My Odd Life: Cali And The Corner Of Unfulfilled Dreams

Gustavo, my salsa teacher, teaching me a few steps. Since no girl was ready to dance with me(That’s Gustavo, my salsa teacher, trying to teach me some steps, since no girl would dance with me)

Of all the challenges from The 12 Project, the one that I am about to take is probably the only one that deals with a negative emotion that I felt growing as a teenager. Like most of us, I loved parties and music as an adolescent. I still remember the party in college, the first time that I danced with girls. Despite the foot-tapping music, the best dance move I could come up with was tapping my feet really hard.

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I felt that I owned two left feet and lacked any grace whatsoever. Rather than enjoying the music, all I could think of how I looked while I was dancing. And while the pretty girl in front of me was smiling and probably sending some signals, I couldn’t help but feeling that she was mocking me.

Time went on and I continued to play my role of the guy with two left feet with elan. Dance never became my strong point(unless when I was drunk out of my senses, of course)hen, in 2010, I traveled through South America. And that’s when I first got introduced to poetry on the dance floor. Salsa.

I could not help but be in awe as I watched friends and strangers dance to the beat of the clave. They say a smile is the closest distance between two people. But when the two people are a man and a woman, I think it is salsa. And the dance makes everyone smile anyway.

The sad part was all I could do then was to sit and watch other people dancing. In a Bolivian night club, I vowed to learn salsa someday.

Equipped with this conviction I got back to Mumbai and joined a salsa class. My super strong conviction disappeared sooner than it had appeared. Long Mumbai train commutes and demanding clients ensured that my salsa shoes gathered dust in my house. The part of my house that I like to call the ‘corner of unfulfilled dreams’.But I guess, the desire did not die out. While designing The 12 Project I placed Salsa as one of the top things to learn. But not just that, I wanted to learn Salsa in a city where it pretty much defined the culture. Havana.

However, The 12 project changed, and I decided to learn Salsa in Cali, Colombia.

Cali is the Salsa capital of the world. Like a Colombian friend from Cali says, ‘Salsa rules everything’. Clearly, Salsa rules the nightlife, airwaves and the culture of Cali. This hot tropical city is known for its beautiful women and you guessed it right, Salsa clubs.

I am not the only foreigner to make it to this city to learn Salsa. Actually, the city attracts a lot of travelers who come here with the main purpose of learning or improving their Salsa skills.

Here is the challenge:

1. Can I fast-track Salsa learning and become a pro in one month?

2. Can I deconstruct learning and share some tips with others on accelerated learning?

3. Can I dance with 30 women on my last Salsa night in Cali?

Whatever the results, I will share them in honesty with all of you. And I am sure you can guess which part of the challenge I am looking forward to the most 😉

Stay tuned!

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