The Sacred Dance

It was the blast at a football stadium in Istanbul that turned Shams’ life upside down. Severely wounded in the attack, the 32-year-old well known fashion designer from one of the city’s illustrious families, took to the wheelchair after 40 days in the hospital. It was then that her fiancé, the scion of a leading industrial group, decided to part ways. Shams, who had always taken great pride in being a bold and beautiful young icon of Istanbul’s high society, became a social recluse.

For almost two years, she would never go out of the family bungalow, her bitterness further vitiating the atmosphere of the large joint family, which already had complexities of its own. Then, one day, she realised she did not want to stay with them, and requested her father to send her to Amasya, a beautiful little town in Northern Turkey, where they had their ancestral home.

He sent her to Amasya, thinking that her traumatised heart would find some peace in the sprawling heritage mansion, with its vast orchards and salubrious environs. Shams was alone here, with only her caretaker and the cook.

Unable to sleep at night, she would aimlessly move from room to room. One night, she had almost dozed off in front of the fireplace in the main hall, when she noticed some movements in the large mirror above it. She could see some swirling strands of light going round and round in circles. Did her sleep induced mind imagine it? Shams wondered.

The next night also she waited. And yes, it was there again. This time she could make out faint forms, who seemed like the whirling dervishes. Shams knew that the black and white floored hall has been witness to many spectacular happenings in the past. One of her forefathers was a revered Sufi mystic. She wondered if the dervishes had danced here during those times.

From that day onwards, her mind was gripped with finding answers to her questions. The days she would spend trying to locate information about her mystic ancestor and the whirling dervishes in the mansion’s old library. And at night she would sit in front of the fireplace, looking at the mirror, hoping to see some remnant of the sacred dance.

It is said that the walls and the environment absorb the energy imprint of whatever happens in its confines. While it might seem like a supernatural happening, but it is actually a natural phenomenon.

Sometimes Shams would cry, her heart filled with a strange ecstasy, watching the sacred dance. Then one night, she could hold herself back no longer, she forced herself out of her wheelchair and wobbled around, joining the forms in the mirror. Her steps could not match that of the dancing dervishes, but her spirit whirled with them. She would often fall, somehow pick herself up, and start again.

This continued for several months. Shams herself did not realise when she had no need for a wheelchair any longer. She could limp around the house with a walker. Her heart now needed no crutch though – it constantly soared in the sky, like a bird of freedom.

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