Back in School, our teachers had this weird mission of “All Round Development” of the students. They used to abuse and torture kids to various “activities” under this pretext. Did you guys have the S.U.P.W subject? – Socially Useful Productive Work, officially, but we used to call it “Some Useful Period Wasted“. This was the class where they made us paint pots and carve birds out of bars of soap.
Anyway, so this one year, our teachers decided that we should put on a “Talent Show” for the Annual School Day. It was going to be a platform for all students to showcase their “special talents“. When I first heard this thing, I had a big knot in my stomach. Talent? What Talent? I had absolutely no Talents. I went to the teacher to discuss this dilemma.
Me: “Ma’am, I don’t want to take part in this Talent Show“
Teacher: “But dear, you must put on a show. Show your special talents!“
Me: “I don’t have any special talents!“
Teacher: “Don’t be silly. Everyone has special talents. Do you sing?“
Teacher: “Do mimicry?“
Teacher: “Do you collect stamps? Coins?“
Me: “I have lots of Comic Books. Tintin, Spiderman, Batman…“
Teacher: “How about drawing? Can you draw?“
Me: “Only Green-eyed-Aliens“
Teacher: “Public Speaking?“
Me: “I can tell jokes about frogs and chicken.“
Teacher: “Hmmm……We might have a problem“
The Teachers got together to discuss the situation, and I was “volunteered” to be a part of a group dance. Being hidden behind a crowd of other dancers, they reasoned, would limit the amount of damage I would do to the school and its reputation. Ha!
And so, we began “dance practice” in earnest. It turned out to be a folk song, whose lyrics were in a language that I’m sure no one understood, and the dance steps were a cross between Michael Jackson’s moves and some sub-saharan tribal rain-dance. It involved wildly swinging your arms while simultaneously twirling your head and body until you were dizzy.
After a few weeks of this uncoordinated clumsiness, the teachers were satisfied that we were ready for the big day.
We were backstage on the big day, and we were all ready to get into our “traditional costumes“. That meant dressing up like a clown and wearing this massive turban on your head. Now we were in 5th or 6th Standard, and the dude who was dressing us up put full sized turbans on our heads. My turban covered my head, my forehead and 66% of my eyes as well. I could see only the lower third of everything. The teachers ignored all my protests and shoved us all off onto stage.
The stage was brightly lit up and there were thousands of people in the audience – All parents and relatives and friends turned up to watch their young children “show their cultural achievements“. I regret not knowing any of the choice explicitives that a college education teaches you. I had real use for them that day. Anyway, the music started up and everyone started moving their hands and legs. The heavy weight of the large turban was too much to bear for most of us, and we were wildly off-balance, behaving like drunks, constantly bumping and bouncing off each other. Now, I was standing way back in the third row just doing my thing when the dude in front of me lost balance and stepped back one step.
At that exact same time, I did a “twirling move” with my arms out stretched.
My hand had accidentally slapped the dude in front of me, who, already off balance, now completely lost it and fell onto the guy in the first row. Turban first. The enormous turban generated enough momentum to completely knock him off and he hit the ground. Turban first. The other two guys in the front row also tripped on the fallen kid’s turban and hit the deck. Turban first.
The audience gasped at the pile of kids on stage. Someone stopped the music, and a bunch of teachers rushed in to rescue this disaster and drag us all out backstage. I think a few of the kids also needed some first aid.
All said and done, I think the moral of this story should have been: “Shouldn’t have taken me in the talent show! I Told You So!”. I think the teachers got it though. I was never asked to a Talent Show again.