Magix 'n' Curses
..the argument continues

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Nope. It isn't the fear of all things bright and shiny! It's stage fright. Something that has had me in its vice-like grip from the time my math teacher asked me to come forward and recite the multiplication tables of 3.

I've been avoiding going up on stage like plague, and my school principal had done everything she could to get me up there and speak. And I felt very proud of myself when I left school to know I'd evaded her attempts for 10 years! For some strange reason, no one else felt proud of me for that.

I'd successfully avoided taking seminars too, in college. Until a couple of days back.

"Nee thaan pa seminar edukkarae, Networks basics pathi.. idha vechu thaan unakku mark kudukka poraen". These words from my lecturer seemed straight out of my worst nightmare. My "Sir, mudiyaadhu sir.. anga pona nadunguvaen" pleadings fell on deaf ears. And he gave me less than a day to prepare. It was the beginning of the end.

The next day I was confident he wouldn't turn up to class. In my final year, no one does!! Things started looking more and more like scenes from a nightmare when I saw him turn up on time. He looked at me and gestured to the board. "That's it", I thought to myself, "I'm doomed".

What happened for the next few minutes, I'd never know. All I remember is getting up on the li'l dais kinda thingy in front of the board. And starting to speak about networks.

My eyes slid out of focus. There was a dull buzzing sound filling my ears. At one point of time, it grew so loud that I couldn't hear myself. My mind played strange tricks on me, coz every word I uttered sounded garbled and full of static, to me. On top of all this was the most confident inner voice, I've heard in my life.

I don't think I've introduced you guys to my inner voice. It's this squeaky little thing, that helps me be a chamathu fellow. Says all the right things at the right times, but also makes me feel guilty when I unintentionally hurt someone and constantly bugs me to apologise till I do so. But at times, when it is most confident, the Sachin-like voice takes on an Amitabh-like baritone. Giving me clear instructions of what to do.

But what I heard that day was a voice unlike any I've heard so far. So confident and deep, that it'd give Amitabh Bachchan a complex. And it was giving me clear instructions, guiding me on.

To drop my papers and flee through the door.

As my eyes slid further out of focus, more static filled my ears and I couldn't hear Mr. Inner Voice either. My legs gave me an impression that I wasn't too far of from the epicentre of an earthquake. My hands trembled so badly that I had to put it in my pocket, and then take it out just as quickly when I realised it'd look worse! Inspite of being a computer science student, I was pretty certain I'd introduced a new disorder to the medical field. HAPS. Harish's Acute Perspiration Syndrome.

That was when I saw the most inspiring, the most beautiful and the most morale boosting sight I'd ever seen in my life. The message I'd scribbled at the end of my notes - "You're still alive. Congratulations. Now get out of there!"

Everything came back to me clearly when I sat down at my desk. I realised the magnitude of what I'd gone through when my friend said "dei, bayangarama nadungarae da!". I removed my footwear and kept my cold feet on the floor. And realised I'd made Krishna Jayanthi type footmarks out of sweat.

That was my moment of truth. All my well wishers flashed before my eyes. Those who had my best interests in mind. I recollected how they said "To overcome your fear, face it head on", "Go up on stage once, you'll get over it once and for all". And for one fleeting moment I was filled with an emotion I'd never felt before in my life.

Something of a cross between anger and disappointment when I realised what a big fat lie it all was! I'm now more petrified of going up on stage than ever!!!