Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Third time’s the charm

(Published in Business Standard on December 1, 2012)

So there was an international tango festival in Delhi last weekend. Yeah, who knew? Two sets of visiting teachers variously from the US, Australia and Mongolia, tango dancers from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Auroville, London, New York and god knows where else. Who knew, right? We had four nights of social dances and three days of workshops for six hours each day. I wore dresses, which regular readers of this column know to be totally, unthinkably, fish-doing-surya namaskars-on-the-living-room-sofa-y whacko. Who the hell knew.

I had to sort of elide all this for various employers: I’m swamped, very busy, freelancer you know, other nameless projects, strictly a need-to-know basis and you don’t need to know, get back to you on Monday. Oh don’t look at me like that. Nobody except another tango dancer would understand that a tango commitment is deadly serious. Still, here I am making a clean breast of it in public, so I might still go to heaven—though, with any luck, this good intention will lead me in the opposite direction, where I look forward to seeing most of my friends, as well as the greeting card that my mother will not have been able to resist dropping by for me on her way up, reading “I Told You So.”

There’s also been a longish comet tail to the festival—between the last event last Sunday and tomorrow, there will have been another five dance incidents. I’ve been so immersed in this stuff that I emerged and was astounded to discover that the world continued to spin: there’s a truce between Israel and Hamas, and India has a new political party devoted to the infamous mango people.

I’m saying all this to contextualise the following complaint: Oh, my feet.

I wake up every day with my toes numb. I’m not talking about pins and needles. There’s no feeling at all. In fact, I worry that I’m caught in some version of that tale about the little mermaid who felt that she was walking on knives. A stout-ish, greying little mermaid, but you get the picture. I didn’t know that feet could hurt so much. They usually just sit there at the end of your legs, holding you up, looking silly with their five fleshy fjords. They’re pretty sturdy. Occasionally it’s nice to get someone to massage them, but I’ve never before gotten to the point where a massage turns out to be an emergency medical requirement.

It’s the high heels, you know. I’ve never had foot problems because I’ve never worn heels. If there is a down to tango, it’s the up of the footwear—and mine aren’t even very high. The US Department of Health has a page on foot care in their ‘health and ageing’ section, which warns against heels, because they can cause or exacerbate nerve inflammations called neuromas. I think I have a neuroma. I think I have two neuromas. I think I have diabetes, arthritis and peripheral artery disease. And maybe gallstones. I need to get my hands on The Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have, by Dennis DiClaudio.

Anyway, I know what you’re thinking—you haven’t filed your tax return yet. Neither have I. No, wait, that wasn’t it. I know you’re thinking that three columns on tango is really a bit much. Well, I’m going to have to tell the editor the same thing I’ll have to tell the tax people: I’m swamped, very busy, freelancer you know, other nameless projects, strictly a need-to-know basis and you don’t need to know, get back to you on Monday.

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