Yes, it was me, the mumbling rambling Anuj Tikku, at times, barely able to carry myself through the floors, lifts and cabins of our grand cruise ship. The six-deck ship had its own dining room and a Salsa dance room pepped up by a live orchestra. I just couldn’t resist and had a few glasses of champagne and was tipsy, to say the least. “Hey, mister from Mumbai. You dance, my man. This is all for you, Salsa, you need it. Dance is good exercise.” A French gentleman who looked like the sailor Captain Haddock from Tintin comics urged me on to shake a leg and that’s what I did. I danced in the middle of fifty people with an Argentinian dance instructor called Wella. It was amazing. The sea breeze blew through carrying with it the sounds of saxophone, trumpets, guitar and drums. It was full-on Salsa. You would occasionally catch a hint of the smell of salmon or crab, sweet wine mingles with fruitcake. Ahh, the smell of food and wine entangled with strings of music.
Wella wore a short skirt like a frill which would rotate in the air as she would vigorously swirl from side to side showing me the winner points of Salsa. I just couldn’t figure out how she did the turn and moves with such ease and grace. She had powerful legs and a strong toe with soft heels which gave her the cushion that she needed to dance on the wooden floor. Yes, it was the lovely Wella with little brown frizzles on her face and blue emerald eyes. I was enjoying doing the Indian version of the Bharatanatyam mixed with a bit of Salsa. At times, I also tried doing the Salsa like a Kathak dancer with all the Mudras intact as I did my twirls. But I was doing it with all my heart and looney moves. It must have been funny since two chaps from Korea started filming me through their phones and smiled at me. “You dance with heart. Heart very good.” The gentleman who was being oriental was a bit short in stature but he was egging me on with a two thumbs up. I couldn’t give a f**k since I was already in my own groove doing the Indian interpretations of the Salsa dance.
It became funnier for the others as even the waiter carrying the beef stew stopped for a while to take a look at my new number. It was sheer poetry in motion as the dark blue sea stared at us but it was not wild. That night, I was in a more contemplating mood enjoying myself. The cruise was steady and the music was mellow. On the outer deck, some folks smoked a cigar or two as the women sat on chairs drinking the latest cocktails. The lighting was soothing and the bar was full of scotch drinkers. A gentleman from India who was an eye surgeon from Nagpur spread himself from head to toe on the leather sofa. He also had a blanket to keep him cosy just in case there was a breeze. He lied down all snuggled up sipping a blue pineapple cocktail, no doubt some exotic stuff full of juicy fruits. “Yaar, you remind me of a cartoon character. You know that Bugs Bunny? Yeah, that guy Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner cartoons. Yes, they were called Looney Tunes.” He laughed as he reminded me of the famous cartoon character. “Yes, that was Looney Tunes and my dance performance should be called Looney Salsa.” I closed the night with a fine joke and headed off to my cabin still mumbling to myself.
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