Once upon a time, it so happened……
Way too old fashioned.
This was the day of my ‘calling’. I remember every bit of it so vividly. The scenes of anxiety, curiosity, excitement, achievement dance on the screen of my mind’s eye even today like it had happened just yesterday.
Moments of stupidity, astonishment , triumphant retreat all woven together make up the ‘blest’ day of my life. If I had known, that someday, I would be writing about this day, I wouldn’t have believed. But destiny had wished otherwise.
Mrs. U, my English teacher had given me this opportunity. And I shall remain indebted to her for this till my last breath.
There was a competition day organized by NIST, Brahmapur. The areas in which one could take part were several. There was art competition, like painting, poster-making, quiz competitions, etc.
The quiz competition was held at the end and it was the best among all the competitions. Since everyone could attend it, being in the audience section. The questions were a mix of intellectual and funny categories. And we, as the audience, had a lot of fun, seriously.
Now coming back to my narration, I had wanted to go in the poetry section because I loved writing poems and wished to try my chance in this field.
Sadly, as always, that idiot of a S interfered. S was my most irritating enemy. He was the boy of one of the most popular and senior teacher Mrs. A. And in DAV, children of the staff got every possible benefit they could.
Mrs. U was fond of me and so she wrote my name against the poetry section. Now the problem was that S too loved writing poems and so when he demanded, she was forced to strike off my name and enter his. You know, Mrs. U was actually new to our school and this Mrs.A had already worked for almost two decades. So she out of fear or respect whichever had to act this way. After that, being a concerned teacher, she tried to console me too.
But I wanted to take part in any section so that atleast I get a participation certificate. That time, CCE was in place and we had to work more in extra curricular activities. So, mam made me go in the short story writing competition.
I was filled with anguish but what could I do against such gross open forced partiality.
Now on the day of competition, I was feeling nervous a lot because I hadn’t ever in my life tried writing , leave alone story.
At the maximum, I had written a mere few pages in my journal, that too, if you are to judge, it will be negligible before what I can write today.
We all had experienced a grand day. We saw the whole campus of NIST, its very very big, you know. It has many buildings whose names are really fantastic, there is ‘OCTAGON’ which is the library-cum-dining hall ; then there is ‘GALLERIA’ ; and there’s the boys’ hostel . You ought to see those. Seriously, even the hostel’s view from outside was majestic. There were windows of glasses on the entire front side. Then they had kept dogs (different breeds) , there were emus , the small sized hares. There was the ornamental garden, xerophytic garden and what not.
Now,one by one, the competitions were getting over. I remember we, the story writing participants were shown into our room, by the ‘EUREKA’ club members. We were provided sheets, a pen and a topic read on the green-board –
“ As Nancy awakens to her new world……………..
After this, we had to continue and finish the story. I till today can’t say how I made up the story, purely imagination, creativity or just by chance God made me do that.
My plot was similar to any other article you’ll ever find in the newspaper combined with that in a film.
That girl,Nancy ; she goes infront of a mirror but doesn’t recognize her reflection. She has lost her memory. She enquires everyone who is she, where is she, somebody tells her how they found her. She then gradually remembers her past . The molestation she was tortured into, when she went to meet her boyfriend-cum-fiance . She then remembers her parents, she thinks they will be worrying about her, she remembers herself. Everything becomes crystal clear to her now. She wishes to go home as soon as possible.
So, this was precisely that story. I wished to keep that with me as a memory of my first story but those volunteer over there didn’t allow. I’m so happy now that I’ve remembered it almost lucidly.
The prize distribution was held in the main hall where the quiz had been conducted. That was the last part of the day. Categorically, the first three rankers were awarded with a seal alongwith the certificate.
I knew I can never make it but still, I wanted to hope a bit. You know, dil toh baccha hai ji, it doesn’t understand. Now, the anchorer utters, “ the third place for short story writing goes to………
My hopes get up but then she names a student X.
Okay, I knew I wouldn’t make it.
“and the second goes to………
Is it me? Is it me? My heart wishes so much.
And this prize goes to a Y.
Not the second, not even a third, first? , can’t even think in my wildest dreams.
A voice calls out through the speaker “ the first prize goes to SUSMITA TRIPATHY from DAV.”
Whose name she said? I’m not sure if I heard correctly.
Am I mistaken?
“Susmita Tripathy, come to the dais.
Susmita from DAV………
I hear it again, yet again.
My limbs have got cold. My legs have got wobbly, unable to budge. I’m struggling even to walk.
Even narrating this is causing goosebumps in me.
I walk down the stairs from my bench towards the dais, my walk is very unsteady, I’m afraid I might fall. Please God, let no one observe me. I’m physically present but my mind is not working.
I’m clueless. What did happen. I’ve become immune to human senses.
I have reached the dais, got the first seal in my life, and I’m struggling to smile at the photographer who’s there to capture the most privileged, yet in a way, awkward moment of my life. Because I had never expected this.
Indirectly S not only helped me achieve this but also this was the day, I finally had to believe what was I made for. I’m grateful to my most irritating enemy. He made me know my area of talent.
Someone rightly said, the wrong people teach you the right things in life.