Story 4: A trip down Memory Lane… Annual Day
Let me just make a vague assumption…this is going to be the longest, yet the most interesting story compared to the rest of ‘em. And it’s not because of the jokes that I wrote, it’s because the day itself was such. Such an… eventful… tiring… strange… still, an amazing day.
Again, allow me to tell you that the characters in the story are not to be taken seriously. Some of the actions and dialogues have been exaggerated to bring a more enthusiastic touch to this piece.
Oh, and another thing, my last story on Sports Day was the most successful one compared to the rest. So thank you for that (if you actually bothered to read it). Not to mention, credit goes to my computer lecturer too, as he shared it with other students in contact.
So please… sit back, relax and a pick a book? (That was a rhetorical question) Pick up a drink and read on.
The Hindi lecturer, who was in charge of quite a handful of events for the Annual Gathering, looked up and saw a boy sitting on a chair, doing absolutely nothing, apart from smiling. She summoned a student nearby her to call the boy. Moments later, the boy came up to the Hindi teacher.
“Good Afternoon ma’am”
It was one damn hot afternoon. The lecturer spoke in Hindi, “Good Afternoon… are you participating in any event for the gathering?”
The boy replied reluctantly, “No ma’am.” The students, who weren’t participating, could not be outside classes. But this student was here, in the basement of the college. Doing nothing but hanging out with a number of friends who were preparing a Karate demonstration for the occasion.
He expected the lecturer to scold him. But the lecturer asked, “Can you take responsibility for the background music of all the events? … dances, karaoke … all of it.”
The boy, none other than Maddy (that’s me) thought for a moment. He had been in charge of the music for the Annual Sports Meet not long before, which had been a real pain. (That’s another one hell of a story if you’d like to read…)
“Sure ma’am, I will manage.”
The Hindi lecturer smiled, “Okay good, you’re work starts now. There are right now 23 events and still counting. You’re supposed to approach each of these groups and collect all the audio files. I’ll let you know the order…”
The ma’am went on with the explanation. He just stood there listening with his jaw dropped. This was going to be a whole lot tougher than he anticipated…
In the eyes of Maddy
A few days before this incident, I was going to take part in a skit, performed by our class. I had a small role. Say I had a quarrel with some of my classmates, for some damn silly reason which they made it big. Let’s just leave it right there. No comments, no hard feelings. I never bothered much about them anyway, so I didn’t regret coming out.
We also had a band planned, which broke down eventually. The judge who also happened to be our English lecturer said that our lead singer wasn’t up to the mark. Now, there was nothing left for me to do. The day I was out of the skit, I was free from everything. I had my guitar with me that day in college.
The bear (if you remember from the old stories) was a Karate player. He, along with other Karate players, was going to perform a demo on stage for the Gathering. They had been practicing for about a week now. They stayed back till seven every day in the college basement. Since I had nothing left to do, I decided to stay back for the evening with the bear and his other… animals.
Sweet compliment after a bitter day
As I had my guitar with me, I was playing when they were all taking a break. There was only one girl in the entire team. But unmistakably, she was the best in karate. Let’s call her… the Panda (I couldn’t find anything more suitable and she loves pandas!).
“Dude, sing a song for me,” she requested while we were waiting for some of the other members to arrive.
I had nothing on my mind for a moment. Then I sang the song Perfect by Ed Sheeran. When I finished, she was quiet for a moment.
“What?” I asked
“You’re like the actor, Sanju.” She replied. Now it was my turn to wonder.
“I’ve never touched a drug,” I said slowly. She smiled and said, “No, that’s not what I meant. Sanjay too had that magic to get any girl he wanted.”
I don’t know how she knew that… but after such a miserable day of getting out of all events available to me, it felt good to have a compliment.
“Thank you.” I smiled.
The Karate team
Soon the rest of the team was close to me. Though I had nothing to do except watch them perform, I still enjoyed my time. They loved having me around too. So for the rest of the days, I stayed back after college with these guys. I would say, “I need to make a call to my mom to tell I’m returning home late.”
The bear would hand me his phone. And I would say, “No, you speak with my mom.”
He would shout, “That’s your mom dude! Why should I inform?”
“Do you want me to stay or not?”
He would growl (he’s a bear after all). Then he gave in and spoke to my mom.
One evening, we were all holding our fists in front in a circle. The panda looked at all our knuckles. She nodded as she saw each one of them. Then she saw mine. I was standing beside her. She looked up and giggled, “Amul Baby!”
Everyone roared with laughter. Undoubtedly, I wasn’t the toughest in the room. They could toss me around like a football. SoI just stood and blushed. Within the next couple of days, everyone around was calling me ‘Amul Baby’. I didn’t mind much, as I thought it was cute. Fun fact: My parents tell me that when I was younger, I really was referred to ‘Amul Baby’… not family, but the entire neighborhood. So it felt like coming back after 15 years or so.
A few days later, I was given the charge of controlling the music… again. That day, I felt great that I had some purpose. Also, at the ending of the karate demo, a strong person was needed to stand in the middle and one of the members would jump over my head. The pressure would be on the shoulders. I could do this, so I was in. But that day I did absolutely nothing due to overexcitement.
Early, the next morning the Hindi lecturer came up to me. “So how many songs have you collected from the teams now?”
I looked at her blankly. “None ma’am… I’ll begin shortly.” The teacher looked at me as if I had borrowed her water bottle and spat the water back on her face. “Abhi bhi kuch nahi hua?” she asked. It meant, ‘still nothing has been done?’
“I’ll do it, ma’am. Will do it.” I assured. “I want the all of it done by today evening.” She declared and went away. I stood for a moment. This just made it a lot harder. I had brought my tablet along with a flash drive with me for collecting. One of the karate members, (the guy who would jump over me) helped me with this organization. Let this guy be the Kangaroo.
Fast-forward a little bit
I won’t go into detail, how I collected all the music from all the teams. Our college consisted of 4 floors including the basement. So the whole day (and the day after), I ran around like a child running behind a lollipop, collecting all the audio files. By the first day, half of the events background music was arranged. I started missing my karate team…panda…if I can call them ‘mine’ of course.
The next few days went by this way, running around, making sure everything went smoothly. I tried my best to make time for the karate team. I found Panda to be pretty amazing as a person, unique too. She had an interest in listening and writing poems on relationships and emotions. They were mostly in Hindi, so she had to translate word by word to me. Some of them had real deep meanings. I could grasp its meanings easily because… anyway, drop it. The bear and others found it a bit confusing, but they did understand eventually.
As I was busy these days, I can say I disappointed a number of people on the way. One had even angrily said, “I hate you!” and walked away. The bottom line was they wanted me to spend some time with them. The one thing I couldn’t afford at the moment. Some had sent ‘hi’s and ‘hello’s on social media and with the pressure on my head, I had decided not to attend them. This made some even more furious.
So, I apologize if you’re one among these people reading… I really hadn’t much choice.
The day begins…
By the time annual day came, I had everything prepared. All audio files in a flash drive, a laptop, my tablet, even an extra laptop as a backup. As for control, I would be sitting there with the event list in my hand. For my backup, there was a lecturer from Physics department, the bear and another karate member (a donkey) and another first-year volunteer. Let this volunteer be a crab (I forgot the guy’s actual name..fortunately).
As the opening ceremony began, the hall needed some soothing traditional music and I already had it. It was running fine when the crab got a fantastic idea to put on some vulgar music. He was about to play it when the Physics lecturer caught hold of the act and handed over the device tome. “Do not let it out of your sight. If it wasn’t for my observation, we both would have lost all our respect and reputation in a fraction of a second.”
I laughed out loud, “I agree!”
One would say I was looking pretty good that day with my formal white shirt with purple dots and a dark purple waistcoat on. I had pants on too, don’t worry, and Woodland shoes which made me an inch taller. So there were endless clicks and flashes of cameras… selfies mostly. Sadly, my responsibility got the best of me at the end. A girl held up her phone to take a selfie and I was already heading towards the music equipment where the physics lecturer was calling me.
“So busy?” she shouted. “Sorry!” I replied and hurried back. Another furious person added to the list.
The strangest thing that happened
As a skit was going on, there was a disturbance being heard from backstage. The person handling the equipment instructed me to inform the anchors backstage to turn off all the microphones. So I went backstage. There was a small passage and on either end, there was a sort of a small lobby. I entered from the right lobby and made sure all the mikes were turned off on this side. On the other side of the passage, I saw one of the anchors…let’s name her ‘T’. I shouted out, “Hey, make sure all the mikes are off over there!”
She saw and said, “Oh hey, come here, follow me.” I followed her to the other end of the passage to the lobby on the left. The room was unusually empty and slightly dark. There was a mike on the table, which turned out to be the only furniture visible. I looked at her, “Yeah say.”
She pointed at the mike on the table, “Look, it’s off.”
I looked at it. My inners started boiling. Then I turned to her. “You called me to look at a mike which is turned off?”
She smiled and was quiet for a moment. There was an awkward silence for 5 seconds. Then she asked, “So, how are you?”
I just stared at her blankly. “I’m a little busy right now… we’ll talk some other time. See you!”
I don’t remember if she replied or not, but I do remember running back for my life.
Apart from that, everything went fine. Some anchors a little unhappy as I hadn’t provided the right lighting at the right time, but everything else went almost flawlessly. Even the background music for the Karate demo went perfectly. All the music came up at the right time. The donkey had been in charge of the music in the group so everyone thanked him for it.
But he wasn’t very satisfied. The arrangement that he visualized was never there. It was all coincidental and everyone mocked at him when he told about it.