Ringluia loved to dance but she couldn’t. Until her grandmother shared a secret with her.
The drums started to roll and music filled the air. The Cherow — bamboo stick dance had started. Girls jumped in between the sticks as they went Khatak Khatak. In and out the girls stepped between the sticks, never missing a beat. They were practising for the big festival next week in the capital city of Mizoram, Aizawl. Ringluia longed to dance at the festival too.
She took a deep breath and jumped in with the others,
But... suddenly, her foot caught between the bamboo sticks. She fell. ‘Ahhhh…!’ The teacher came running and picking her up said, “Ringluia! What are you up to? Girls who limp cannot dance, especially not the Cherow!”
A few students sniggered and one started to sing,
Crazy Ringluia - on the sticks
Crazy Ringluia’s feet – not quick
Crazy Ringluia off you go
Dancing’s not for you - you know!
“Maybe, they are right. Maybe, I should give up ever trying to dance. Loser! That’s what I am,” she mumbled as she walked home, her eyes filling with tears.
“Hoo-hoo! How are you?” she heard a familiar voice call out. It was her grandmother. Ringluia wiped her tears and hugged her.
“Helloo,” said Grandmother again. “Oh-oh! Why these tears in your beautiful eyes?”
“I want to dance, grandmother. But, my teacher says that I will never be able to.”
“Anyone can dance,” said Grandmother. “However, when you are different, you need to dance to a different song. The song in your heart!”
Holding Ringluia’s hand she stepped out into a clearing in the lush jungle where orchids bloomed and rhododendrons smiled along the sides.
“Dance, Ringluia, dance!” said Grandmother as she clapped out a tune, one two, one two.
Ringluia lifted her feet. First one, then the other and, she began to dance.
Tap-tap, tappity-tap went her feet, forwards and backwards and sidewards, too! In and out. In and out.
The music in her heart played loud and clear as her feet moved to the rhythm of the beat. She danced until the moon came out and smiled at her.
The next day, when the students had assembled for the dance practice, Ringluia jumped in between the bamboo sticks as they went Khatak Khatak.
“Ringluia!” shouted the teacher, “Why are you in there again?”
But Ringluia merely smiled and started to dance. In and out. In and out. Oh how she danced! All the students watched in wonder.
“Ringluia how did you learn to dance like that?” asked her bewildered teacher.
Ringluia stopped and said — “Everyone can dance, if they believe they can. Only, we must dance to the song in our hearts!”