“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;”
Quote from Shakespeare’s ‘As you like it’..
If the entire ‘world is a stage’ and the stage is our life, ‘merely players’, who come into our life play their part in making a difference to our lives and leave memories either good or bad before exiting into oblivion once their part is done.
Everyone might have a player who left behind some memories….just like the one that I want to share with you.
Lost… Are We?
Youth festival is the season of fun, colour and cultural extravaganza in the life of every college student. Our University Youth Festival used to take us across the state to various colleges to compete in all forms of Arts, music and theatre competitions. It was period of high emotional dramas. Tempers rose high, tears flowed, and laughter echoed in the front and back stage. All who were present were ready to entertain and to be entertained. I loved being a part of College team, not on stage, but behind the stage as a college representatives or as we called it then, ‘Team Leaders’. Our job was to lead each set of performers to the venue and make all required arrangements, including paper works.
At one such festival venue, the stage and dressing room were in two different buildings and it was a 2 minute walk across an open pathway to reach each place. I was leading our team of Kathak dancers from the changing room when, halfway through; one of our participant’s costumes became undone on one side. There was no reason to fret; only another few more minutes of readjustment and the girl could have performed without a hitch. But as fate may have it, a group of boys seated on their Motorbikes nearby burst out laughing, passed rude and embarrassing remarks that were loud enough for other guests and participants in the area to notice the mishap. The poor girl ran back to the room crying and refused to come out for her performance. No matter how hard we all tried, she would not calm down. The rest of the dancers had to do perform without her, resulting in our perfect group dance number to receive no medals. Of course, when the blame was passed around, I had a finger pointed at me for not ensuring… ‘God only knows what!?’.
The whole evening, we drowned ourselves in disappointment at the outcome. A huge amount of money, efforts and patience was spent at perfecting the competition item. If anything went wrong, there were lot of answers and even more questions that got thrown around. But, the Show must go on. I continued with my assigned duties.
The next day, at a different venue, I was standing with another couple of contestants for their turn , when I heard some more snide remarks from behind us. When I looked around, I noticed that it was the same set of boys, who caused all the trouble the previous day. I was not yet over the previous day’s foul mood and seeing them again got me fuming all over. I was worried. If their comments discouraged our already tensed participants, I was going to be in big trouble. I glared at the boys.One of them, a tall dark broad built guy, who looked like their leader responded…
“OOO…the body guard lady is going to beat us up….I’m scared…mummyyyy”….. A roar of laughter erupted from the group. That was it… I lost my temper.
“Oh yes I would!! If you boys think you are being heroic by teasing us, then you do need some good spanking……”£$ %&*?@>”
I don’t remember what I said after that point. But I do know that once I got my entire anger out of my system, the whole hallway of the venue was quiet. The Chest number of our college was called and the contestants went in. I turned away from everyone and stood facing the ground outside. For the entire event, I stood like that, trying to control the tears that were threatening to ruin my tough performance. It was very rare that I lost my temper, but when I did, it would end in tears.
Thankfully by the time the participants came out, the boys had left, sparing me another round of whatever would have followed. The day went ahead uneventfully. Lucky for me, my performance was not publicized, so I was spared from the wrath of our convent sisters.
In the evening, the Clay modelling competition had only one participant from our college. The venue was in the lab building of another area. It was in the far out corner of the huge Campus which spread out in about 3 acres of forest woods and the buildings were spaced out by a few Kilometres to each other. It was not possible to walk from the main building/venue to the lab building, where the competition was kept. We were dropped off by the college van. The van had to leave for commuting other contestants from various other venues, and we hoped to catch a lift from the host college representatives. The competition was scheduled for 3.00pm in the afternoon, and we hoped to leave by 5.00pm. However, the event got delayed by nearly two hours. The contestant’s father was present with his scooter to take her away as soon as the event was over. Clay modelling was a messy affair and she was almost half covered in mud and clay. I was not worried as there were plenty of people at the venue and a painting competition still in progress. It would be easy to catch a ride to the main gate. I went up to the top floor to finish the closing paper works, as was my responsibility. There was a queue to wait out. I was the last to finish the paper work. Since, it was nearly 30 minute ride back to our accommodations; I stopped to use the wash room.
When I came down the building, the area was deserted and it was quite late, almost 7.30pm. The street lights were spaced far out barely showing the way out. It looked eerie. I tried to call a friend from my mobile; there was no range in the area. I cursed myself for not having sent a message with the contestant itself. I was wondering on what I should do, when I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around, thanking my stars for having someone else around and then I froze…
“Well, well…..Lost … Are we? He smiled. My heart sank.
To be continued……..