Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I am all nervous. First time on stage. I love dancing. I love singing too. Mother says I sing like a fox howling. I love singing. I know many songs by heart. I sing when I walk from home to school and back from school to home. I love dancing. I close all the doors and windows and dance for the songs I love. I wish I can properly learn to sing and dance like in movies. I love dancing and singing. There are no such learning places in Kombai. I am going to dance on stage today. I am very nervous.

It is annual festival in school. Sports events are all finished. This time of the year is a real festival time in school. Radhika won several prizes in sports. She runs very fast. There were other competitions too. They were all finished well before the actual celebration days. Anandhi won first prize in singing. I sang a good song too. I guess one has to sing a popular song to win the competition. I won a prize too. I came first in the essay competition. I was surprised.  It was sports day yesterday. I didn't run. I don't run. I don't do well in sports. Not my thingy. But I like the festive mood the sports day creates. I like to assist teachers in conducting competitions. It gets me involved in the fun. It is so exciting. I love sports day. I just cannot participate though. I love watching the excitement. It is so exciting.

I am dancing this year. Solo dance. Teacher borrowed clothes from some boys. Identities are kept secret so that they don't bully me later. I am gonna wear a hat too. It is to hide my long hair. It is not that I am playing a boy in the dance. It is just dancing in a boy's clothes hides all aspects of being a girl, my teacher told. It can disguise who I am too. It will be good. No one would know that it was me who danced. Hope it saves me from my family. They don't like me singing at home. Dance? They will kill me, if they come to know.

Our ground is really big. Middle school joins us for the celebrations, although I don't know in which event they join us. The stage is set up in the Middle School area. There is no hard separating line between the Middle School and the High School. Still we, the High School people don't go to the Middle School grounds. We have got proper grounds for proper games. It is all trees in the Middle School area. Tamarind trees. But it is good for the viewers to sit on as the ground under the trees as it is much cooler there.

We are all set and ready to perform. We are all waiting in the back stage. I can see the crowd from behind the stage. Some villagers have come to watch the show too. Some parents come to see their children getting prizes. Thankfully mine haven't come. It is all hazy for me. I cannot see any familiar face in the crowd.

I am going next. It is the famous duo dancing now. Disadvantage of being involved in performing is that you cannot see the show from the front. I have seen all the dances, all steps when practising. I have also seen all the performers in their full make up at the rehearsals. But it would be nice to watch the final version in full make up from the front. I can see it from the side here. Looks like the dance is a hit. I am next. I am next. I rehearse some of the steps and their sequences in my head closing my eyes.

"ha ha ha.... en ennam inippatheno (why my thinkings are so sweet?) ha ha ha..."

The announcement says my name. I go next. It is all hazy. The song starts. "ha ha ha"... I start the first step.. the music follows. I change the step. "en ennam inippatheno" ..The song continues. I concentrate on the next step and the next change. I remember that I have to move around on the entire stage as it is a solo dance. I move around and change steps to suit the music and the words. Before I knew, the song has finished. I bow and thank the crowd. I hear cheering.

All done. It was like automated. I don't remember anything. I didn't see anything. It is all done now. Teacher appreciated. I heard people clapping. Back to the changing room. I changed quickly . Ready to go home. Bye teacher.

You looked like Shivaji Ganesan! Some voice behind me commented while walking back home. Gosh. So they recognised! My head looking down and legs started walking fast. I must get home before anyone notices me.

There. I am nearly home. I see mother and Nahamani akka standing on the steps at the front of our house. They look a bit, not so happy. Hope it is all my imagination.

"So, I heard that you danced today. What have you done? What have you done? Is this why I raised you all these years........." Mother greeted me.


ammani said...

I laughed, I hoped (with the narrator), I agonised...excellent! And the trick is, you make it seem so easy. The last line's a killer.

Michelle said...

That one is very well written, prema. I could feel your stress!

Premalatha said...

Thanks Ammani.
//And the trick is, you make it seem so easy//
which one? dancing or doing things without even telling the parents or writing about it?

The last line's a killer.
Thanks. :-)

Thanks Michelle.

Michelle said...

For you, for all your wonderful stories here.


Hayden said...

a teacher of mind is fond of reminding us... until 150 years ago EVERYONE danced, sang, made art. Now we are told we can't. It is part of human spirit, and WE CAN.

a story well told (here by way of Michelle's blog)

Shyam said...

Prema, how beautifully written. So poignant.

Dont you ever say that you suck at English - or writing, for that matter! :)

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