After that night I made sure that I was the first one on the field early morning and the last one to come off. Charlie Sir was happy and that made all the difference.
I didn’t take the shower, instead I used the deodorant. There was no time. He let me off just five minutes before five and I had the ballet at five minutes past five. I asked the cleaner to give me a lift on his bicycle. I was still late by no less than ten minutes. By now the gate keeper at Welham’s had become fond of me and I rushed straight to the hall without any need for verification. In the auditorium were girls dazzling in their full aura. Lady Penguin wasn’t exactly pleased to see me arrive.
Lady Penguin Patch-up: So Edward it seems you can’t find any space for the practice in your immaculately carved schedule.
Kalsh: Actually Madam, my name is Kalsh and I am just ten minutes late.
Lady Penguin Patch-up: Oh poor little boy. Listen and listen good (I had never seen her close-in on anyone like that before) I am the playwright here. This is my hall, my dialogues and my script. I am the lion of this jungle and you’re a lamb remember that. I won’t have any tom, dick or harry spoil my show.
Kalsh: Of course Madam. A magnificent piece of art like your play must never lose its flavour because of a trivial actor like me. (Unknowingly I was shivering, although I was pretty sure that lambs being raised in the big city needn’t fear the lions of wilderness.)
Lady Penguin Patch-up: Please try to understand. It is not my play. It’s our play. Feel the characters, feel the music, feel the tension, the emotions if you really want to live the play. Be the character ‘Edward’ throughout the day. See how he would react. Imagine him in you because until and unless you don’t do that. You cannot convince the audience that you’re Edward and this is your own story. (And she drooped into the seat, gasping for air or water or whatever it was.)
She was panting. A lady who used to be (otherwise) poised in a royal demeanour lost all reigns of self control just because I was late by ten minutes. I promised never to be late again. This helped in calming her flaring nostrils.
Then the girl on the left of Lady Penguin pulled me aside and informed me about her condition. Lady Penguin wasn’t a regular runoff the mill actress. She had some medical problems. She insisted on enjoying herself and made sure others enjoy themselves as well. She had never called anyone by their real names. So it was a lot of “Helen come here.”, “Scarlet do that.” and a lot of “Edward stand like this”.
It isn’t hard to imagine me as a piece of wrought iron with those two professors stationed on either end of the poles. One attracting me by female scents into a dance routine that I had began to love and the other threatening me with hierarchical demotions on the field of my fate.