BOOK 1: Page 22, Para 2


Painting by Jen Eclipse
Painting by Jen Eclipse

Members of the alumni body, the teaching staff, the non teaching staff and even the principals of both the schools were waiting for the show to begin. I was not interested in delaying my exit. With my decorous school blazer on my shoulders I left the limelight in search of some peace, but the chilly air and the lonely road wasn’t comforting either. The hostel doors opened as I showed the gate keeper my special permission letter. I ignored the “Awe’s” and “oh’s” as I passed by the common room. Who would have imagined my dream year in Doon High would have such a pity Christmas? Climbing the stairs to my room was a herculean task and once atop I collapsed into my bed of sorrows. No dinner, no sweets, and no change of clothes. I was the laughing stock for over a week. Although I was bothered by their jibes but it never interfered with my focus on either studies or sports. The roots of my depression were not as shallow as their opinions. What they thought of me wasn’t important. What I had made out of myself was…

BOOK1: PAGE 20


Lady Penguin converted one of the empty rooms on the top floor into my green room because the official green room was an overcrowded raucous of sweet smelling girls. Moreover the colour on the walls was not “Green”. Unfortunately I had to go to the common make-up room.

I made quick work of my school uniform and took out form the bag my most prized possession- The Dress. It was pure white, the brightest shade ever. It had a matte finish, no beads no bands just plain white. The tights were quiet tight and I knew when I looked in the mirror that this suit was God sent. It was cold even inside the school but I did not cover-up. The chill of self importance accentuated my goose-pimpled body. So in a bid to be admired I marched towards the common room for make-up. My only refuge from the December chill was the school blazer which I took off with élan as I shut the door behind me.

To my surprise this common room was not exactly common. I saw twenty young girls, aged ten to seventeen in that room, in various stage of undress. Apart from the familiar faces there were sisters, mothers and cousins helping with the make-up and costumes. The uninhibited exhibition of female anatomy had a hitherto unknown affect on me. This was too much for my eyes although these girls seemed to neither notice my gaze nor my dress. It was not the right time to make a hero’s entrance so I came out. In fact I rushed to vomit what I had just seen and halted only when I reached the room next to the staircase. This was the last room leading to the stage. The only furniture was a huge mirror. And I stood there admiring my reflection.

BOOK1: Page 19, Para 1


The date was 23rd December, 2003. It was time for my first full dress rehearsal. Only the most important people from both the schools had been invited. A hitherto unfamiliar set of emotions took hold off me and an excitement which only a girl could experience after trying on a new costume overwhelmed me.

I reached the auditorium at 12 noon, although the rehearsal was scheduled for late evening. The girls and I utilized the extra time by practicing our lines over and over again. However we skipped the dance routines post lunch. Lady Penguin advised us not to over exert in the dry runs lest our final performance be drained of vigour.

BOOK1: Page 18


There was nothing wrong with the lights. My eyes had emoted and by the time I could see clearly those saline droplets, full of emotions, had reached my lips. I had actually cried while saying those lines. Akanksha had been recalled by Lady Penguin away from the stage because I wasn’t paying any attention to the corrections she was prompting. For the first time in my life, I was being applauded by Lady herself. The stiff expression on her forehead vanished and she had a very motherly smile. She asked me to come down and announced.

Edward is with us in his full luster, Helen has been with him all through and it is now time for all of us to come together and put forward the greatest theatrical ever by the girls of Welham’s and a suitable boy from Doon High.”

BOOK1: PAGE 16


Kalsh:       I have never been happier in my whole life,

                  Now there are two ladies that I can call mine,

                  Helen my soul mate bound to be my wife,

                  And Angela born from that love which is rife,

                 Angela, oh Angela my daughter Angela!

practicce on stage
practicce on stage

 

So this was the big moment. I was a dad; actually Edward my character fathered a baby girl. Beautiful like Helen, charming like Edward but at the end of the day inanimate like the toy wrapped in purple rags borne by Akanksha. While pretending that doll to be our child I encountered for the first time a curiosity to know how Helen and Edward became parents. Akanksha knew the answer but she was not too keen on disclosing it. The following week we were scheduled to practice the climax scene and Akanksha showed great faith in me just like Helen had in Edward. Her confidence gave me the strength to walk up to Lady Penguin and request a second hearing.

Kalsh: Excuse me Madam. I had a request.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: What is it? You want another holiday for your upcoming matches. Granted now go.

Kalsh: Madam I have been exercising my vocal chords and practicing on my lines.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: I told you. We have someone else reciting them for you. You just concentrate on your dance. You are doing a marvellous job my dear.

Kalsh: I know, but please just listen to me one more time. I want to portray Edward, but not with someone else speaking my lines. It feels very unnatural. I can do it, just one more chance.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: See my child somethings are best left to… (She looked into my eyes and restrained her words) I think I will have to give you another chance. Today I can see in your eyes that you are no more a forced labourer but a vigorous performer. Don’t disappoint me.

(She agreed and handed me the dialogues for next week. the climax scene.)

BOOK1: PAGE 16


Kalsh:       I have never been happier in my whole life,

                  Now there are two ladies that I can call mine,

                  Helen my soul mate bound to be my wife,

                  And Angela born from that love which is rife,

                 Angela, oh Angela my daughter Angela!

practicce on stage
practicce on stage

 

So this was the big moment. I was a dad; actually Edward my character fathered a baby girl. Beautiful like Helen, charming like Edward but at the end of the day inanimate like the toy wrapped in purple rags borne by Akanksha. While pretending that doll to be our child I encountered for the first time a curiosity to know how Helen and Edward became parents. Akanksha knew the answer but she was not too keen on disclosing it. The following week we were scheduled to practice the climax scene and Akanksha showed great faith in me just like Helen had in Edward. Her confidence gave me the strength to walk up to Lady Penguin and request a second hearing.

Kalsh: Excuse me Madam. I had a request.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: What is it? You want another holiday for your upcoming matches. Granted now go.

Kalsh: Madam I have been exercising my vocal chords and practicing on my lines.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: I told you. We have someone else reciting them for you. You just concentrate on your dance. You are doing a marvellous job my dear.

Kalsh: I know, but please just listen to me one more time. I want to portray Edward, but not with someone else speaking my lines. It feels very unnatural. I can do it, just one more chance.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: See my child somethings are best left to… (She looked into my eyes and restrained her words) I think I will have to give you another chance. Today I can see in your eyes that you are no more a forced labourer but a vigorous performer. Don’t disappoint me.

(She agreed and handed me the dialogues for next week. the climax scene.)

BOOK1: Page 12


It was the second full moon night of September in 2003, the date I am unsure of, but yet it can never be forgotten. I got a call quite late at night from my coach, Charlie Sir. He taught me everything I know on the field. Off the field our physical education teacher used to be in a continuous battle with the English language. I remember that night he was waiting at the reception. Both of us decided to go for a walk. He was threatening me in an amusing demeanour.

Charlie Sir: Kalsh I think I will have to talk to your parents, especially your mother and father.

Kalsh: But sir, I thought you personally congratulated them last month when they came for my felicitation ceremony.

Charlie Sir: This is not about praises you fool. Do you have any idea how many practice sessions you attended last month?

Kalsh: No sir!

Charlie Sir: Do you even recall that there is something called practice at quarter past five and a half? Let me tell you. (He held me by my shoulders) I don’t care if you’re the first boy in the last fifteen years to score twenty four goals in one season; or your brother was my favourite student; or the fact that you saved me from the poisonous air force in the chemistry lab; or the fact that my son is your best friend. I won’t count your blessings when I throw you out of the team.

Kalsh: But Sir… (He didn’t even care for me to complete.)

Charlie Sir: And to think that you are willing to abandon all this in order to become the first boy in the history of this school to dance in a ballet is nauseating.

Kalsh: Dance is not that bad actually.

Charlie Sir: All I am concerned about is that you attend every practice like all your teammates. Don’t expect special treatment just because you are the captain.

Kalsh: It’s just that I was really beginning to enjoy the company.

Charlie Sir: Eh… as I suspected. It’s always about girls. Let me tell you, hundreds before you have destroyed their lives for these girls. Do you want to add another name to that long list of losers?

Kalsh: No sir.

Charlie Sir: First and foremost your loyalty lies with the team, then with me, then with the school and still if any bit of self importance is left you can think about yourself. Mark my words, “A looser who runs after skimpily clad girls in tights is not my son. He is not on my team.”

BOOK1: Page 11, Para 1


I won’t waste time in writing pages about those beautiful girls, their fancy dresses and gaudy make up. Instead I will treat the reader to my brain and what I felt in my heart at that very moment. One of those girls had to be my future date for the annual ball in senior year. I made a conscious effort to know each one of them on a personal level. So that when the fateful night would arrive my decision would be based more appropriately on a lot more than just corporeal lure. All that would require a considerable amount of time in their company and hence the first thing on my list was getting selected by hook or by crook. The following lunch hour was spent on me. All those divine, affable, benign girls assisted me, advised me, encouraged me, and of course checked me out. So here I was ready to take on the role of the male lead (there was only one male character).

BOOK1: Page 10


And she asked me to excuse her. I was taken aback. It appears this Lady Penguin actually believes that there are boys who want to do this ballet. I would have definitely given her a piece of my mind, if it had not been for all those beautiful eyes staring at the only boy in the hall. Now that felt indeed special. Running from between the crowds came Aakrisht’s little sister. Along with her was the lead ballerina. It was evident from her gait, it brushed off from the curls in her hair and it was voiced in her lips. She was the thorn pricking the prying eyes of all the girls staring at the three of us. My first tour of the best girls’ school in Doon had officially begun.

BOOK1: PAGE 9


I moved up to her with a cheerful smile.

I: Good afternoon madam. I am Kalsh Abhilash (I handed over to her the reference letter that Robot had given me).

Lady Penguin Patch-up: (she took out her reading glasses) so you’re the boy chosen by Mr. Prajapati (he was our principle)

I: Well, I got this letter yesterday and decided to show up at your service. Hope this strengthens the bond between our two schools (I still don’t understand why was I trying to impress her that day?)

Lady Penguin Patch-up: Well one thing is for sure. I am not disappointed. If my old eyes aren’t mistaken then you are the same boy who scored the winning goal the other day.

I: Yes madam. You are so very right. So what’s next?

Lady Penguin Patch-up: (After a minute’s silence) don’t be restless. This is no football. Ballet is graceful and organized. First of all you must give an audition.

I: Madam, it appears you don’t get it. I have come to participate in this annual day of yours. I am not a struggling ballet dancer. And it is my obligation to be here and not my interest. So would you kindly give me my lines and dance steps?

Lady Penguin Patch-up: Seems you are hard of hearing or (removing her spectacles delicately) plainly haughty.
(She looked at her wrist watch and then straight into my eyes) Listen up close, its lunchtime. Meet me after an hour. We will start off the post lunch session with you.

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