Abhay does two really cool things. He knows how to use the nunchucks like the one Bruce Lee uses. You and him just call it sticks. The nunchucks that Abhay has are two wooden sticks with a metal chain in between that allows flexible movement while fighting. You only learn how to swing it left to right spinning it over and around your hands but Abhay uses it in such a modern way without doing any Kung Fu tricks. Abhay is also good at using a long stick to fight, you haven’t seen anything like it, it looks pretty cool. For some reason he doesn’t show people what he knows, it’s as if it’s embarrassing for him to be good at something. You too find it embarrassing going with the skateboard on the road trying to learn more tricks. You don’t see girls playing with skateboards and are afraid of what people might say.
You have big, baggy, blue jeans on. You wear baggy T-shirts.
I’m gonna blast your heart,
I’m gonna blast the heart of hearts...
da da dadada, datatat-ta dadada. (Moving left to right) Cross step and jump (moving right to left) Cross step and jump. Now spin, aaaaaaaaaaaand Break it down! Jump up (land with your legs apart), and finally the wipers (A step that seems like car wipers starting from two opposite directions moving inwards and outwards to bring your legs back together). You scream, “I’ve got the power!”
At school, you join a group "MDDActive.” Here you do arts and entertainment work after school on certain days. It isn’t the most professional school for arts right now. It is an activity that some public schools have for people who enjoy music, dance and acting. “MDDActive” stands for “Music, Drama, and Dance.” At MDDActive you get to know Pravashni better, she is with you in the programme and you both seem to have a lot in common. The school gets transport for those who join MDDActive. You and Pravashni have to go to Johannesburg for MDDActive.
You now have a new sense of style and buy things with your own money. You don’t want to show any skin. You close your body off completely. All anyone can see is your skinny arms and face. You hate boys, and having this kind of style is anti boy protection, it makes you feel safe. In fact it’s a good disguise and you like hip-hop. You’ve gotten better. Shalini even gets into it with you and teaches you new steps. Since Abhay and your father work, the salon is all yours. Vivek is never at home after school. That leaves you, Shalini and your mum. You always shut the door in the salon so that the music you dance to doesn’t interfere with your mum’s Indian radio station. Now you can do all kinds of moves with all kinds of beats.
Virsha has a boyfriend now. His name is Maxwell. The song “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” by the Beatles always comes to your head when Virsha says his name. Maxwell is cool. He’s Christian, dark in complexion, tall and thin. He has short hair, which stops right by his lower neck. He thinks you’re cool too, and that’s not normal for you, since everyone thinks you’re weird. He gels his hair and often touches his hair to see if it is set straight. Virsha always tries changing his style to how she likes it. Maxwell walks like a cool hip-hopper.
One day Virsha, Maxwell and you decide to go to the ice rink in Johannesburg. You never took a taxi on your own or with anyone else before. From Virsha’s house, it’s easier to catch the taxi. The taxi is a minibus, which fits in fifteen people including the driver. In South Africa, taxi accidents are common. Most drivers are reckless. Those who don’t have cars take taxis. Virsha’s mum takes a taxi to work. Right now, there is just one place and one taxi company in your town. The taxis go directly to Johannesburg. There are no buses taking you to other parts of Johannesburg. If you want to go to another part of Johannesburg, you would first get into Johannesburg and take a bus from there to go to where you want to go. The bus service in your town is not reliable; you don’t know where it goes half the time. Most people have cars or rely on taxis. Taxis are faster. You know it’s impossible for you to learn how to get around in Johannesburg and in other parts of Johannesburg. The transport system is a handicap to people. Virsha only knows how to get to Johannesburg and to the main places; the ice rink and cinema. You three go together, and it’s your first time in a taxi. You sit by the window in the second row. Luckily, there are three seats together, so you all sit together. Those who come last in groups sit in the free seats. It’s squashed, and hot. It’s like you all are being packed into a tin. You hardly have space. This minivan is just made to transport all you fish. As the driver leaves, people gather their money. A person in every row collects the money and passes it to the front. Before the driver leaves town, he goes slowly counting everything. Normally whoever is in the front seat makes it easy for the driver to count it all, and off you go. The taxi stops at the taxi rank in Johannesburg.
Dean was found in the park opposite Maxwell’s house where you all used to hang out once before. Maxwell tells you some member of a gang killed him. They didn’t find the murderer. Dean was stabbed with a screwdriver, which pierced his heart. The killer wasn’t looking to rob Dean. Maxwell said he had his gold ring and other valuable things still on him. It seems like the person who killed Dean knew him and wanted him dead. Dean was the only child of a divorced couple. You don’t want to go to the funeral alone, and finally get the guts to do it.
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