A mosquito hovered leisurely for a while over his left hand, before pissing him off with an assaultive plunge. He was drunk and had been gazing expectantly as it alighted- thirsty and erratic. He knew what it would be like. But when it itched, he cursed his fate with another shot.
It was then that he decided to start dancing. He is a hermit at parties. A loyal spectator to the desultory efforts of the twirling ones. What a waste of an art form, he had thought, as his migrating loyalties muddled into meditation.
He wondered who all the dancers were performing for. It was punctuated by the invasive alacrity of shrill invitations, tugs, and ushers that he resisted with somnolent smiles.
His anchorage was a political convenience. The music was overpowering and he loved the stool.
“I’m enjoying myself”, he announced occasionally, as if to reassure his generous companions, even when they were not around. He couldn’t dance. His body can’t.
And he was comfortable, domed by the alternate soundscape of torpid oral exertion, clinking glasses and hissing champagne – the fringes of the dancefloor that sheltered the awkward, the panting and the kinky. He had almost always belonged there.
The lambent halos sprinkled coruscations on him as he gingerly elbowed himself into the vigour of the dancefloor, reeling. When he stumbled into the jostle, he was asked by a voice he could vaguely identify why he was here. “Because mosquitoes”- he explained, and let himself be shoved. They whispered encouragements into his ears, and even recommended moves.
He looked around for mosquitoes. He looked at the space between the dancers, and how the collusive violations resembled an entropic cosmos. Pellucid chiaroscuro looked like outer space. It had been chronicled by many phone cameras as evidence of indulgence to be planted on satellites.
After being volleyed around, he decided to listen to the music for instructions.
A disc harnessed the night. A dashboard of mechanized moods offered gravitational dictations. The DJ shrieked sometimes, provocative and possessed. Little more subtly than God. There was eloquence in the abidance of the dancers. He began languorously following.
It was a house party. An opulent one, although seasonal, employing specially installed disco lights. The boy who threw it was now pretty dissolved in the pandemonium. It was an intimate, hectic gesture.
He preferred the entranced sways to the quakes. But he knew he would look ridiculous attempting it, so he shuddered to blur himself. One could always observe through the flickers, masquerades disintegrating momentarily in the trembling stampede.
There were sixteen people who were invited to this party, and the assembly of liquor, which lacked in design, was on the verge of depletion. The DJ, entrusted now with the destiny of the party, made the elated choice. The song that came to the rescue, though embellished by the screeches and taps, was humbly produced, and performed. And it was familiar.
It spoke of Medieval lust knocking at demure doors, luring ringing bells, beckoning dresses, and claiming seductive minutes. And it spoke fast, and minds stuck to it. And they remained thus stuck. He got stuck too. He started singing with it.
Hoots and whistles exploded in unison to receive the words. And screams. Frenetic in the delight of familiarity, the boys began jumping. They were all shouting out the song, their eyes ferocious and skins glossy, vibrating. They soared with each line.
And then as lunatic as the frenzy was, one of them hurriedly took off his shirt and whipped it on the floor acrobatically, trembling in the rapture. Erratic whistles of cheers.
Two more joined in. The shirts were all hoisted and swayed, and engraved tremulous invisible arcs mid-air. The bodies were exposed unapologetically and the ribs emphasized the effort in the swinging.
Just then, in the sporadic lights, one of the bare-bodied dancers could be distinguished. It was him. His hands reached for his belt in the same excitement, unbuckled it, slid it out and dropped it too. Some people did turn. Others kept dancing.
Then his fingers pushed the button of his jeans free, and the zip fluently parted. He shuffled, in his meditative boisterousness, and lowered it, slightly. By this time everyone had noticed, and the dancefloor was eerily still. He lowered it further, and danced out of it. All eyes turned to him and looked away and walked away. The pioneer of the undressing epidemic rushed backwards, in shock and disgust, cursing. And everything went off. No one moved a muscle. The song played on about deploying libido in earnest devotions. A mosquito floated around the supple whippings of his dancing parts.
Words: Deepro Roy
Edit: Amal Shiyas
Illustration: Sanika Palsikar