The quintessential wedding dancer!

Published: July 8, 2010

More than half of Pakistan is made up of cardboard men, out on the dance floor.

If you have family and friends (even enemies) living abroad, now will be the perfect time for them to make their annual pilgrimage to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and kill your vacation. It requires a gut made of steel to say “Oooh-how-lovely-to see-you” to the sudden lover of the Pak watan when all you want to do is mutter “I-hate-you, b$%&*”on repeat. It is always this time of the year, which makes coming back to the desiland for our wannabe firangis, fun (they’ll never admit to this).

There are rivers of mango juice, which flow with sweet sweet golden pulp, and there is an orgy of food because “hey, it’s halal.” Of course then there are the weddings -balley balley, shawa shawa– where it’s showdown between yahan kay log and wahan kay log.

It is a battlefield. The stage is set, the dance floor looks inviting and the props are ready. It is every man for himself especially when he/she is dancing in a group. The wedding dancers as you know, come in two varieties – the paid and the unpaid. In this piece, the unpaid lot takes the cake, as it is a lot more fun to watch the exploited. He/she religiously goes to the bride/groom’s house for months before the actual wedding date. Every day there is a grueling rehearsal. It is barter baby, the dancer’s soul for a plate of end-of-dance-session-biryani.

The Michael Jackson impersonator

He dances with people but he always looks different (not good different, mind you). His facial expressions scream contortion through the entire duration of the dance and his body jerks consistently. Even though the rest of the troupe wears a sort of a hideous green kameez and an orange duppatta (the dancer’s uniform), MJ’s reincarnation will not dance without his hat – it is sacrilegious. Imagine a Just beat it dance for Kajrare (shudder, horror).

The cardboard man

More than half of Pakistan is made up of cardboard men (and even women), who suddenly take an inclination to dancing at weddings. His moves are so bad that you are intrigued to watch him (remember the bad accident where you couldn’t peel your eyes off the scene?). He can only remember two steps and that too, unsynchronized. Often he is taken in because he is the groom’s only best friend in the whole world.

The dancer hero

He grew up on Bollywood. When most kids were listening to “twinkle twinkle little star” he was being force-fed a dose of  “merey sapnon ki raani kab ayegi tu.” For him ideals have revolved strictly around Mithun Chakraboty from disco dancer days, to Akshay Kumar and Shahid Kapoor (This category transcends to women too, the diehard Madhuri Dixit and Ashwariya Rai-Bachan fans*). He is the man to call at any wedding. He may be too desi for even a desi person but he knows the lyrics to any Indian song by heart. And his pelvic thrusts are a crowd pleaser (or er teaser?).

The look-at-me dancer

He is so groomed that it is heartbreaking. There are perfectly arched eyebrows, an immaculate blow dry and dye job for his locks and a seductive smile, which plays on his lips. His dances are completely synchronized and he dances in a beautiful liquid motion. It only makes you wish he was single but alas, all metro-men are taken by the not-so-metro ones!

The leader

She is a dancer. She is a martyr. There is sweat dripping from her eyebrow. Her kameez sticks to her back and she is the one they all look up to, at every dance. When she is not dancing, (God forbid) she is eyeing her flock of vulnerable protégé. She looks perfect and she dances with precision. Her motive (somewhat ulterior) in life is to bag a man (or his mother since we are still playing desi-desi game).

Come on everybody kar shawa shawa!

*I have never witnessed an unpaid female dancer do a pelvic thrust.

Heena Patel

Heena Patel

A happily unemployed graphic designer, Heena enjoys reading, cooking and blogging. Her favorite thing to do is laugh.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.