January rolled in. We decided to enter an intercollege drama competition called Sethi Karandak. It is a prestigious drama competition and has given Bollywood many of its finest actors. Even participating in this competition requires one to crack two rounds of auditions, which are judged by television actors and directors.
The idea of entering this competition was seeded when we performed a small, well-received skit on August 15, 2012. From the students to our director, the feedback was very positive. The director had called us to her cabin when she chanced upon the information that I had written the script. She motivated us to team up and participate in competitions. I got a message the next day that the director had asked me to lunch.
D: Do you know anything about Sethi Karandak?
Me: Not much. During my graduation days though, I had been a back-stage artist for our drama team, which hardly made it through the auditions.
D: Why don't we try this time?. I think you guys have the potential. If you need any help, ask me. But remember, this should not hamper your academics.
Me: Ok, I will ask the others. if they are ready, we will definitely compete.
The first task had been to form an artists' circle. Mourya was the perfect person for this as he was way more interested in these activities as compared to the college routine. It took us close to four months to gather talented people from across streams and motivate them to participate.
We formed the artists' circle and finalised our decision to participate in the competition in the first week of January. Now the main task for us was to find a good script and a good director who could direct us. We started our search for a script writer and a director. Luckily, a group member had some experience in these things – it was better to have someone with little experience than everyone with none. We asked him to hunt for a person who could provide an original script and direct the play.
Within a week, he managed to rope in Prasoon Pawar, who was then writing dialogues for two popular television commercials. We sat with him and told him of our intentions. He informed us of the rules for participating in Sethi Karandak.
He brought two scripts with him the next day; one new, the other old. We began rehearsing the new script. We had a singer, actors, a director, dancers, even the artists, but we were missing a musician. This was necessary, because it was among the main criteria for Sethi Karandak. The rule book stated that the more art forms one performed, the easier it would be to make the final. Two members from the dance crew knew gymnastics. My school friend Harsh, a musician, also joined in.
Rehearsals began in earnest, but I was still unhappy with the overall scenario. because my girlfriend had not been rehearsing as a performer. After the first day's rehearsals, we went to CCD. it was so I could help her make up her mind. She was shy, but I wanted to convince her to participate on stage.
Me: So how was practice?
Her: So far, so good.
Me: Why didn’t you join us?
Her: I like being back-stage. Besides, my voice is not too loud.
Me: Ok, but do you know that being back-stage requires a lot of lifting and running? I personally think you should come on-stage and act. This may be your last chance because next year by this time, we will be placed and you may regret not being on-stage.
Her: You may be right, but I have never felt any regret till now.
Me: Does that mean you will not come on-stage? If you're doing it because your voice is not very loud, you're making a big mistake. Your voice can be trained, don’t worry about that.
Her: Hmm, ok.
Me: What is ok? It’s not ok at all. I want you by my side, on-stage. I am sure you will love it. besides you can also work back-stage, when you are not performing. Now, are you ready to work on-stage as an actor?
Me: Hmm, that’s like a good girl. So what will you have, a cappuccino?
Her: Yes, my sweet angel.
Me: Two cappuccinos, please.
Her: By the way, you have quite a fan following in college.
Me: Is that so? Well, you know popular people are like this only. (I smiled) May I know who my fan is?
Her: Actually, those who are popular don’t bother about fans.
Me: You are unbeatable when it comes to words.
Her: I know that. Tell me something I don’t know.
Me: Well, we need to spend some time together for that.
Her: I guess. I am very busy nowadays. You, though, are always free, is it?
Me: Ok, I get what you are saying. Stop being sarcastic.
Her: Be normal with me and I will be normal with you.
Me: What does normal mean? I am being normal right now.
Her: Normal means stop flirting. You do it all the time. It is all right at times, but not all the time.
Me: Ok, my apple pie. Will you now tell me who you were talking about?
Her: Ahh, that person was Pyaari.
Me: Pyaari? Not again. I don’t know what’s wrong with that girl.
Her: What happened?
Me: She said she likes me, but I don’t like her back. Ever since then, she has been on my back. She even asked Monika about my likes, dislikes and asked her how she could get in touch with me.
Her: Why you are getting so hyper? Just tell her that you don’t have any feelings for her.
Me: I have done so twice, but she has not been ready to listen. I don’t want to create a scene. I don’t want anybody to suffer because of me. I twice explained that a relationship was not a possibility. She tried to go through Monika, now she is trying through you to get to me.
Her: Hmm. Now what can I say? You and your fans.
Me: Hey don’t worry, I am taking care of it.
I was happy that time, because she had agreed to work on-stage. We breezed through the auditions at Sethi Karandak, even reached the second round of the competition, but could not enter the final round.