Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Shall We Dance?

Acceptance is a very special word, no matter how big or small the thing is. You get accepted into one of the IITs, and you are the next sought after thing in the neighborhood for years to come. You get a call from one of the US schools, and people walking on the streets often touch you to see if you are as real as the other lesser mortals. You fancy someone and the person proposes love. You wish something and the wish comes true. You have spent sleepless caffeinated nights trying to write a thesis proposal and it finally gets accepted by the committee. You send a poem for a poetry contest and it gets published. No matter how big or how small the thing is, it always feels great to be accepted by someone, hugely boosting up your self-confidence in the process. It is the waiting period in between that is killing. But getting a certain YES email or a letter feels so special, it makes the wait every bit worthwhile. Equally disheartening are rejections. But then, don’t all of us move on? I remember how disappointing it was to get so many rejects from the good and not so good US schools a few years back. It always makes you think- What was wrong with me? Was I not good enough? Why me? But one acceptance letter obliterates all the dejection, one good rank in the joint entrance exams makes all the years of hard work worthwhile, one chance to work with some professor you have wanted makes it worthwhile, and so goes for the person you want to live with. It is a different matter altogether that the real responsibilities, the pains and travails of living up to the expectations start later.

A month back, our dance team got rejected in one of the auditions. No one knew why we could not make it. We had our theories though. Some said that the deciding committee was biased towards north Indian folk dance, while some said that they had already decided who they wanted to choose based on personal preferences. Whatever the case be, it felt horrible to be rejected, all the more for me because I did not understand the language and the dance style was not familiar to me, hence I had put five times more effort. I drifted between stages from putting the blame to myself, to my team, to the choice of dance number, and to my luck. When sanity struck after a while, I realized that there was nothing to put the blame on in the very first place. Life was all about getting chances, we win some, and we lose some. After some 6 hours of feeling low and lachrymose, I had moved on.

However, I remained on the lookout for newer opportunities. In a way, I was tired of dancing with my south Indian dance team, neither understanding the language, nor feeling very comfortable with the style of dance. Someone up there heard me, for one of the bigger dance groups in the city were auditioning for new dancers in their team for a few upcoming events. I had been to their dance shows before, that beautifully showcased a variety of dances. However, this was a round 2 audition, meaning that they had already chosen the bulk of the lot and there were a handful more dancers they wanted. I was apprehensive, because one rejection was only so much I could take. If it was something like glass painting or knitting, I wouldn’t have cared, but dance is something that I really cared about. My apprehension about being rejected the second time knew no bounds. I would stand in front of dozens of pairs of unknown, judgmental eyes, and then the music would play and you would be expected to dance on your own while they decided if you were good enough. The music would stop in between and they would say “NEXT” while you would pack up, wondering if they got bored too soon or if they made their decision so soon. And then the wait would be unbearable. Probably you would know some of the other people who auditioned, and would live in the constant anxiety that they would make it and you wouldn’t. Even if you were rejected, you would be tortured to death, reading one of the most diplomatically and cunningly crafted letters- 

“While we were so delighted that you gave us your valuable time and brought your ass on the dance floor, we are sorry to let you know that you have two left feet! It seems you shook your hips a tad too more and your right leg and left hand were not in sync. However, we are sure that there will be other dance groups who would willingly overlook these and accept you in their group because hips and legs do not form an integral part of their dance. We wish you all the best”.

It takes a lot to face rejection. Anyway, here I convinced one of my friends to give me a ride, since I had no clue how to get to that godforsaken, desolate place they had chosen for the auditions. I plugged in my music player into my ears, and shook my hips for a couple of hours in front of the walled mirrors in the gym just to make sure I could still move a couple of my body parts without running the risk of being disqualified for having two left legs and a missing right leg. I don’t know what made me choose to audition to a Hrithik Roshan dance number, not even coming close to his flexibility and finesse, but after a few minutes of practice, when I still didn’t show signs for a slipped disc or a chipped tarsal bone, I decided to give it a shot.

Adrenaline is a magical potion. It can make you do things you didn’t imagine you were capable of doing. It can make you jump from the height of a 1000 feet, being tied only to a rope. It can make you thrust your hands in the crocodile’s mouth just to see if they use their pre-molars or molars more while eating. It can make you stand in front of dozens of unknown people, dancing in solitude, risking being laughed at or being stared at as if you were an alien. And thus we went through this together, me and my adrenaline. At that time, I didn’t care if I made it to the auditions. All I cared about was to be out of there as soon as I could, of course after stuffing my pockets with the little cans of free orange juice from the wending machine.

The wait was bad, all the more since I personally knew one of the judges, and every time I got an email from her, it made me cringe. Email I did get, but from one of the other judges. I read it calmly, got up from my swivel chair, and headed straight for the restroom mirror. I looked at myself for a long time, eyes not showing any emotion. And then I straightened my shoulders, held out my hand to the mirror in that typical ballroom style dancing, and said to the person looking back at me from the mirror-

Shall we dance?



maxdavinci said...

aww congrats!

I was patiently reading till the end, hoping that she made it...

Rakhi said...

Yay, way to go Sunshine!! :)
Isn't it truly the springtime of our lives? Uh, let me get back to my Simon Garfunkel. :P

CM-Chap said...

very true. But I think these rejections makes some good thing too... They make us more determined.

Red Phoenix said...

What you win turns to memories, and what you lose turns into experiences ;)

Daroga said...


I wish I could dance (the audition type dance). It is a dream to dance in front of a crowd and get an ovation, sitting bhi chalega :P

Good Luck for your Dance :)

sunshine said...

maxdavinci- hehe, thanks !!!

rakhi- It surely is the springtime of our lives :)

cm-chap- yes, I totally agree with you.

red phoenix- so true !!

daroga- haha !!! Dance for an audition? Now I realize how people who came to audition for the Indian Idol must have felt !!!