“Look at at the third button of your shirt, How dare you wear a belt?,Why your shoes are not polished? Stand straight” I was hearing all these commanding voices while constantly looking at my third button of my shirt. It is almost one hour over we were standing in a line. I am trying to see if I can find anything new in that button but found none. But somehow I have started loving that button. But more than that, I was scared because anything can happen to a fresher in college at any point of time. It was almost 3 months over since, I joined engineering college. Have only seen class rooms, my hostel room and my third button when not in class or in hostel. If I look up to see anything, within a second somebody will come and slap me. I was thinking, “Is this the college for which I studied day and night to get into, sacrificed all pleasure for months and most importantly sacrificed enjoying my sisters marriage. I must come out of this traumatic life soon. If all this what we have to do here then it is not worth”. But thought for a second, there must be way out. Suddenly somebody whispered “Warden is coming” and within seconds all seniors vanished but warned before leaving, “We are watching you. Remember the rules”. Then we walked in a line constantly looking at our third button and reached Multi Purpose Hall. Stage was decorated nicely, there were orchestra on the stage and the hall was full of students and teachers from different years. There were students from Master of Computer Application course and Diploma engineering. Tried to see things around as it was dark and nobody was able to see us. There was a banner “Hearty welcome to freshers”. I followed my friend who was walking in front of me and found some seats empty and specially reserved for us. Went and sat there. Then a kind voice whispered near my ear “You can stop watching your 3rd button and enjoy the function now” I suddenly looked back and found one of the second year students and he smiled. I smiled in return. We were not allowed to keep moustaches during ragging period. My duck lips became more prominent as I smiled and he shouted “No need to show your dirty teeth, look at the stage” and I zipped my lips in no time and started staring at the empty stage. At least something different to stare at.
Then after few minutes function started, our principal delivered speech followed by many other senior professors and finally the cultural secretary who was from 3rd year, formally opened the stage for cultural programs. Many seniors sang songs, danced and showed their talents. We all had to clap hard after every seniors performance, not because we liked but had to survive ragging.
Then suddenly one senior came to me and said “Come”, I looked at him and my heartbeat was at its maximum speed. Scared and unsure what to do. Then immediately realized whatever will happen let me just follow him. I stood up and saw another first year student was already there with him. I was very skinny like a dried stick and the other friend was exactly opposite of mine as far as body weight and heights are concerned. Then we both followed him and I realized that we were going towards the stage. Once the performance that was going on was over, he went on to the stage and took the microphone. He announced “We have two great dancers among us” everybody clapped and then he looked at us and said “they will perform now, please give them a big hand” clap continued and many laughed just looking at us. I tried to recall, when last time I had danced, could not recall at all. I was not sure about my other friend but I was very sure that I can never dance, that to in front of hundreds of people. I realized my legs were shaking as if I am doing it intentionally. So fear and embarrassment were trying to prove their attendance. Everything was blur in front of me and I was unable to hear anything. So I was convinced that all my 5 senses had given up. Then I saw all professors and college staffs were leaving the hall. I was not sure what to do now. Then I found microphone was in front of me and that senior was asking me something. I tried to listen but could not, a strange noise came from inside “aaaaaawwwnn” and microphone amplified it and spread it all over. Everybody started laughing. Then senior said “So, you guys will start now?” as if, if we say no then he will leave us. He said “Okay, now these two guys will do break dance for us” and music started. The other guy was trying to do something and I tried to follow him. He was making some weird postures and I found it difficult to follow. So I thought let me give it a try, may be this is an opportunity to come out of this traumatic life, and I hardly had any other options. Then spread my hands and legs to their maximum extent in different directions with the sound bit, Ignoring the people, my fear and all other emotions. Then suddenly I felt I am feeling happy and relaxed. Then continued it by moving my hands and legs in different ways. I observed, everybody were clapping, laughing and many stood up and came near the stage to watch us clearly and cheered us. That was too inspiring for me and I somehow felt it may take me out of all restriction. I started making strange and ever-changing steps till the music continued. Then when it was over, I was feeling relaxed and happy. I was walking back to my seat continuing my research on 3rd button but one senior came and kept his hand on my shoulder. “No need to look down “ he said continuing his laugh and took me near his seat. Many seniors came and shook hands with me and congratulated me for the great performance. I was really not sure what I did and was also not sure if I can repeat it ever in future but was feeling good. After 3 months, I had heard kind and normal human voices. Trust me, then on they wanted me to dance in every function and I did. But then by choice not by force. I realized that this is my identity as long as I maintain it I will be safe as well as happy. After many months some asked me what do you name your dance. There was a forest behind our hostel and the name of that was ‘Pitri’. So, I said it is ‘Pitri Dance’. This dance was alive for many years until few years back.
Here I think the dance was not important, It was important how to stand out from the crowd. Although I was forced to do this first time but I had one identity. It made me a popular joker but still I was one among many. In unknown and unsuitable situations we always have something to drag attention of people and benefit out of it. But we have to carefully observe the situation and do something which will make us lovable and will be our survival tool. Like ragging days, this world is not very easy place either. We have to redefine our identity time to time but must not forget our values. Let people come to you because you are a joker but then once they come near you, you have the opportunity to show what your real talent is.
- Stray Dog
- Dance your heart out (thebullockbus.wordpress.com)
- Discontent in dance (thereinventedlass.wordpress.com)
- William Levy & Cheryl Burke: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ freestyle gave Latin feel (examiner.com)
- “So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival?” ~ Cassandra Smith (elephantjournal.com)
- Katherine Jenkins sings in freestyle dance on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (examiner.com)
- PSU-Different Careers In Dance (pluginin.org)
- Philosophy Of Death (articles4friends.com)
- Last Dance (discococomomo.wordpress.com)
- Play with Your Body. ~ Cassandra Smith (elephantjournal.com)