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Why I Travel: Bipin Doshi

DANCING: A series of movements involving two partners where speed and rhythm match harmony with music.

It’s 2 am in the morning and I have been dancing since 8 pm last evening. My feet are throbbing. My eyes are burning because of the cigarette smoke and also because of the fact that it is the second night in a row that I am going to be staying up till 6 am in the morning just dancing. My bladder is bursting with my favorite Colombian beer. But I don’t want to stop dancing.

Nor do all the various entwined bodies around me. A lot of these dancing couples know each other. Even if they didn’t they wouldn’t care because there are complete strangers who are dancing with each other too. They savor each others touch and close movements and ask for more. They kiss, they hold each other, they just stare and dance, and they drink and eat each other with their eyes…

I have been trying to give words to my actions and these incredible sights and thoughts since the day I landed in Colombia. But I have not been able to for various reasons. The spectrum of emotions is too varied to write what I feel and unfortunately I stop feeling some of those the morning after heavy drinking and dancing. I tried very hard to write though…writing the next morning, writing the very night in drunken stupor, writing on my cell phone while in the loo at a club, thinking about it and re-thinking about it every time I danced, even listening to Latin music while writing.

What finally triggered this passage was the above definition of dancing that I heard, a few days ago, in an animated movie about robots. That definition is perfect. It describes exactly what dancing is and what it ought to be. But it is a perfect definition for robots. The definition did not mention the emotions that creep into you while dancing…the crucial ingredient that gives the flavor.

As I said the range of emotions is too varied to be put down into words. Dancing here feels many things at the same – It’s romantic, it’s sensuous, it’s powerful, it’s control, it’s freedom, it’s elixir of life, it’s dreamy, it’s forever, it’s perfect… As a matter of fact there is no one word that can describe the dancing that takes place in Colombia. It is nothing compared to the running around the trees, the random body movement or the impromptu massive choreographed fantasy group dance that is the unique staple diet of Indian movies that has been an example for me so far. Dancing in Colombia, like blood and life, is a part of this world but at the same time it takes you to a place that is completely apart.

For a person like me, who enjoyed being just an active spectator in pubs in India, the music, dance and the dancing couples of Colombia stirred in me a feeling, a need to dance that I never felt before. I find it hard to give a reason or proper explanation for saying that I am truly madly deeply in love with Colombians dancing…except that I am. The dancing of the passionate and the-oblivious-to-environment couples is orderly and synchronized but yet gives the feeling of complete freedom and desire. I do not know if it’s the new music that reached my ears and then mysteriously to my feet. Maybe it is the Colombian girls who can perfectly move their perfect hips. Maybe it’s the way they look at you and hold you when they dance. Maybe it is the intimacy that the Latin dances provide. Maybe it simply is the chemical reaction in the brain that splashes down to my heart and then to the rest of my body. Or maybe the strong local drinks that fuels all these feeling in my mind. Or maybe it is all of the above reasons. All these feelings drive me completely nuts…and I love every moment of it.

This is an excerpt from a journal entry by my friend Bipin Doshi. Bipin and I have been friends for almost a decade. Not too long ago he quit his ridiculously well paying job to go and live in Colombia for a year. He didn’t come back for close to two. The article was written while he was living and working in Bogota, where he arrived as an unsure tourist and left as a beloved friend, brother and teacher.

Note: Prior to his time in Colombia, Bipin had two left feet, no rhythm and was mortified of being asked to dance. I hear he can Salsa his butt off now!

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22 Responses to “Why I Travel: Bipin Doshi”

  1. Durga Vashisht says:

    awwwsome post. how did he get the teaching assignment? i would love to do this too

  2. Jyotsna Pawar says:

    It’s my dream to so to south america… right now i have to satisfy myself with salsa classes in bombay :(

  3. Deep Mahli says:

    lately i been meeting/reading abt many ppl taking gap yr in india. new trend or just coincidence? still its a gr8 idea

  4. Neeta P Kaushal says:

    Dancing is a vertical display of a horizontal desire ;)

  5. Sandhya Singh Pancholi says:

    Arrrriiiiba! something about latin music stirs my soul. so understand what ur saying bipin. great post!

  6. Shivansh Gera says:

    if i was with ‘perfect columbian hips, moving perfectly’ i’d love to salsa too ;) great going bro

  7. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by 100 Heroes Project, Tithiya. Tithiya said: Why I Travel: A Series «100 Heroes Project: Tithiya Sharma http://bit.ly/hHpuf3 How Bipin Doshi discovered his love for Salsa in Columbia [...]

  8. Namrata Dang says:

    How did you land up in Colombia of all places? wasn’t it dangerous? ND

  9. Jishnu Seth says:

    followed a tweet to your door step and i’m blown away! great blog, great project, great post. respect.

  10. Upasna Kangari says:

    im taking spanish classes in delhi. dont know why i chose it over french and mandarin. but i love the sound of the language, i loved it even before i knew what it meant
    does Bipin speak spanish? im sure he learnt while he was there.

  11. Vishnu Bhagat says:

    did u have to take toefel exam to qualify as a teacher? what credentials are needed and where to apply?

  12. Vedh Swami PK says:

    our human resource is our greatest strength, but if all the bright ones leave what will become of our country? im not discouraging, just posing an important question.

  13. Shalini K says:

    bipin ur exp sounds just WOW, did u fall in love with any perfect colombian? will you go back? how was it to come home after so long?

  14. Priyanka says:


  15. neema gurung says:

    do u keep in touch with friends made on the way? does FB help? any chances of meeting any one them again?

  16. Bipin Doshi says:

    Hey…thank you for your response to this post. Thanks a lot for putting it up Tithi, you are a sweetheart…and I hope my answers to the questions are satisfactory…cheers

    @Durga, Vishnu – I went through AIESEC. Their age limit is 30 yrs, which is what I loved ’cause I was one of the oldest guys to join them at the age of 28 (just cause i wanted to travel). No TOEFL required. But if you are not planning to go trough AIESEC then you might need to have TEFL certificate.
    @Deep – I thought I was the first one bur after/through my travel I met quite a lot of people who have been doing this since a long time…definitely not a trend.
    @Namrata – According to statistics Bogota is safer than New York. Colombia was a dangerous place but today it is one of the top 10 tourist destinations to go to. If you take precautions you shall be perfectly fine.
    @Upasana – Claro que si, hablo espanol. Yo la aprendi alla en Colombia. Pero hace un ano que no he hablado tanto :)
    @Shalini – Yes. Yes. I felt like someone had pressed the fast forward button in the cinema while I had gone to get some popcorn…quite lost!
    @Neema – I am still in touch with some of my close friends that I made there. FB helps a lot. I don’t chat with them everyday…but I know that I will always have a place to stay if I am going to where they are. As for meeting them again…I was fortunate enough to host couple of close friends 2 weeks ago. The departure at the airport was really tough.

  17. Shalini K says:

    awsooome! you should write a new article about why you like to travel… To find love! pleeeeease share details :)

  18. Upasna Kangari says:

    ja, ja, yo no soy muy bueno todavía. tal vez yo también debería ir a Colombia

  19. Himal Ghori says:

    is it hard to get visas for south america? can i get visa outside india? or best to get in advance?

  20. Tithiya says:

    Thanks Bipin! and thanks everyone for such a great response! Many more stories to come in this series. Feel free to email me your own adventures through the site.


  21. Mathang says:

    @Bipin: Marica, que chimba parce. Felicidades.

  22. Bipin Doshi says:

    @Himal- Getting my visa from Delhi wasn’t a problem at all. Friends who traveled from Colombia to other countries in Latin America did not have problems getting visas over there. Although it is difficult to predict the behavior of different embassies (or the consulars), it’s best to go with all possible papers and be prepared for a grilling from them.

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