8 years back - if I ain’t wrong –
was the time this happened. After years of learning, months of practice,
rehearsals and what not, I still had the throbbing feeling of fear in my chest.
My heart raced and I was breathing hard. I felt like a thousand spiders run up
and down my spine, a million butterflies fluttering endlessly in my stomach.
Yes, I was nervous. Anybody could make out from my expressions that I was. In
an attempt to appear bold, I put on a fake smile. Well, that helped me ease a
bit. But the question was, ‘why the fear?’ I’d faced examinations many a time –
I was almost 14. It struck me then that this
wasn’t any normal exam. It was my music
examination. Yes, I’m a classical singer – though I haven’t touched a note from
the past 2 years – and a very proud one at that!
So, there I was, inside the premises an
unknown college, all scared. I had run through all of the theory and practical
portions of it, of course. But there was still a string of panic running
through my veins. And I realized that the presence of my teacher with me – along
with my mother – that was freaking me out. And the fact she was she was my very own grandmother – who I used to fondly
call Amma – did little to decrease my
tension. It was just me since she was calm and had that look of intense
motivation, in her eyes. With trembling hands and feet, brushing hair off my
face, I enter the practical room with a smile and greet the two examiners
present, graciously. It goes on smoothly until the last part of it where I get hitched.
Nothing really big, but I did feel like a loser then for messing things up. All
the anxiety buried within me had to show up some way or the other, I guess.
I come outside the room, tears trickling
down my cheeks. My mother and granny had both heard me perform and were
expecting a similar reaction from me.
“That’s okay. You did really
well. Small mistakes do happen, most of the times,” said Amma.
I countered, saying, “But I had
practiced. You know I had,” exasperation all over my face.
Amma, still with the same
comforting smile, said, “Yes, I do. In fact, with the nervousness I saw on your
face when you were entering, I almost thought you’d not come up till where you did.
Cheer up now. All the best for the theory part of it.”
I smile at both of them and
scurry off for the theory examination.
Not too long after that, I emerge
with a triumphant smile.
“It went really good, Amma. It
was pretty easy,” I say, looking all bright and happy.
“That’s my girl. I knew you would
ace it,” said Amma giving a bear hug, smiling ear to ear.
“I’m so proud of you, darling,”
said my mom. I hug her and plant a kiss on her cheek.
With that, the examination was
done. My music (juniors) exam had just been tackled by me. I think then, why I
was so afraid of both of them. They were just being there with me as my
emotional chargers and most importantly, as my ‘friends’, giving me a helping hand as and when I needed it. It
was one of my best experiences with my Amma, and undoubtedly, very close to my
heart. Had she not been there with me that day, I doubt if I could have done
even remotely well. She was there, backing me, pushing me to do better and give
it my best shot and every single point.
She now lives in mine, and all of
our hearts, emanating the same fierce spirit that she possessed within her when
she was with us – alive.
And as for me, a break of 2 years
has been long enough. I will get back to my music, very soon!