I loathed being a mere observer in the vast audience, but it was also just my doing.
After having foolhardily presumed that college life would be a walk in the park, reality hit me hard when I got there. I had spent seven years of my life at a boarding school, where I thought I had acquired all the skills necessary to outshine the lot. I excelled at almost everything during the course of those seven years – I was a fair sportsperson, dramatist, public speaker, musician, and a dancer. Furthermore, I was always surrounded by the same people, the same teachers and the same peers, which did me more harm than good. They had all become accustomed to seeing me on the stage and out on the field, so it was always easy to be out there, than in the audience, watching.
So, when I finally did join college, I was struck by the fact that everyone was equally or more talented, and that I would have to start over. Inevitably, I let every opportunity that crossed my path slip, for the fear of being auditioned and judged. I loathed being a mere observer in the vast audience, but it was also just my doing.
This continued to boggle me until I finally met the football team. We were all only interested in and passionate about the sport, and no one cared about how good or bad a player was, which was good news. I did well, seniors recognised me and so did my batch mates with whom I had never interacted before. After overcoming my initial hesitation, I opened up to the team and performed to the best of my ability. We trained for over a month, and when we finally went in headlong to challenge our competitors, we put up a great fight.
The first match was probably the best thing that happened to me that semester. The competition was intense, and the scorching sun beat down to match our rage. The opposing team was just as skilled, and slightly intimidating. However, this didn’t deter our exalting minds. Hellbent to win the opening match, we emerged victorious with a score of 4-0. I happened to score one of the goals, which only helped me further my endeavour to grasp all opportunities, because I realised that however well or terribly you perform, people are bound to forget someday or the other.
This match paved the way for optimism, and shattered the low self-worth I had developed during my first few months. During the 90 minutes that I was on the field, playing the game I loved to play even though I wasn’t all that great at it, I realised that the fear of auditions shouldn’t keep me from doing things that I had loved to do at school. In a way, it helped me come out of the protective cocoon I had built around myself, and nudged me to venture out into spaces that made me uncomfortable initially, only to make way for celebration and accomplishment.
I have now decided to go for that audition that kept me from the stage.
Article by: Rushali Rastogi (Batch of 2019)
Photograph by: Shashwat Mohanty (Batch of 2018)