Ramayana Fragment – January 5, 2013

There’s this unfortunate moment in the dressing room when you’re trying to put on your jarik except that it’s supposed to be Jogja-style which you have no idea how to do and your dance teacher isn’t interested in helping you because she has her own makeup and costume to deal with. You look at the other girl who you’re dancing with instead, trying to copy the way she got her jarik to wrap around her waist and fall effortlessly down past her hip. You don’t even know which side to start wrapping from, so of course you start with the wrong side first, a mistake that your dance teacher catches from across the room. You’ve got the fabric upside down too, or twisted around, or something. She also points this out and you start rotating it, trying to get it right, but you have one of those moments when you can’t really understand Indonesian or English and the whole process takes much longer than it should.

You do eventually get the jarik wrapped and a red vest with tassels put on and (maybe) properly fastened. Your makeup is passable and your hair looks fantastic because your dance teacher did something with it while you were peering at your eyelids in your tiny handheld mirror. Still, you feel like a five-year-old who can’t dress herself. You don’t have time to wonder what the point is, though, because you’re standing backstage next to Hanuman and running through the choreography in your head and flipping your scarf one more time the weird Jogja way and reminding yourself of the only correction you consistently got during rehearsals: to be patient.

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