Dancing on Ashes (Lovers)

Should someone ask me about my occupation,
I would say that I’m a lover’ she indulges in saying
‘Love is always what draws the course of my life’
Devyani looks at the sweating bodies around her
Senses the mix of excitement and exhaustion
After two hours of exhilarating dance
Precise stepping, grounded feet, nimble legs
Intricate and expressive waving arms
Hands and fingers telling tales of desire
Swinging hips and bouncing breasts
Serpentine spines and floating heads
Lascivious eyes and fluttering eyelashes…
‘Some women have to sweat more than others
to get a grip on their desires’ she often tells her students
Now Devyani asks them with a soft and smiling voice
To sit in the cross legged position - or the lotus for those who can
In order to close the session with a breathing exercise
‘Close your eyes and, as in the beginning of the class
Focus on your base chakra - the muladhara
Located between your anus and vagina
The root of Kundalini energy’
Her voice lowers and becomes monotonous, almost chanting
She allows herself a little bit of Hindi accent she otherwise doesn’t have
‘Breathe in through this center underneath the coccyx
The seat of the subconscious, the undiscovered
Where human and animal energies merge
And let your breath - prana - travel all the way up to...’
As she says so, she hears a deep and disdainful sigh
Ending in a little tongue click
‘All the way up to the sahasrara chakra at the crown of your head.’
A strong wave of bad vibes comes from Zsófia on the right
The girls sitting next to her seem slightly distressed
Though they try to remain concentrated and keep enjoying
The endorphin rush that brings fullness to the dance class
Devyani feels rising anger but continues talking with a toneless voice
‘Inhale and exhale deeply through your nose
Slow, deep inhalation
Slow and deep exhalation…’
Zsófia is not a dancer, but a trained yoga practitioner
Since she joined the class a few weeks ago
She’s been displaying righteous indignation at Devyani’s loose use
Of yogic concepts and terminology
Two weeks ago she started to argue in front of the other students
About mulabhanda, the perineal lock
How it totally didn’t make sense to introduce
Such an advanced Yogic practice to beginners
How dangerous it could become
And that she should know what kind of energies
She’s messing with, blah blah blah…
‘Zsófia you little fucker who do you think you are?
You think that you can teach me about the body!’ Devyani broods
Fuck me! I never meant to be a dance teacher
Any professional or just serious dancer could call me a fraud
But what I can teach to these white ass chicks makes them happy
It makes them feel alive and sexy
They will never be good dancers
Not the kind that can perform for an audience
But I can feel their sexuality and liveliness bloom through dance
It’s just beautiful’
Devyani loves women
She loves their hips, their breasts, their shoulders, their smiles
She finds vaginas the most complex yet beautiful thing ever
And the clitoris is an endless field of exploration – for her and others
With women she knows exactly what to share and when to surrender
She loves strong and sensual women, happy to be women
Women with jewels and tattoos (she’s a Suicide Girls early fan)
All the jobs she does for a living are about making women beautiful:
Nail paint, African style hair braiding, make-up for cabaret shows
This Bollywood dance class for Prinzlauerberg bachelorettes…
‘Thank you, Miladies, see you next week’
She lashes a significant stare at Zsófia with her kohl-laded eyes
And with a headshake invites her to stay in the studio
Zsófia starts folding her silken scarves on her thighs
Not looking at her until she comes near and starts to talk
‘Listen Zsófia, honestly I don’t give a shit about Yoga’
Devyani continues the conversation from the previous week
‘Indian people don’t practice Yoga anyway
Yoga is for white people, because yoga sells good
To me it is just another of these obscurantist burdens
That holds India back; it drains people from their desire
Inhibits sexuality, suppresses love and promotes submission
Who wants that but people like you, who have everything
And are not happy with it yet?’
Devyani surprises herself with the fierceness of her attack
She doesn’t really believe in what she says
But just wants to hurt the bitch and shut her up
‘But then why do you use pranayama and chakras?
And why wrongly, most of all?’ Zsófia laughs at her face
‘I just use these words to open up pathways
And it works; the hyper-oxygenation makes them high
And they have their dose of exotic mysticism!’
Zsófia shakes her head pityingly and inhales deeply
Obviously she prepares for a long principled speech
In the dressing room, the girls are giggling and trampling
They are now naked and like usual half wrestling, half tickling
Devyani lays her right hand on her thigh, loosening her arm
She lets her wide plain copper bangle slide over her wrist
And grips it tightly around her knuckles as an improvised cestus
A mean trick she made up in her street-fight years
And gave up for more than a decade
'Fuck Ahimsa' she snarls, and strikes Zsófia in the face.
Zsófia falls backwards on the floor, screeching with pain and shock
A bunch of startled naked girls rushes into the studio
Devyani stands there, surrounded by flustered nymphs
Her victim sobbing at her feet, her face in her hands
An ardent feeling of love and peace arising from deep inside
She closes her eyes and breathes deeply.