Tag Archives: Rhythm and Blues

Rhythm & Blues Chap 22: Overture


Chap 21

22: Overture


“You took my heart and this time I’m not sure if I want it back…”

The words had emerged spontaneously as if from somewhere deep inside. Shan hadn’t planned anything. It was as if his soul had blurted out what he’d felt all along but didn’t have the courage to accept and now that it was out in the open, he couldn’t turn his back on it because it was the truth. Plain and simple.

But how would Khanak react? Would she believe him? After all he had tried so hard to show her he wasn’t really involved.

He waited with baited breath and a lump in his throat.

She stood silently in front of him with her head bent. Her shiny hair expertly coiffed lay fashionably askew (Diva’s a genius!) and it so enhanced the elegant lines of her lovely neck that his hand raised instinctively to trace them with his fingertips.

She looked up suddenly startling him. Her color deepened contrasting beautifully with the pale pink of her dress. Their eyes met and for the briefest moment he thought he saw a glimmer of understanding in those deep pools of ebony.

They appeared to be searching, probing as if looking for something. What? Sincerity? He’d have given anything at the moment for the ability to read her mind.

Khanak looked away feeling flustered. A strange heat was spreading through her body. There was something in those brown eyes she hadn’t encountered before nor had she dared to.

“Khanak I…”

“Yes?” she turned her face eagerly toward him.

But he didn’t speak instead kept looking silently at her.


The impasse was thankfully broken by a loud knock on the door.

“Hey Shan! Are you there laat sahib?”

Shan opened the door, “Rohan you?”

The chubby twin leered on spying Khanak in the background and laughed, “Just what I suspected! Bacchu…When will you lose your bad habits?”

“Rohan. Watch your dirty little trap.” Shan felt himself growing livid over something that wouldn’t have concerned him a tad bit in the past.

“Hold on my boy! I’m sorry. Did I say something wrong?” Rohan said without taking his eyes off Khanak who seemed to be looking for a place to hide.

“Rohan…! Stay within your limits,” Shan said tersely while trying hard not to lose his cool.

The designer was taken aback, “Hey calm down. I didn’t mean anything…nothing at all. I apologize if you felt otherwise,” he nodded at Khanak. “I just came to ask you both to accompany me to the stage.”

“Be sure to watch it in the future or else you can wish away your VIP passes to Jhankaar’s opening night,” Shan said offering Khanak his arm.

That was enough to frighten Rohan into behaving and genuflecting in front of Khanak as if she was the Queen of England.


“How can he?”

“How can who Tash?”

“How can Shan?! Look at him! Look at the way he’s flaunting that bimbo on his arm!”

Tarun turned to give his full attention to Natasha who looked like she had bitten into a particularly smoking chili pepper; one of the ‘Habanero’ variety. Her face bright red, ears steaming, her whole body consumed with a jealous rage as she glowered at the very handsome couple striding arm in arm down the catwalk.

He smiled, “You mean Ms. Khanak Mishra right?”

“Whatever her name is, I don’t care! He cannot dare to pay attention to another woman in my presence!”

Tarun wasn’t in the mood for sympathy, “Well Tash…she is his lead dancer and very lovely too I might add.”

What? What did you just say Tarun?”

“He said exactly what he meant to Tash darling!” Diva breezed by with a bright smile and placed a sisterly palm on her arm. “For once he has spoken the truth. I guess that’s the magic of true beauty…” he sighed. “By the way did you like my artist act? You think I can be a future matinee idol?” He arched his head and appeared to rearrange an invisible strand of hair.

She flicked his hand away, a vicious light into her eyes, “Yes but only as a confused fag…and I can assure you you’ll find plenty of people to laugh at your sob story, me included.”

Diva remained unruffled…”at least I’ll have an audience but my darling you…” he flicked her chin up with a graceful forefinger, “… can kiss the limelight goodbye. From now on your rightful place is in the back benches.”

“Diva! How dare!”

But he had his eyes trained to the ramp, “OMGeee! Look at my lovelies! Don’t they look gorgeous! A match made in heaven! Gosh I need a tissue…” He sniffed and blew a kiss at the dashing pair.

The crowd got into the spirit and began a unified chant—“DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!”

Shan grinned and whispered something into Khanak’s ear. She in response colored prettily and nodded.

The models stepped aside cheering them as the music cued in.

The entire theater gasped as Khanak unclipped her dazzling crystal ensemble and flung it away to reveal an uneven lyrical dress in plum and pink. Shan, discarding his evening jacket took his scarf and fashioned it like a bandana around his head.

The following is a song from the Hindi movie Kisna

Hum Hain Iss Pal Yahan,

Jaane Ho Kal Kahan
Hum Miley Na Miley,

Hum Rahey Na Rahey


(We are here at this moment

Know not where we shall be the next

Though we may meet or not

Though we may live or die)


The rhythm of the song seemed to be in tandem with the beat of the heart as the pair split up and moved to the opposing ends of the stage.

Both appeared displaced in a melee, their eyes flitting around as if in search of a lost love.

Khanak stood on tip toe, her feet bare and assumed the arabesque where she stood on one leg while extending the other straight back then fluidly moved it up in the air and pointed it higher as the front of her body bent low in balance. Then beginning slow in adagio and picking up the tempo as in allegro she began doing quick pirouettes and jumps around the stage…her movements effortless almost as if she was suspended in space. Meanwhile Shan complimented her adding high leaps in the air leaving everyone enthralled.

Rahegi Sadaa Yahan,

Pyar Ki Ye Dastan

Sunengi sada jise

Yeh Zameen Aasmaan


(The story of our love

Shall remain always

Resonating forever

Through this earth and sky)

Both of the dancers looked distressed seeming unaware of where they really were.

After a great deal of effort they spotted one other. Smiling with relief they sprang into motion. Khanak leaped high doing an aerial split. Shan caught her by the waist and lifted her straight up above his head. Holding his gaze Khanak relaxed her body and draped herself over his shoulder as he gently lowered her to the ground and they ended in a tight lover’s embrace.

The crowd roared jumping collectively to their feet. The couple on the stage seemed taken by surprise then smiling with embarrassment they split apart and took their bows.


“Calm down Tash…you look like you are going to burst an artery!” Tarun’s voice rose in concern.

“Make way! Make way!” Diva appeared as the uppity crowd jostled with each other seeking to be introduced to Khanak.

She was riding high with a near perfect ballet/contemporary routine and Shan was by her side. It felt as if she had already met most of her goals.

Therefore when her gaze fell on Natasha who looked ready to make a meal out of her, she didn’t feel particularly threatened. Instead she schooled a pleasant smile on her face and extended a gracious hand—a gesture that was bluntly ignored by her rival.

Tash jumped to Shan’s side and clung to his arm; “My poor dear. How odd you must feel in the company of strangers. Don’t you worry, your favorite Tashu is back and I promise to never leave you alone again!” She said while aiming toxic barbs at Khanak who responded with a graceful smile.

Shan priced Tash’s fingers loose, “I prefer strangers to so called friends who are just waiting for the moment when they can pull the rug from under my feet.” He smiled at Khanak, “…besides Ms. Mishra is not a stranger. Rather she has become someone infinitely more precious.” At that something intimate appeared to pass between him and Khanak causing Diva to burst into a merry giggle.

So you may think but not for long! Tash thought spitefully before she declared with a dazzling smile— “I hope everyone, old acquaintances and new are going to join me in my welcome back bash tonight!”


PS: Excuse me for the delay in posting. I’ve been caught up in a lot of things– including putting the final touches to the manuscript of my upcoming novel MILAN to writing Book 2 of INCONVENIENT RELATIONS. I hope to make the intervals shorter in the future 🙂


Rhythm and Blues Chap 21: Lights


Chap 20

21: Lights

“Damn where is she?

“Shan I’m really pissed that you find your watch more attractive than your companion!” Natasha pouted.

You got that right, he mused while shooting off a text to Diva hoping Khanak would be with him.

“Shan I’m talking to you!”

“Where is Ms. Mishra? Wasn’t she supposed to be here tonight?” inquired Rohan Khatri, one of the designer twins who had opted to let his brother organize the entire show tonight, while he watched from the side lines.

“Ms. Mishra? Who is she?” Tashu asked casually.

Shan didn’t care to enlighten her, sure that she knew already, but was putting on an act of ignorance.

“Rohan is talking about Ms. Khanak Mishra, Jhankaar’s new lead dancer, isn’t she Shan?” Tarun drawled directing a sly smile at him.

“Yes she is!” Shan snapped back pretty sure that Tarun had a hand in Khanak’s disappearance tonight. I need to get to the bottom of this! He resolved but didn’t have time to act on his intentions as the show had already started.

Khatri’s summer collection was on display. Tall, thin dead pan models swayed their bony hips down the cat walk sporting various articles of clothing in bright summer colors.

While the women oohed and aahed and their men ogled at the skimpily clad girls, Shan didn’t see anything because Khanak had completely taken over his mind.

Just then…

“Ladies and gentlemen!” A widely beaming Roshan Khatri had taken the mike seemingly unable to contain his excitement. “We are indeed privileged that Jhankaar has chosen our venue to show off their latest acquisition…. their new lead; the gorgeous Ms. Khanak Mishra!”

Shan sat up, his blues abruptly driven away. She’s here! She didn’t let me down!

“I’m so sorry Shan that you have to make do with someone who is well below your usual level of expectations! Hope you’ll forgive me but you see I couldn’t help it..;” Natasha pouted.

“You better reserve your judgment for after you’ve seen the performance! You may be unpleasantly surprised!” He didn’t hear another word.

The curtains on the grand stage drew slowly apart unveiling a scene that resembled an artist’s studio. Canvases, paints and other paraphernalia lay scattered all over.

Shan was surprised when Diva appeared wearing a smock splattered with paint. But he wasn’t acting his usual happy self, instead he seemed in agony as he paced around like a wild man. He trashed the canvas he was working on and pulled at his hair, seeming utterly deranged. He was brilliant, he had captured the audience’s attention.

Appearing unable to handle the situation anymore, he finally went and stood in front of a shrouded canvas that occupied center stage. He pulled away the sheet revealing an unfinished painting of a girl in a veil. He hugged the canvas and broke into tears. It was clear he had fallen in love with his own creation and as a result was suffering the consequences. He collapsed on the floor in misery.

Then perhaps as if by the force of his incredible passion and love, the painting seemed to come to life.

The scene transformed into a dreamscape.

A slim graceful figure emerged slowly from the fog–her face hidden by a veil of gossamer blue.

The audience moved as one, their eyes glued on her, instinctively knowing they were about to witness something extraordinary, as her bell clad feet struck the floor, effortlessly keeping pace with the rhythm.

Shan smiled—Khanak was back where she belonged.

Glancing around him, he saw all eyes without exception were trained on the lone figure on stage as if bound by an invisible thread. Even Tash’s curiosity seemed perked.

He too moved to the edge of his seat, his pulse racing. Anxious. He did not want to miss the moment when her face would be revealed.


There was a collective sharp intake of breath as the danseuse, tossed her veil away revealing a visage that was exceptionally beautiful not only due to its exquisitely etched features rather more so for an untouched, untainted quality rarely encountered in showbiz.

Her loveliness was of a substance that dreams are made of. Something remote and unattainable.

She was like an ‘apsara’–a heavenly maiden who held in thrall not just her creator but each and everyone who laid eyes on her. With the allure of her wonderfully expressive face and the smooth elegant movements of her hands that moved seamlessly with her lithe body, she cast her spell.

The memories of the first time Shan had laid eyes on Khanak came flooding back when as Shakuntala, she had enchanted and held him captive. Yet this time the magic was reinforced several fold.

He had fallen head over heels and he fell again. This time quite willingly, offering little resistance as she interpreted the simple yet profound words of the song.

‘’Lat uljhi suljha ja baalam..’’

His eyes followed her in a trance as she danced down the catwalk and catching his gaze smiled mysteriously and motioned to him if he would care to rearrange her wild untamed tresses. He was urged to rush on to the stage and run his fingers through her hair. But was the very next moment he was swamped with envy when she turned toward someone else and asked him to set right the awry vermillion dot on her forehead.

‘’Maathe ki bindiya bikhar gayi hai..apne haath sajaa ja baalam.’’

Such was the power of her ‘abhinaya’ or art of expression that each member of the audience felt that she was personally conversing with him or her.

The rhythmic part of her dance was equally mesmerizing illustrated by her dynamic footwork and lightning quick pirouettes that made her skirt swirl around like a floating galaxy of glittering stars.

There was a pin drop silence in the auditorium when the music ended and Khanak held her finishing position.

Everyone let out a collective sigh. It was followed by a deafening roar as they all stood up to give her a standing ovation and inundated her with flowers.


Khanak collapsed into a chair in the green room. Her feet that had been flying across the large stage seemed now unable to hold her up anymore. She trembled with hands clasped over her flushed cheeks and said; “…they appeared to like me Diva.”

“Like you?!” Diva grasped her shoulders; “My dear, they loved you. Theyadored you! Didn’t you hear the clamor?”

“I…I did,” she replied. Her eyes were shining. “…and it was such a relief! I was worried as it was a fashion show with a western theme…would they accept an all Indian number?”

Diva broke into a loud guffaw, “if you are talking about the pretenders, then yes, there is no dearth of the kind. It is laughable when you see how they try to outdo each other trying to exhibit their…” he gestured with his fingers, “…phorenness and look down upon anything even faintly ‘Indian.’ But deep inside they cannot deny their roots and after all art does not have a language nor a country. If you are good at what you do, you’ll have no trouble finding people who will appreciate your work wherever you go, and that’s what it’s all about!”

Khanak nodded seeming relieved.

“You have arrived lady! Ms. Khanak Mishra has arrived! Just beware the likes of Tash, Tarun and co!” He had a broad beam on his face as he removed her new dress from the hanger.

Khanak’s face fell, “I saw her. She was sitting next to him, looking like a doll…so beautiful.”

“Yes. A painted doll! Khanak…!” He exclaimed in apparent frustration, “…how can I explain to you? Please don’t waste time comparing yourself with her or for that matter anyone else! I see it, the audience sees it and most important of all Shan sees it! You are different and hence unique! You’d stand out in any crowd! While most of them out there are engaged in pretending to be what they aren’t, Natasha included, you are comfortable in your own skin! With your abundance of talent and energy, you don’t have to fear anybody, rather they need to fear you! Did you get that?”

“Yes I got it. You don’t have to repeat that again. May I recommend you to anyone who needs a pep talk?” Khanak said giving Diva a tight hug.

“Oh..C’mon don’t make Diva blush!” But he looked pleased.
A loud banging on the door made them both jump.

“Khanak are you there? I need to see you!” They heard Shan yell.

“Diva! What will I do? How will I behave?” Khanak asked anxiously.

“My dear, you don’t have to do anything. Just follow his lead and trust your instincts.” He chuckled and walked over to the door and threw it open.

“What’s going on here?” Shan demanded barging in.

“Girl talk. Now she’s all yours.” Diva said cocking his head sassily to one side. “I think I better say hi to my old friend,” he winked suggestively at Khanak before sashaying out but not before blowing Shan a kiss that made him blush.

Khanak giggled nervously.


“Khanak I…” Shan began but had to stop as he felt an odd sensation of movement, as if he was about to fall. He almost staggered back against the door.

No girl ever before had had this effect on him.

In a halter neck antique rose Versace dress of silk tulle and georgette embroidered entirely in crystal Khanak looked so radiant and ethereal that he feared she’d disappear at any moment.

Her cheeks burned under his gaze. He found his voice at last, “you…”

“Were you pleased?” she asked, her brilliant eyes laced with anxiety.

“Pleased? By what…” He repeated before the implication of her words dawned on him. Damn! Only she can pose such a question! “Khanak! You better wipe off words like that from your dictionary” He continued approaching her, “I don’t know how to say it. You were phenomenal! Perhaps one of the best if not the best dance debuts on the Mumbai stage…” Then he dared to venture further as she shyly lowered her gaze—-“You took my heart and this time I’m not sure if I want it back.”


Below is my favorite rendering of this beautiful song—


Liking it so far. Please leave a few words in comment. 🙂