This is Tarama, or maybe it's spelled Dharma, I'm not sure. That's not what's important, a Rajinikanth impersonator by any other name would be as much of my hero. Tarama is the Vembarali cinema dance troupe leader and happened to be the first person I met in the village. I was sitting in a tea stall drinking an obligatory cup of hot milk (pawl in Tamil) and started chatting with him. In about 30 seconds the small talk turned to Tamil cinema, the only topic that I can slap together a paragraph about and keep a Tamil speaking audience interested. When I told him I was a Rajinikanth fan, which is true in an I-think-he's-funny kind of way, his eyes lit up.
The next thing I knew I was in a strange room listening to a very loud and very distorted cassette recording of the title track from the film Padaiyappa. There was very little verbal communication in the half-hour or so that was to follow. Just Tarama performing Rajini's steps with- I know yer not going to believe me- more style than Rajni, and a crowd of onlookers cheering as I repeated his every move.
There is not enough hyperspace in hyperspace for me to fully articulate how happy this experience made me feel. First of all, I'm rarely one to get up and dance. (This is generally accurate, unless you are familiar with my flamboyant alter ego Cherri Rockbottom. Another story…) Flailing around with the guidance of my friend, who before my eyes metamorphosized into Superstar (Rajinikanth), I was feeling very much in the eye of the hurricane-moment that was now then. I didn't have a camera with me, so there were no worries to get the perfect snap shot, and I didn't have any inhibitions to get the crowd worked up either cause I knew I'd probably never see them again. I was just dancing and having a good time in this funky room.
Why do I call this room 'strange' and 'funky'? The reasons are many but one reason sticks out in my mind. When I first entered the room I saw to my left on the floor approximately a half a dozen newborn mice on the ground. Newborn mice so newborn that they were furless and pink and they're eyes hadn't opened yet. That's pretty strange and funky, no?
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