Once the room fills with music,his feet moves in sync. With,the jigs and jives,hes soon all over the place,while his friends watch in awe and wonder. I am happiest while I am dancing, says Abdul Rahman,an 18-year-old boy from Nizamuddin Basti in South Delhi.
This Class XII students love for dancing has prompted him to open a dance academy in the locality. I found out that when I switch on the music and practise,other children of my area would gather outside my home and dance, he smiles. Everybody loves dancing.
Through him,children from the basti which is cramped with one-room tenements get to know various contemporary dance forms. I teach them the basic techniques of various types of dances like Salsa,Afro and Tandav, says Rahman.
Rahman was born and brought up in this squalor and poverty. His father,who did small jobs to support his family,died a few months before Rahman was born. Later,his mother had to take up odd jobs to earn a living for a family of six. Rahman,who has two brothers and two sisters,was the only one to go to school.
One of his elder brothers is fighting drug addiction. He keeps running away from the (rehabilitation) centre every now and then. He does nothing except ask for drugs. My mother is worried about him, says Rahman.
However,all this has not deterred him from pursuing his dream. He was in Class VIII when he joined Shiamak Davars dance classes. He was a student of Ibtida Shiksha Kendra,an afternoon school run by the DPS Mathura Road for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the society.
Struggling with his one-month-old academy,Twister Dance Academy,Rahman says,I started this academy during my summer vacations. And since I am yet to buy CDs,DVDs,amplifiers and other equipment,I am charging Rs 500 from the ones who want to learn.
Rahman teaches in two batches. While he charges fees for one of them,the other benefit from his expertise free of cost. They are the children of people who leave their homes early in the morning for cleaning the streets and picking up rags. These children have nowhere to go,so I teach them to dance for an hour or two, says Rahman.
His school teachers do not know of of this endeavour by Rahman. Suresh Singh,his school headmistress,says,I did not know that he had opened a dance academy. I am surprised and happy. She has,in fact,promised to give him CDs and DVDs.
His role model is Michael Jackson. He is the king, he says. I also like Shahid Kapur and Hrithik Roshan. While the music recedes in the background he walks away and says,I just want a chance to prove myself.