Only some get a second chance to relive one’s matric dance experience, especially a swift two years after it happened.
I remember the intense pressure of ensuring everything was ready; from the car to date and what I had planned to wear on the day. Well, I managed to get everything prepared in the nip of time.
Sadly, I got left at the altar. Nevertheless, I still looked stunning in a fine assortment of blue, accompanied by my legend of a brother, Brenwin Naidu, who took me there in the all-new Mercedes Benz G400d. I felt like Bond posing for pictures with the mesmerising, latest iteration of the Austrian-made behemoth.
Fast forward to the present, a good family friend, Dhiasha Naidoo, the head girl of Curro Waterfall and quite the brainy academic herself, asked me to accompany her. Of course, I was excited; a chance to dress up again, get a fantastic car organised and accompany a dashing young lady.
The choice of car was the main ingredient. If you remember the brand, I would have taken my cute Volkswagen UP, but that’s like attending the dance in a Tazz.
Fortunately, we pulled the heartstrings and organised a marvellous R2.5 million Lexus LX500d and the ravishing red Alfa Romeo Tonale Speciale, which sells for a not-too-inconsiderate R800 000. My first experience with the Italian beauty was exceptional and made the final decision harder.
Yes, the roads are less rife with the Alfa Romeo brand. Taste is peculiar to one’s pocket, and a desire to follow the German or Japanese crowd. Class is something else. Driving around in the Tonale, people were intrigued by its sheer beauty.
And on the class front, we also had the Lexus LX500d, which was “gangster”, if one could say, with all the bells, it also looked the part of being Luxe. I spent hours contemplating which one would be best.
In the end, we gladly used both. We turned up to the dance in the Lexus LX500d for the matric dance and went to the after-party in the funky Alfa Romeo Tonale. Dhiasha was spoilt for choice.
We arrived in the ice-white Lexus LX500d on the evening of the dance. It was a looker. So was Dhiasha.
Before the dance, I was enamoured by the mesmerising wheels that got us here. The cabin of the Lexus LX500d was lovely. It seemed minimal yet sophisticated in nature. The upholstery and leather applications were delectable. And the feel behind the wheel was simply supreme.
I came across several BMW, Porsche and Mercedes Benz. Not one to be with the in-crowd, I must say the Lexus LX500d stood out among the commoners in the parking lot. Mind you; the Alfa Romeo Tonale would have done the same.
The welcoming crowd rolled out the red carpet. Students rushed to support and cheer. I am curious if it was for the vehicle or for myself and Dhiasha. We looked gorgeous. There is an Indian custom to turn salt if one has too much of eyes on them to ward off evil spirits. We needed an ocean of salt. I was in a blue suit matching Dhiasha in her stunning blue dress.
As the red carpet was rolled for us, we set foot on it, making an entrance as we walked gracefully towards the venue while the school paparazzi took the pictures. The crowd cheered, ushering us in.
It felt like déjà vu. Only the last time, the belle of the ball flew solo, landing on a field in a helicopter that could have been a pumpkin carriage. It was nostalgic; the same sad speeches droned on, the laughter, the banter, and those funny heart-wrenching moments of release as one embarks on a brand-new journey.
Yet, it was epic. There was plenty of dancing sandwiched in between scrumptious meals. Bonding is inevitable over good food. When there’s bad food, we still bond – but complain and wish that everyone could cook like mom.
On the evening of the dance, Dhiasha was the Mistress of Ceremonies. Being an eloquent speaker (she gets it from her chirpy, smart mom), it was done quickly. Seeing the closeness and bittersweet moments of fellow friends, teachers also hit home. The reality is that the matric dance signals that one journey has come to an end. A brand new one awaits.
While moving on is not easy, ask me. I will tell you, maybe it is from my dad’s jeans, er genes. Witnessing the joy on the face of Dhiasha’s parents (her cool Dad must think he needs to get a gun to ward off the admirers urgently) and her little sister Jarita was special. Dhiasha’s grown, accomplished much, and even spoke to Chinese astronauts in space last year. Her future is bright as the red Alfa Romeo Tonale we switched after the dance for the Lexus LX500d.
Of course, I was the designated driver for just a few close friends and club-hopping responsibly. Since I drink nothing but tea or cappuccino with almond milk, I revelled in being the bodyguard, date and driver.
The experience provided a flashback to my matric dance two years earlier. It was a bittersweet blur. But no hard feelings. Or, in the words of Robbie William, there was no regret. They don’t work. I remember my brother Brenwin Naidu being there for me, fetching me in a swanky Mercedes Benz G400d and me dressing to the hills in my blue assortments of velvet, black and tan shoes. I looked the part. But that was then.
Matric Dance 2023 – thanks to Dhiasha – or her mom Rohenie, who asked Brenda, my mom, who then asked my dad, Edwin.
This was the ultimate way to re-write history, smile, and enjoy the moment. Inevitably, the wheels to get to the dance are an integral part of every story. Every car tells a story as one’s bumpy or easy school ride draws close. As Dhiasha Naidoo reaches for the stars, my two cents are that one must choose the path carefully.
If you ask nicely, I may be available in 2024 – the Volkswagen UP is always faithful too, if you need an escort.