There was a time in Goa when the ‘Jive’ craze was at its zenith and no guy was ‘cool’ unless he could jive well. During that time, I was ready to do anything to be seen as a hip youngster and decided to break the earthen ‘miller’ for the coins I had saved over months, to pay for dancing classes with Messias (I hope i spelt the name right!). Messias was a well-known dance teacher of all western dances of the time and gave lessons to most ‘left-footed’ couples for their ‘first dance’ at their wedding. I remember, how I approached him at his lovely Portuguese house in Aquem, Margao. He insisted that i bring my girlfriend along for the classes but during that time, I was having an issue with my girl and I told him so. He was very understanding and said he could try to play the girl’s part if I would be careful not to break his back on the low bends! I mastered the jive well but not well enough compared to all my other friends who experimented with new steps with their girlfriends!

I had another opportunity a couple of years later, to learn with Messias, when State Bank of India sponsored a carnival float. My dear friend and classmate, Jimmy was the lead dancer. I not only danced in the float but also assisted the art team to do an abstract painting on the canvas that provided the ‘skin’ to the huge fishing trawler that was built around the body of a truck. I learned then that dancing in carnival floats is no joke! It is bloody tiring! But then, the camaraderie and the fun that goes with it is all well worth it!

And yet many years from then, Sharmila D’Souza (College mate) and I took to the stage in Hyderabad, during the all-India meet for architectural students (National Association of Students of Architecture), and danced our way to a second prize for the ‘Tango’ dance presentation! The practices for the tango with a very good lady dancer from Fontainhas-Panjim (I forget her name!) were grueling but it all paid off in the end.

Although I loved dancing in those days when I maintained a great body through martial arts and football, I lost all interest after I had a ‘bifid disc’ during football. Everything went downhill for me as I could not do any active sport or exercise and I gained a lot of weight. Today, I look back and sigh as I watch my sons break a leg to all the modern beats … I believe all things pan out for good in the end! Absolutely NO REGRETS.

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