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.”


The fateful day arrived too soon. Akanksha and I had practiced the scene where Edward tries to steal the baby and is caught. He explained to Helen the reasons for his action through my monologue. I had never seen such an attendance before. All twenty five girls who play various roles in our stage production were present. Lady Penguin took a seat in the last row, with the two senior school girls on her either side. Robot’s sister was waving from the prompt box. I listened closely to the piano waiting for it to momentarily pause so that I could begin my act.

final test

Kalsh:        I come from far far… away, where no women no angels stay,

                   We did something very very wrong, whose burden I still borne,

                   A Long time ago, a mullah said we want no femme no more,

                   A lady is weak we believed and instead brave men we seeked,

                   So we torched them alive, foeticide, sent them all out of sight,

                   Only sons did we ever ask for,

                   Now in that village where I have grown, no one cuddles at night,

                   I was sent to your village, to bring back a girl like yourself,

                   I knew it all along that I had to steal from you I swear,

                   For nine months what you had to bear, I alone are to be blamed,

                   Garrotte my senses, drown my hope, take me apart piece by piece,

                   We men don’t deserve your grace, but please

                   Let me see my Angela at least,

                   That is what my last breath would pray, You, Me and My daughter Stay

There was a silence. I couldn’t see anything. My view was hazed. I rubbed my eyes but it did not help. The stage light was blinding me. I looked around for Akanksha but she was nowhere to be seen. And then I heard a voice so soft that it pierced my ears. “BRAVO!!!”


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