Saturday, 24 June 2006
The Awards Ceremony (Fiction)
And now we are going to announce the winners of our literary competition
My mind has become focused only on those words, and the world around me sounds like a buzz in the background. I have spent the last six months pondering over how I could have done. My poems are a door to my soul, and those poems’ being appreciated gives me an inexplicable high. I feel as if my soul has been liked and therefore, my being myself has been well accepted. I wait for my name to be called out. The wait grows longer and each second becomes longer than eternity. The sound of my name wants to reach my ears, like a lover longs for his love…
But that name never comes… My heart has fallen into the depths of gloom and a depression has swept and spread over me like a stain of ink spreads through a white cloth. Why wasn’t I chosen? Weren’t my thoughts good enough? The doorway to my soul hasn’t been opened and my thoughts are still captured within.
Happy faces of innocent beings surround me, and still I feel deserted in the sea of happiness. My mind cannot think beyond failure. The ceremony is going on, but my brain has stopped. Around me, I see those who have been awarded, and a pang of jealousy has crept up all over me. I feel an immense inferiority complex. Could I ever succeed in anything? I see my whole life flashing past me. There has always been someone who surpasses me in whatever I do. If I had 99.6 % in a subject, there was always somebody who scored a perfect 100%!
I draw myself away from the crowd…the crowd where I could see tranquility and satisfaction. The corner where I stand at is like a wall between me and the rest of the world. I find myself secluded. One by one everyone’s name is called out and with a twinkle in their eyes and a smile on their faces, they accept their awards. They are congratulated on the way back and their victory is shared by everyone. While I stand alone in the corner, a thrill is roaming through the delighted atmosphere.
And the last award for best short story goes to…
Nandini Rai… The sound rings in my ears and echoes through my whole body. I had given up hope by now…could this really be happening or is it yet another of my senseless illusions? My spirits soar up as I fuse through the crowd towards my award. My poems hadn’t been applauded, but that didn’t matter anymore. “What I call home”, my story has touched people and that’s all that satisfies me now. My thoughts were not in vain after all! More than pride, I can sense relief. I was am an outsider after all…
As I settle in my seat at the heart of the crowd, I find myself merging into that background buzz. Words, sounds sentences, laughs…they can all be distinguished now. The awards continue on, but I don’t expect anything more. Satisfaction splurges inside me and I don’t want anything more than lending my pride to my parents. Their happiness would only multiply my happiness by several notches!!
Once again, time has come to a standstill as I wait for the function to come to an end. Impatience and restlessness takes took over my mind. Pacing up and down seemed to be the most logical way to release my trapped energy, but the consideration of others around me has chained me to my seat.
And the award for Faculty Student of the Year goes to…
Nandini Rai! ... Unlike the last time, this time I feel numb. My best friend standing next to me, pushes me forward but my feet seemed to be weighing a thousand ton! The applause rings in my ears yet again and I catch hold of some of my senses, enough to walk up to the center of the stage, stretch out my right hand and display a grateful smile. Walking back seems to be an even more challenging task as on the way I have to stream through congratulating voices. Since I seem to have lost my own voice somewhere, all I can do is smile and nod like a spring-necked doll.
Did I deserve this? I didn’t find an answer to that question, but what I did find was a voice inside my head. A soft, angelic voice that is only saying one word…Hope! I can sense clarity, clearer than a glass lake. Giving up had cost me my smile, my hope. A smile lost once can be easily regained, but hope has to pass through many obstacles and tests to return to where it once belonged. I am sure of one thing now…that my mind has now become the permanent home of Hope.
My thoughts have finally been freed, but Hope is now captured for life!!