Finally the dates of Annual function arrived. It totally changed the college by its look. The bland dull walls were covered with posters, garlands, graffiti, color-paper, balloons. The whole length of building was veiled with tiny twinkling lights hanging from top. The gates were guarded with copper statues. The floor was furnished with resplendent rangolis. The college had become itself a new world. Every year, Annual function of our college was a big watch for all and this year also we had left no chance of penance.
Among the three days of Annual function, the first day was dedicated totally for the events involving sports and competition. And the main attention of thee day was Inter college boys’ basketball match and girls’ badminton match in the afternoon section. At first there was Chess championship, Carom match, Rangoli contest, Painting competition, Singing contest, Debate in the first half of the day. Kishore won the Chess Championship as expected. Preeti did well but got fourth in debate.
After lunch break, second session started with the girls’ badminton match. Preeti had always been athletic, unlike me, since her early days. I was pretty certain that she would kick out her competitors very well from their place. And the rage of losing in Debate fuelled her well. She did better than everyone’s expectation smacking down the competitors with uninterruptedly shots. She notched the biggest trophy in it. I cheered and whooped a lot sitting in the audience place till muscles in my throat were badly snagged.
The final event of the day was Inter college boys’ basketball match. There were two teams; blue team and yellow team. Arnav was the blue team captain. When he stepped into the field wearing a blue vest and a black pant, girls started bellowing and whistling. This was the first time he had shown this much skin. His tight calf muscles, the rips of abdomen muscles rippling over the smooth fabric and trimmed bare triceps –was a whole eyecandy package to scorch any runway model’s pride into jealousy.
This catcalling ranged more when Arnav turned towards them and flashed a shy acknowledging smile. Then his eyes moved and froze at mine for a while before he continued with his team. I fumbled, grumbled, my hands gripped into a clench in lap and I tried to ignore him completely.
The blue team won the match slipping nearly from a draw with their last minute scoring. They celebrated jumping around holding their trophy; some throwing off their clothes and some lifting, hugging, and kissing each other. Even a boy tried to bite off the edges of the trophy. It seemed he was frantic with overloaded happiness.
The second day was planned out with cultural events like Face-painting, Drama and Dance. The day kicked off with Face-painting. The whole morning I stayed stick to Preeti while she went for Face-painting. The painter guy, Siddhartha was an amazing painter hindered out of acknowledgement. Why he was groping foolishly over science instead of arts, which was a big question in my mind though. During the one hour, Preeti sat mute on a chair while Siddharth kept draping colours over her face and I got to talk to him. Later I came to know that pursuing science was his parents’ decision that he could not defy. And I also come to know that still such a sweet and soft-hearted guy existed with this century of treachery and deceit.
Siddharth painted a side faced brown monster fuming over the globe, which was changing colour from black to grey and to green. The surface of the orb was drawn fragile and cracked and red drops was dropping from it, to indicate the impact of on going pollution throttling earth and the lives on it. It was simple yet conveyed a great message. There were many others flaunting their talents but undoubtedly Siddhartha and Preeti snitched the first place.
The second half of the day remained for Dance and Drama. The show was commenced with the Odishi and folk dance. Then the turn was to seniors for their group Drama. They represented a contemporary format of Shakespearean Hamlet. It was a nice and heart wrenching representation that impressed the audience.
Next to that there were one fussion group dance and a couple dance. The couple dance so romantically that the stage cheered up with “once more” cries. After that, the junior banged on the stage with their act “So As It Is”. When their names were announced, tension banked on everyone’s face. All the programmes had gone so well that it strained their nerves to deliver a perfect act. But soon they gripped the strength and courage and dropped into stage with fighting spirit.
The play was based on the Arthur Miller drama “Death of a salesman”. Preeti played love interest to the main protagonist’s son, Happy who wants to pursue his career as a cricketer. The whole hall reverberated with claps and whistles when Preeti came wearing a pair of thick rimmed specs, loose white dress and holding books like a nerd and kissed Happy in the cricket field surrounding. I could say from the boy’s face that it was a surprise element in twist that Preeti planned instantly. Everyone whistled on this unexpected long kissing scene.
The play started with audience rolling over their stomach tired of laughing at the innocent jokes and trailed off making everyone cry over the tragic suicidal of the protagonist and his mistaken intentions. It brilliantly showcased a middle-class person’s trauma, worries, ambitions, dilemma, frustration and witless love for his family and also a teenager’s tenacity, perplexity towards his career. Everyone was so merged into the portrayal that, the end credit was deluged with uninterrupted claps and standing ovation from audiences. I was really proud of Preeti. She was the new star in college now.
On third day Preeti forced me into red top and light grey leopard print skinny jeans with that new red wineglass heels. The jeans were so tight that it took us fifteen hell minutes to drag it on me despite my recent anorexic legs. I pleaded her, scolded her, even begged her not to force me with those heels and jeans but she said that if I take risk by wearing those heels, my dream boy will meet me as she had this dream in the previous early morning of me dancing with a handsome boy in those heels and as they say early morning dreams always come true. So she wanted this evening to be the best. But I was sure that there was no boy in the college with that much interest on me.
The final day was meant to just enjoy. There was Ramp Walk in the afternoon section and in the evening both DJ and Star Night was organised. In Star Night, there supposed to be a renowned star or band playing for us. Though we had no idea who was it this year. The organiser kept it secret and said it was an on-spot surprise. I expected something pleasant though.
In Ramp Walk as expected, Manishaa walked with Arnav. She was wearing a tight pencil skirt of knee length with a slit that exposed more of her skin. Arnav was dressed in a well fit office outfit. He looked smart. The light blue incredulously suited his soft skin tone.
Then the evening moved to DJ. There was lots of noise instead of music and I sat on a plastic chair enjoying watching others instead of jumping like ape bitten maniacs in those pointed heels and spraining my ankle.
All of sudden DJ stopped and students gathered into a mass. Some started shouting swears at the DJ. The flash light got off leaving us into semi-darkness with the dim bulbs still burning. A fierce guitar tune brought everyone into awestruck silence. In dark, it seemed like something was lowering down on a rope onto the stage. Later the silhouette became lager forming to someone holding a guitar. The flash lights on stage were flicked on while that someone stood with his back to us playing guitar. From both sides girls came dancing with pompoms. Preeti dragged me to the front line before anyone could reach there. Soon the music was in air and all the students rushed rounding the stage.
Then he turned to face us. I had never seen that guy, neither in TV nor in our college. Then who was he? It’s not only mine but was everyone’s question. But the music he was playing was so good everybody forgot that logical question.
He performed five songs in row; Hero and Tonight of Enrique Iglesias, Cry me a river by Justin Timberlake, It will rain of Bruno Mars and ending it with a tribute to Michael Jackson singing his evergreen Thriller. I could not deny the fact that he set fire into air. Then he again held the mike and shouted at it.
“Hey guys and sexy ladies. Howz it going?”
“Hooo...” The audience hollered.
“Are ya all enjoying ‘t?”
“Yaaaaa..” The crowd cheered up in unison.
“Wanna hear more..?”
“Ooohhhooo..” I also joined them.
He finally set to a softer tune. It continued for around two minutes till he bent down while walking on the edge, holding out the hand and trying to reach at the audience around the stage. The mass was going crazy and kept pushing us till our bodies bumped to the stage. I stood crammed to the end and kept my clapping and bit of shaking my head with music. He continued walking around the edge. Girls jumped up on his hands. He crossed me. I don’t know what made him to abruptly turn back and stop near me.
I looked at his stretched out hand in shock. What does he want?
Before I knew the answer, someone pushed me up. He held my hand tightly and dragged me up as I landed on the stage with my left heel twisted almost toppling over him. He amusedly smiled at me and turned me to face the jubilant gathering. Sweat dripped down my face. I had never stood before this much people that also such a disturbed crowd. It scared the hell out of me. I was all together panic-stricken and tongue-tied.
“Come on guys! Cheer up! I need fire. And this is for the all beautiful girls here including the one beside me.”
He again looked to me. There was frightening mischief in his eyes. The music set to a different note. It was Baby of Justin Bieber. He started with the lines You know you love me,I know you care and took my hands around twirling me into a semi circle outside in. I clasped into his sides and again he released me in a reverse twist turning me inside out. I stood there ghost pale, my mouth open in attempt to breath.
He left me to stand there like that he continued his hip-hop steps around me. I stood there like frozen stone, dripping into sweat. By the time the song ended, he slightly pushed me to sides and I landed into his arms. It looked so perfect that someone would never be convinced that it was all candid. My heart was in my mouth and blood was scooting down three times faster than normal.
I brought me back to my feet. I turned back and ran to the back stage. I had no idea what happened ten minutes back with me. Tears rolled into eyes and I fell into my knees. Preeti came following me.
“Are you okay?” She handed me a water bottle and started to pat my back.
I wanted to yell no but I couldn’t speak a single word. We stayed there for next fifteen minutes till my heart beat reduced to normal. Finally I spoke.
“What is he?” I asked with utter amazement.