Sunday, June 29, 2008

Prize Day

I was at Modern Symphony practice with the guys (I don't actually sing) when I got a call from Rohan Mazumdar telling me that I was being awarded a Special Prize, and that he wasn't exactly sure what it was called. Sure enough, James made it official a few minutes later by calling and asking me to cut my hair and get a pink tie for Prize Day. Devashish also got a call (Quite obviously!). So naturally this cheered me up immensely after the debacle of the board results.

The Prize Day for the Seniors was to be the 1st of June. Eeshaan and Rohan were involved in the actual ceremony, with Rohan generally overseeing stuff and Eeshaan strutting his stuff on stage. The day came, I went to school with Izaan and Devashish (Eeshaan and Rohan reached there a little earlier), found Rajiv who had arranged for ties, but we were one short. So we went around school looking for one pink tie - Zeba said Mrs. Murthy had it and Mrs. Murthy said Zeba had it, so Priyank and I gave up and headed back. I donned the pink tie over the white shirt that Mazum lent me, and then went upstairs to cool off in the gym AC with Devashish and Charan. Halfway through, Devashish was treated to a long discussion with Mr. Arya about the injustice of being born poor while I ducked into a nearby class.

Soon, it was time, and we headed to the Auditorium. It was mostly empty, but Devashish, Ayaz and myself took our seats on the right side of the hall and chatted for a while. The school appeared to have majorly underestimated the number of people that were going to attend, and thus many were left standing, mostly parents and teachers. The Chief Guest of the Evening was Shashi Tharoor, whom I was really looking forward to meeting up close.

And so it began. Mr. Bloud's summary of the school year seemed to include EVERY single event that took place, and so took a sizable amount of time, and then the actual distribution ceremony started. The presentation was the same as last times, I remember making it with Adhitya and Rajiv!  They started with the Junior grades, and I automatically clapped for everyone who came up, as did most of us, but the coolest part in each Grade was when ONE guy or ONE girl won like six prizes. (Devashish and I were having a chat with Akshay Subramanian before this. Deva asked him what prizes he won. He thought for a minute, and then said it would probably be better if he told us what he didn't win! Hilarious) These people were so short and they staggered off stage with a ton of books balanced in their hands. It must really suck to come after them!

The whole prize day was like a musical with breaks for Prize Giving. They had Lion King, Oliver, a few others and Saturday Night Fever! SNF was scheduled just before the Special Awards were given out and Eeshaan OWNED THE STAGE! My dad wanted to go buy the CD of Saturday Night Fever after the performance, and all of us were up and chanting along and cheering him on! I love that guy! Anyway, then came the special prizes. Notable mentions in the Special Awards are Zeba, Apoorva, Karishma and Srishti who DAZZLED us with their fantastic scripting skills and went up to DESERVEDLY collect the best Playwright Award together. I don't think there was anyone there who deserved their award more than them :P 

Anyway, jokes aside, some two prizes into the ceremony, Deva nudges me and I realize that they're saying something about grit and determination and adversity, so I get up and wait at the right while they finish the introduction (Zeba was there in the front for some reason - oh yeah, TWO Special awards, would you believe it - and she looked back and gave me a smile) and then I strode up on stage. I think Mr. James still wanted to say something, but the rest of it was a blur. I went to Shashi Tharoor and shook his hand, and he told me something, which I couldn't hear over the audience - however I nodded my head wisely - and then posed for pictures and headed back off stage. I tried vainly to find my father and grandfather where they were last sitting, but I was told that Mr. Solomon later shifted them up to the front, where, oddly, I didn't spot them!

Anyway, the ceremony ended soon after, as the Special Awards were last on the agenda, and then Shashi Tharoor came up and delivered a speech that blew me away. It was funny, yet serious, light yet thought provoking and so relevant in terms of todays world. I was really impressed that he had composed that just for this occasion - UNTIL Mr. James and Adhitya told me that he had said most of the same stuff at another event (I think the inauguration of the Debating Society) so that kind of burst my bubble. 

It was time to exit the hall now, and my father and grandfather were waiting outside. I asked them to wait while I collected the box for my award, accepting congratulations from many people I knew - Rajivs parents, Srini's parents, Mu'az's family and some others as well as several teachers- as well as people I had never met. A most gratifying experience.

A quick run up to the classes when I realized that I had left my bag there, and then we headed off a bit early because Dad was really tired as he had come directly from office. I wanted to linger a bit and talk to everyone but it is what it is.  So we left, and in the car, I get a most touching piece of information. I had got a standing ovation. I didn't notice it in the glare of the lights, but my dad assures me it happened. I was really touched. And deeply grateful. A milestone day in my life. 

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