During my school days, one of the stellar events of the year was the School Annual Day. That was the day when the students were honored with prizes for the academic and extracurricular performance, that was the day when we were allowed to wear clothes other than the same old dull uniform, that was the day when we were allowed to hang out in the school compound way in to the night and as the icing on the cake, that was the day when the students were given the opportunity to perform before a crowd.
The rehearsal for the events starts two to three months before the fateful day.The classes used to wind up an hour before the usual time and the non participants were shoved out of the classes by the performers to carry out their rehearsals in secrecy. The whole idea of belonging in a group and guarding the contents of the respective programs for the sake of last minute surprises appealed to me a lot. Not that I did not enjoy the whole free hour with my friends, but deep in my heart I nursed a secret desire to be one of ‘them’.
Singing and dancing never were my cup of tea. However, I always wanted to get a role in one of the plays. The process of selecting the students for these plays were totally unfair.There were no auditions and it was up to the teachers to decide whom they want in the events assigned under their supervision. When we were in our 9th grade, a group of us friends decided to act out the English play -A Christmas carol- by ourselves. We ourselves did the casting, which mostly consisted of us classmates ;we ourselves did the direction and our surprised English Sir gave us the nod to go ahead.
We surely had a lot of fun learning our lines and rehearsing for the play.The whole thing was a great experience, collecting the props, drawing the background images, deciding on the costumes, finalizing the background music with the orchestra ;all with little or no supervision! All of us had put in a lot of hard work and we had all our hearts and mind on it!
But then, all that starts well does not always end well. I was one of the Christmas ghost and had ‘visualized’ myself wearing light makeup and a pretty pink dress that my friend had agreed to lend. However, our teacher decided that the combination of a whitewashed face and a sack like white cloth would make the perfect Christmas Ghost. Totally disappointed at my hideous looks, I proceeded to the stage with a heavy heart. But what laid in store was even more heart breaking. The hanging mikes on the stage were not actually “functional”. For the plays, we were actually supposed to record our dialog and just lip sync to the replayed version.That was something we had not known,thanks to our amateur status . So we ended up having a stale-muted performance. The only good thing that night was that the crowd was decent enough to not boo :(.
We did go through a lot of teasing and ragging in months to come. I still don’t know where the photographs taken on that fateful day are, as I had ‘misplaced’ them lest I have to painfully encounter the whole disgraceful memories again.
After my 10th, I had switched school and thankfully, was able to bury the embarrassing episode behind. In my 12th,being the senior most students of the school, my class was approached for suggestions regarding an appropriate English play for the school day of my new school . I swear I did not open my mouth, but someone else came up with “The Christmas Carol”. I cringed in my seat when one another classmate, unaware of my stint, announced that two years ago the neighboring school(my old school) had enacted the same play and it was the most boring thing he had ever witnessed.
It would have been better if things were dropped at that point.But no, someone had to suddenly remember that I had been a part of it which lead to yet another round of laughter in the class. It goes without saying that I was not offered any role in the play that year as well 😦 and the world lost one great actor for ever 😉 !