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 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.

Book1: Page 8


I decided to sit and watch the proceedings for sometime before making an entry (my favourite part). So there I was in the last row, trying to understand what the woman wanted and what mistakes were being made by the contestants. Suddenly she announced lunch and got up. This was my first complete view of the woman who was going to judge me sooner or later.
I chose the title of a Lady because she carried herself with a grace which I had never seen before. She wasn’t tall but made all around her look insignificant. Her coat didn’t flutter when she walked. The skirt ending just below the knee didn’t give her legs the freedom of movement enjoyed by the school girls of Welham, yet she was swifter than any girl a quarter of her age. Penguins are amazing creatures. They appear to be the most royally dressed by Mother Nature. Her sophistication forced me to call her Lady Penguin. The last name didn’t occur to me instantly, but even that story will unfold eventually.

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