7 August 2019

Have you ever heard about the “Bop Bop” dance?

Most days, my 8AM call to my mom in India can be best described as a “scripted” conversation. She usually stays with the same set of topics. First would be the weather report – “Bhalo” means Good. Also means “It was sunny as heck; the clothes dried out very quickly on the clothesline”. “Baajey” means Bad. Which means “It rained today and I could not dry out the clothes properly”. An extreme case of “Baajey” would be “Bichchiri”. You and I refer to it as the “monsoons”.

She would then move on to complaining about my dad, updating about my sister and niece and mentioning about any phone conversations she might have had in the previous 24 hours with her siblings. That would be followed by she enquiring what my brother had said the previous day. Because, my 8:10AM call is always with my brother.

And then again, once in a while I dig my heels in and pick something she might have mentioned and just go down a few rabbit holes to make some memorable moments. There is a hilarious one about a “West Mall” (actually Qwest Mall), but I will talk about that later. Today it is about the “Bop Bop” dance.

A few days back, my mom informed me that my niece had started taking “Western Dance” classes. Most days I would just muse about the deep irony in my sister sending her daughter in India to Western Dance classes and my wife sending our daughters in America to Indian Classical dance classes and leave it at that. This particular day, I was feeling extra charitable and decided to just mess around with my mom.

“What is a Western Dance?”, I innocently asked her.
From the hemming and hawing on the other end of the line, you would be well advised to deduce that the question had completely taken the wind out of all the pride she had for her niece learning Western dance. She tried a few times to construct sentences and rolled them back. Finally this is what she came up with…

Aarey.. oi je.. haath pa chhore… abar komor dolai…
So, if you were to believe her, Western dances mean you desultorily flail your hands and legs about. And gyrate around your hips.

Barely able to control my laughter, I asked her if that was not true for most dances. Don’t ask me what kind of a question that was. I just needed to keep her busy while I hit the mute button to finish off my laughter.

Abar dekhbi bhishon laafalaafi korey. Puro body heliye day. Maajhey maajhey hotat dnariye jaay

That was too much even for me. I just could not help laughing out into the phone. She was trying to explain to me that in Western dances they jump about too much (I assume as compared to Indian dances). They tilt over their entire bodies. And then she mentioned apparently Western dancers come to abrupt stops in the middle of their dances!!

I do not have the faintest idea where she has seen any Western dances or what she was trying to describe. But just the visualization of what my mom thinks is a Western dance was too hilarious.

Perhaps the laughter touched her to the quick. And jolted her memory. She excitedly told me “Mon-e porechhe. O Bop Bop dance shikchhe”. (“I remember now! She is learning Bop Bop dancing”).

That did not help. I had to confess to her that I do not have the faintest idea about Western dancing and would not know what Bop Bop dancing is. Except that the name does align with a lot of “laafalaafi” (jumping around).

Anyways, after finishing up the call, I called up my sister…

Meye-takey phone ta de to” (I brushed her aside and told her I needed to talk to her daughter)

“What did you tell your grandmother? What dance are you learning?”, I asked.

“Why? Hip Hop”, she replied, confused.

Well, guess who was NOT confused any more? “Ah! Bop Bop! Now I get it” 🙂 🙂 🙂

My simple mom! I tell you!!!

I gotta go see her again! I will be sure to carry a video of a Bop Bop dance for her from America!

Posted August 7, 2019 by Rajib Roy in category "Family in India

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