The only time anyone takes their course seriously in college, first year. And the introvert in me was finding it hard to make friends. I would avoid the canteen during break, and would run home every chance I’d get.
Then came the annual function, and the college was abuzz. Students were teaming up with friends for sporting events and dancing, and preparing for auditions. And in the age of digital circulars and announcements from college, mom found out about this. She was shocked when I told her I didn’t want to sing there, and decided to dare me to perform there.
The next morning I arrive at college with my guitar, and it worked like magic. Everyone wanted to talk to me, girls looked from the corner of their eyes and smile at me, and my facebook, that evening, had twenty new friend requests. Suddenly it seemed like I was a part of their college.
I registered my name for solo singing, and cleared the auditions with a lot of cheers from the other students. Rehearsals started, and then began the friendships and the bunking, and the late jamming sessions. I reached home late, and my mom had a look of triumph on her face.
The big day arrived. I wasn’t nervous; I had performed on stage before. I was supposed to sing “Tu jaane na” from the movie Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani, which was Atif Aslam’s freshly released song, and the only thing I was afraid of was forgetting the lyrics.
The performances started, and my name was finally called. I begin to sing, strumming on my guitar, and just as I am on the last stanza, my worst fears are realized and I forget the words. I felt my chest get heavy, and then an adrenaline rush, my mouth was about to go dry, and the sudden adrenaline rush instantaneously gave me an idea. I began to sing the sargam of the tune instead. The crowd was suddenly jostled awake into a cheer, and I was asked to encore!
The next day, I left my guitar at home, and the magic was gone. No one recognized me. I still got the occasional smiles and hellos, but it wasn’t like before. Then suddenly someone shouted out my name, I look back to see a boy walking towards me, “Big fan bro!” giving me a fist bump.
“Let’s get something to eat,” he said.
And I walked with him to the canteen, smiling.