“Prachi, do you realise it’s been almost a week since the day of submission and you’ve still not given me your assignment?”
“I’m sorry ma’am, I’ll positively submit it to you by tomorrow”, I replied diffidently, clearly knowing I wouldn’t be able to do so. My backlog was only mounting with each passing day as I tried to juggle between studies, notes and assignments. Despite all this, I tried to keep myself calm, always sport a smile and most importantly- not buckle under such pressure.
Even so, feeling the heat was inevitable. As I withdrew into a corner and pressed in the inner corners of my eyes with my thumb and forefinger, I prayed and hoped for this entire chaotic mess, which apparently included the class work, assignments, tests blah blah blah (in other words, the school itself) to simply implode!
The annual day preparations had by then started in full swing. It took me quite a while to decide whether or not I should take part. Knowing very well that I have to appear for board exams and studies are of paramount importance this year, I was initially very hesitant. But eventually I really didn’t care much and plunged into it headfirst! Reminiscences of the past year’s practice sessions and the endless fun I had were enough for me to convince and reassure myself and help me make up my mind in all firmness that this participation was a must and that this session being my last year in M.G.N, I won’t get another chance to be part of this extravaganza ever again.
The worry of pending assignments and incomplete work was always at the back of my mind and constantly interfered with my work while I was writing the dialogues for the skit. (Yes, English skit, that’s what I had participated in, both last year and this year.) More than anything else, what bothered me was how my unfinished work and recurrent absence in the class (mind you, I was NOT bunking, I just wanted to stay committed and sincere as far as the practices went which ultimately required my presence at the rehearsals all day long) would shape various teachers’ opinions about me. I feared them thinking of me as just another stereotypical excuse maker who fancied herself loitering about aimlessly in the school all day.
Nonetheless, I gradually brought myself to terms with this stark reality and learnt to cope with it. Somewhat. I had been entrusted with the mammoth and colossal task of penning down the dialogues, as I mentioned earlier. This was perhaps the only thing from the entire stockpile of other back breaking tasks that I enjoyed and something that I could pull off effortlessly (My hobby of blogging probably shows my love for writing :P). The rough framework of the skit had more or less been prepared. But writing the dialogues certainly involved a lot of brainstorming and deliberation. All characters of the skit were actively involved in this and thank god for that! A majority of them though only shot the bull when it came to giving inputs. There were only a handful who provided ideas that were sane enough to be incorporated in the script. However it were these absolutely nonsensical and silly suggestions many gave that ultimately made for the fondest of memories! :’).
Now the biggest jeopardy that we were faced with was finding quality actors. Unlike places where there’s often a beeline of people trying to audition for even the pettiest of roles, here even after having cherry picked a few select probables, one couldn’t help feel tentative. It’s not that people here lack talent or passion, it’s the exponentially high consciousness quotient and the Oh!-What’ll-the-people-say attitude that keeps them from unleashing their true potential. And for the few who had been convinced with great difficulty to take part, their ridiculous demands for amendments in the script and the endless time they bought for learning merely a word or two (it’ll be impractical to even term that as a dialogue) were demoralizing enough for many of us to assume that this play would turn out to be nothing but a flop show.
And the worst part was that the very same people who demanded our much valued time and patience later very clandestinely slipped out through the back door without letting us get the slightest hint that the back breaking task of looking for suitable actors wasn’t going to be over anytime soon. And when we did find out, it was quite unequivocally an egg in our face. But the treachery of a few cowards really couldn’t hold us back. As they say- The show must go on, and it did.
So our brigade of 17- Shikhar, Bhavleen, Harshan, Ripan, Manjot, Priya, Akash, Aakarshan, Ishmeet, Gurkirat, Raghav, Charvi, Jasleen, Aadi Bhaiya, Anmol, myself and our commander-in-chief Rohini ma’m got down to work. Once a particular set of dialogues was prepared the tedious job of making the characters learn it and that too with the right expressions would begin. But it was here that the real fun lied. The entire day we would spend in making merry. And rehearse with the same amount of vigour as well. So we struck just the right balance between the two. And suddenly in the middle of all this fun and frolic, all my assignments seemed complete. My worries about the pending notes seemed to have drifted away to Antarctica and I felt as though there were ages to come before the exams began.
Then came the day for the mother of all tasks- Recording. Even before we could prepare anything in entirety, we were supposed to record the entire skit and then perform it that very evening in front of our Principal and other senior members of the faculty. By the looks of how our recording session was progressing, I’d roughly got a whiff that we were gonna make a complete pig’s ear out of everything. Little did I know that that was indeed a hint of something much more disastrous that was coming our way. Fun and play somehow always occupied the top slot in our list of priorities. The recording session was no exception. While the entire skit was about 10-15 minutes long, even 6 hours weren’t enough for us to record all the dialogues. When the last bell rang, we still had 3 scenes that were left to record. We decided that we’d record those in the evening practices and hence everybody was asked to come a little earlier than the scheduled time. Here too, things just didn’t seem to fall in place. Some went back home to change into the right uniform, some had been caught by the police for rash driving, some were in no mood to get themselves excused from their tuitions a little earlier and then me- I rushed back home to get the pen drive that I’d earlier forgotten which contained the partly recorded skit. Gaawwd! (Somebody give us an award for how much chaos we were in). And just minutes after we’d begun recording the remaining scenes, came the call for our turn to perform on stage. We stared transfixed at each other.
“And the recording?”, said once of us. That was only an audible form of the question that was echoing inside each one of our minds but none had the guts to ask out loud. All we knew was that this was going to be our first official stage rehearsal, which would, within a few minutes become synonymous with the word “Faux Pas”. Perhaps the biggest one M.G.N had seen in years. So we strode towards the stage, lips clenched, silently praying for some miracle to happen that could save us the brickbats that would ensue.
And then it started. As soon as the first dialogue played out, not a word could be assimilated by any of us, let alone the audience. Even the loudspeakers seemed indignant. It sounded as though someone had held a microphone against an age old broken transistor. Nearly every second dialogue was missing and what instead played out was all the gobbledygook that happened in the background while the recording was underway. And finally the horror film ended, only for the next one to begin. This one being much scarier. The royal screaming we received would even make Osama Bin Laden shudder. We had been served an ultimatum, either to record the entire skit all over again by noon the next day or forget that there was ever going to be any English skit.
This time, we put in every ounce of devotion and commitment we could muster and the recording session progressed like one would wish for it to, save the enjoyment part. And that evening we defied all the criticism and questions that were hurled at us the day before. A sense of achievement had begun to seep in. Even though there was a long time to go for the final show, lots of flaws that still needed to be worked on, we felt like we had achieved a lot already. And since then there was no looking back. With every rehearsal, our performance only got finer and it was on the day of the final show- 10th November 2013 that we really took the entire school by storm. The feedback and reviews were overwhelming. Many said that it was the highlight of the entire function and that nothing else could match up to it.
Getting such appreciation is what makes u realize that all the hardships, commitment and criticism (not to mention the money splurged on outfits, hair and make-up :P) was entirely worth it. The biggest and the most important thing that I learnt out of this experience is that no matter what it takes for you indulge in a bit of fun, you should. Even though these rehearsals forced me to miss classes for over two weeks, I have no regrets. It’s making memories that ultimately matters. THE NEED TO MAKE MERRY IS INEVITABLE AND SHOULDN’T EVER BE NEGLECTED. When 10 years down the line, I’ll reflect light on past, it’s these memories that are going to make me smile, and not the satisfaction of having completed assignments or notes in time.
My heartfelt thanks to our supervisor Mrs. Rohini Kapoor who made this entire affair a success. Ma’am, you’re the best! 😀 A big thanks to all of you- Jasleen, Shikhar, Bhavleen, Akash, Aakarshan, Ishmeet, Aadi Bhaiya, Gurkirat, Raghav, Charvi, Harshan, Ripan, Manjot, Priya and Anmol. You guys gave me this blog and MOGE WALA KAAND will stay etched in my memory forever. 😛 Thanks are due to Aadi Bhaiya as well. Thank you so much for the unconditional help that you extended whenever I couldn’t find headway. 😀 And last but certainly not the least, M.G.N Public School, Kapurthala- you are the best thing that ever happened to me. May you live eternally.