Friday, July 31, 2009

Let the show BEGIN!


I did not enter the Voice of Persistent singing contest to lose, so to say. Like all the other participants, I too harbored the not-so-secret ambition of being in the top three, and coming home with a trophy. I knew what a tough fight it would be and given the musically accomplished folks who were going to be singing in the competition. I realized, right at the start, that it would be a great honor just to reach the final five!

And that I did. As my name was announced in the final five list, I was not thinking about the trophy anymore. All I was thinking of was - "Yesssssssss!!! I *will* get to perform the last and final song that I had prepared for!!!".. The final moment came and I performed. Then the super-final moment came and the results were announced.

And then, anti climax.

My name wasn't there in the top three list. I put on a brave face and applauded the winners. Okay, let me be honest and say that I truly was very happy for each one of them, for they totally deserved to be holding those trophies in their hands. But hey! I am human too and for that split second, I felt upset that my hands were too small for that trophy and my voice too weak to reach it..

Kunal was on the stage with me in that very split second. I was looking at him, trying to fight back tears which were threatening to swell in my eyes - ".. so I was hoping I would be third in rank at least.." and he was saying ".. arre yaar.. We knew it from the beginning right? That there would be a very tough chance.. We just wanted to give it our BEST.. And God knows you did that.. Sumi I am proud of you.. The way you sang today, I fell in love with you all over again.. Sach.."

I smiled at his happy face and thought, yes, I did not let him, my best friend, my life partner and my Guru, down. And that's a big prize in itself. I started going backstage to get my bag and other stuff.

That's when it all started.

"Congratulations Priyanka!! That was a MIND BLOWING peformance.."
"Priyanka.. You were the best! I LOVED your songs.. "
".. Kyaa performance thaa yaar.. Mazaa aa gayaaa"
".. and the way you guys sang the duet, you were tempting photographers to click your pics.. Arre yaar tumhaarein photo lete lete memory khatam ho gayi camera ki!!"
".. My god woman! You had the nerve to sing THAT song on THIS stage!! I have forgotten how that song originally sounded after hearing your rendition of it.. You ROCK!!"

I was swarmed by people from all sides!! I knew my team mates would stand by me and that the results would not matter to them.. But I had certainly not expected this level of adulation!! People from all over the auditorium were coming and congratulating me for my performance. People I knew and people I had never ever seen before - all of 'em were shaking my hand and lauding me. There were kids who were waiting to come and shake hands with me and wish me luck!!

Finally the audience started to disperse, but the icing on the cake was yet to come. A very senior and special person came and talked to me after that. This gentleman defies his age in his enthusiasm and quick wit, and especially his memory. He still remembers one of my stage performances, which took place five years back - he still addresses me as "Sonia Gandhi", after the character that I played in that play. He is one of the most revered folks in the company, and he walked up to me and said - "My vote went to you dear! You truly were the best"..

Finally, I was able to go and meet my family and my Mom's joyous face with tiny tears in her eyes said it all - I had already won my prize in the pride that she felt for me!! My sister, who's one of my biggest critics, said it too "I never knew you could sing like THAT!! WOW!"..

When I went to sleep that night, I said to myself - "This was one of the best days of my life.."

I was wrong.

There was a parcel waiting for me in office the next day - it had a rose pinned onto an envelope carrying a beautiful, handwritten letter. It came from one of the prize winning participant's father who deeply appreciated my songs. That letter is now a part of my most treasured things. Sir - if you are reading this - I do not have words to tell you how special that letter will always be to me and saying "thanks" seems too tiny a response to your thoughtful and soulful words..

I always thought I knew what it is like to be rewarded and awarded. But what I was experienced on the evening of the show and the day after, was something totally different. And without a single doubt, it was much more special and personal. The pride and love in Kunal's eyes and on my family's faces, the letter, the overwhelming response I got from everyone in the auditorium - these are all my special prizes, and they are priceless. The first line of that invaluable letter said it right..
"You stole the show, though not the trophy.."

Labels: , , ,