  taken her along on their fatal journey? Then she wouldn’t been alive to face this day.

“Nahin chahiye.” (I don’t want it.) She shook her head in the negative.

“Madam..coolie (porter) ?”

“No thanks, mein theekh hoon!” (No thanks, I am fine!)

“Aho bai, tumcha samaan jast bhari aahe! Tumchaashi uchaalal janar nahi” (No madam, your bag is really heavy! You won’t be able to lift it!)

“Kya? Hindi mein bolo!” (What? Say in Hindi!)

“Madam aapka saaman bahut bhaari aahe! (Madam your luggage is very heavy!) Lifting very difficult!” The heavy set rotund and cheerful porter replied in an admixture of Hindi and English.

Everybody seems to be living a wonderful life except me.

“Meine jab nahin kaha toh nahin samjhe!?”(When I say no, I mean no, understand?) She replied sternly.

“Nahi bai saheb, mein uchalun ghein, tumchi je iccha asel te deun dya!” (No madam I will take it, you pay me whatever you wish!) Persisted the coolie now in Marathi tugging at the handle of her black suitcase trying to wrench it from her grasp.

“No you say whatever, but I won’t relent!” She shouted back clutching tightly at the article in contention in which she had hastily packed a few last minute essentials after making the decision to leave the dwelling which she’d called her home for 20+ years. That and she also held on to her shoulder bag as if her life depended on it because it contained all the money she called her own and the big wad of notes which her aunt had thrust into her hand upon chancing on her intentions.

“Okay Bubbly, even if I wish to I can’t ask you to stay because I know I won’t be able to change your uncle’s decision.”

Khanak nodded in agreement. She was yet to come across anyone as hard headed.

“But I will miss you a lot and so will Shreya!”

“Yes, I know. But I see no other option. I don’t want to get married before I make a name for myself, become somebody. At least I want to give it a fair try.” Khanak held her aunt’s hand in earnest. She loved her both as a mother and a friend.

“How will you go about it my child? Where will you go? You haven’t been much on your own at all. Sometimes I think we’ve both cloistered you too much.” Worry furrowed Komal’s brow.

“You meant well, no parent…” Khanak caught herself, “you did what you thought was best. Don’t bother. I’m a city girl and I can take care of myself.” She’d left her with those strong words.

So much for my confidence! Khanak thought as she got down from the train, her mind still a sea of conflicting thoughts and emotions. Have I been too impulsive? She glanced around nervously at the milieu of confused humanity around her; everybody seemed to be heading somewhere or the other, with not a second to spare.

Maybe I should’ve tried to reason with chachu? She wondered briefly before promptly dispelling the thought. No! Who am I trying to fool?  I’d have just bought myself permanent shackles! Khanak shivered at the terrifying image.

She picked her way towards the exit and dialed the number of a friend she knew who resided in Mumbai, working and living independently away from her family. Khanak had always admired her but never quite understood why she insisted on staying alone; but now she did.

She heard an automated voice message; “This is Vandana. Unfortunately I won’t be available for the next several days. I’m getting married!”

Khanak’s heart sank. Getting married? As far as she could remember, her friend had been determined to remain a spinster for the rest of her life but as things had changed for her, maybe they had for her Vandana too.

She sat down on her suitcase, feeling more despondent than ever. She didn’t want to give up after having come this far. Her hand groped for and found the card deep inside her purse. It was the only avenue left.


At Shantanu’s dance studio:


No response.

“Hey old Geezer!”

Still no answer.

A well built young man in figure flattering leotards stood tall performing warm up stretches at the barre before scheduled practice. He was puzzled to see his boss and art director,  who was usually as sharp and hands on as they come, particularly prior to an upcoming performance, was instead staring blankly at him not responding to things that were enough to make him burst a blood vessel!

He cannot ignore this though; it’s ingrained in his blood. So thinking Tarun relaxed his toes and thereby his ‘Pointe.’

“Tarun! What the hell do you think you are doing? Do you want to forgo your place?”

“Phew! And I was wondering if you’d an extra hot night!”

Shantanu shot him a suspicious look, “What do you mean?”

“The model at the party last night; she couldn’t keep her hands of you man! And I saw that she left with you. The inevitable had to happen right?”Tarun said with a sly wink. He’d always been envious of his boss’ ability to attract females like bees to a hive.

Shan laughed shaking his head, “my dear Don Juan. I dropped her home. She was way too drunk to even support her own weight. Besides I don’t care for desperate women.”

“Whatever you say Boss. But there is a drought going on here! Who cares whether it’s poison or manna, chow is chow right?”

“Man you’ll never learn. You are standing on a shaky foundation. You need a steadying feminine influence, unlike that sis of yours!”

“You are on the dot there boss!” Tarun laughed, doing a reverse flip on the mat.  He was very athletic and a complete natural. Shan felt lucky to have him as his lead dancer though he didn’t care to tell him so often.

“By the way, have you finalized the replacement for Tashu? Seems like she is unlikely to recover by the time the season begins.” Tarun finally posed the question that he’d been wanting to all along. He was used to having Tashu as a partner and to adapt to someone else would be tough work.

Shan looked at him thoughtfully not giving away the anxiety which had been gnawing at him ever since he’d heard about his favorite dancer’s accident. He didn’t want to raise a panic but he was also at a loss for what to do.

Just then his phone alerted him to a message.

“Hey where are you off to?”

“The answer to our problems.”Shan replied as he pulled a shirt over his T and rushed out the door; his face transformed like night into day.


“Ms. Mishra?”

“Huh?” Khanak woke up with a start, she had nodded off while sitting on a bench close to the entrance.

“Oh I, I’m sorry! I must have fallen asleep.” She said running her fingers hastily through her hair while staring wide eyed at the dashing figure that stood smiling in front of her; a perfect example of maleness. The one who dwarfed everybody with his very presence was openly checking her out from her head to toe, and clearly enjoying her confusion.

“I must look awful..,” she blurted out all of a sudden feeling terribly embarrassed and out of place. I shouldn’t have come, she lamented.  What can a guy like that want from me? He probably has a lot of other girls who look far better and are much more talented than me. He was probably pulling my leg when he offered me the leading part.

“No you look perfect!” Actually you look like a dream, a lovely dream. He admired her messed up hair, like a dark cloud pregnant with rain framing an unenhanced face that housed a pair of gorgeous black doe shaped eyes. But they looked quite distressed at the moment, he wondered why.

“Sorry, I, I came suddenly without any prior notice but the circumstances were such that..” she said twisting the end of her long tie and dye scarf around her fingers.

She’s just feeling awkward.

“Ahh..it’s fine, all I care is that you came! And for that I’m eternally grateful.” He said picking up her suitcase and hustling her out towards the parking lot.

“Are you sure you still want me?”

“Of course, I still want you” His husky whisper made her blush.

“I..I didn’t mean…”

“I know what you meant.” Shan casually dismissed it while prying open the trunk of his vintage Mustang.“Nice piece of work, isn’t she?” He remarked when he saw her examining the bright red car with interest. “It’s a gift from my grandfather and I simply love it. I love old cars. I collect them, it’s a hobby that I have.”

“Uhh..huh wait a minute!” He said running to the passenger side and holding the door open.

A man of the moment who takes pride in old things and is also chivalrous. How refreshing! Khanak thought as she settled herself in the not so comfortable seat.

“Sorry, one bad thing about these old rides is that their seats are made with no consideration for delicate behinds.  but I didn’t want to refurbish it, then it wouldn’t be  vintage anymore.” He said reversing the vehicle while cursing himself. ****! I should have brought the Jag! Girls don’t care about classics!


“Down Horse, down!” Shan roared at his Akita who had taken the opportunity to jump out of the back seat and onto Khanak’s lap. He then proceeded to lick her face clean while she trembled with wide eyed shock.

“****! Sorry. He’s usually very shy, and he hates all my girl friends. But it seems like he has taken a particular liking to you.” Shan said grabbing Horse by the scruff of his neck and dragging him off her. DARN! One bad move after another! But how would I know that Horse doesn’t really suffer from misogyny, rather he is afflicted by jealousy, plain and simple!

“I apologize, I thought I had left him at home but he has this strange habit of finding his way into my car. He hounds me you see! Yes, hounds me!” Shan laughed out loud at his own joke while she simply stared back, not yet recovered from the onslaught of the large creature who was now chewing happily on the end of her scarf.

“Sorry.., I didn’t mean to but it is quite funny.” He handed her a tissue box which she grabbed from him after throwing a frightened glance at Horse who had no intention of releasing her scarf. “You better give up, it has now become his chew toy..I owe you a dupatta too!”

God where have I landed? “It’s alright..,” She shook her head, “And he didn’t bite me. I should at least be happy for that.” She sighed.

“Yeah! I love this song. Don’t you?”Shan said turning the volume loud on the car radio, jamming along moving with the music.


(from the Hindi movie Rockstar)

Ting linga linga linga

Ting linga linga linga…..

[ho ho….] 

Katiya karun Kateya karoon

Tera roo katiya karoon

Tera roo tera roo tera roo roo roo….

Saari raatein kateya karoon

Katiya karoon kateya karoon

Saari raatein katiya karoon

Katiya karoon kateya karoon

Saari raatein kateya karoon


Saara din socha vich langda

Tere nahi hun jeeti maroon


Eh tann mera…. charkha ha ha..hove

Hove ulfat yaar di….

Chitta roo…


Ting linga linga linga

Ting linga linga linga…..


Nachdi phiru tabdi phiru

Geeli main napdi phiru

Hadd karoon hadd karoon hadd karoon roo roo……

Yaara bhulle lutiya karoon.. lutiya karoon lutiya karoon

Yaara bhulle lutiya karoon

lutiya karoon lutiya karoon

Yaara bhulle lutiya karoon

Mainu darr hun nahi o jag da

Tere lai hun jeeyun te maroon


I will spin, will spin

your cotton, I’ll spin

your cotton ..your cotton…

I’ll spin cotton all night

I will spin, will spin

I’ll spin cotton all night

Day passes while thinking

I will live and die for you


I keep jumping, dancing

I nab the sticks

I reach the limits, the limits

Yaara (my love), I am enjoying myself

I am not afraid anymore

I will live and die for you


I will spin cotton all night…

She smiled, “Yes, it’s a nice song.”

“Isn’t it just awesome?  Didn’t you love the movie too?”

She shook her head, “I don’t watch a lot of movies.”

“What?! YOU DON’T WATCH MOVIES! Did I hear it right!” He glanced at her in disbelief.

“Hmm..I don’t find the time except on very few occasions.” She said absently while examining her chewed up shawl with disgust.

“Then what do you do? Meditate?”

“Uhm…most of my time is spent in riyaaz (practice,) while the rest in helping my chachi around the house, cleaning, cooking etc.. And yes the dance performances; that consumes a lot of time. Sometimes I go out with friends.., well my sister does more than me. My cousin..Shree.” Oh how much I will miss her!

“Then you are very gharelu (Homely).”

“Yes, I am. Is there anything wrong with that?!” She asked suddenly looking irked.

“Ahh..no, of course not! Which guy won’t like it if his girl friend or wife could cook? I for one would love it!” He declared aloud, trying to appease her.

“What? I’m not learning to cook because I want to impress my future husband! I’m doing so for myself and because I like it! Besides are there any rules that men shouldn’t cook and women should?” She flushed, irate.

“Hey..don’t get all worked up! I didn’t mean it that way! I too do so sometimes when Dibu, I mean my cook decides to take off without warning! I just felt ..umm I mean it’d feel good sometimes…a woman’s touch and all that you know.” He gave her his most disarming smile.

It failed to have the desired effect.

“What rubbish! A lot of men cook and they do so better than women! In these times women are equal to men in each and every field! And if both the partners work, why shouldn’t they also share household duties?” She asked, her eyes sparkling with self righteousness.

“Yes, I agree entirely!” He said watching her awestruck, she appeared to glow with an inner brilliance.

Wow! She’d be perfect for Jhansi ki Rani or maybe even Diana! Perhaps I should bring in a Roman Goddess element; experiment! He thought feeling excited.

“Grrrrowwwwwllllllll!!” Rumbled Horse…resting a huge paw on Khanak’s reluctant shoulder. He seemed to agree.


10 thoughts on “Rhythm & Blues Chap 4: Break Free

  1. Daisy Patel

    yayyayya khanak has come yayyyyy 😀
    awwww horse is so cutieee and sweet
    looking forward to this journey very very excited and thanks for long update 😀
    plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz simi update soon:D

  2. Anamika

    A beautiful story with aptly named chapters. The most exciting part about this is how you have weaved it around the elements of love and dance, and ofcourse it’s protagonists ‘Khanak’ and ‘Shaan’ from RBO. And I’m loving it. Want to read more… 🙂

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