Monday, October 11, 2010

Stage fright

I was in 9th standard and had already learned how to be a part of the ‘behind the scene’ activities, I was always involved in the school activities but not for the ones which would give me those ‘round of applause’ or the oohs and aahs… but I was always sitting in a corner drawing or painting a background scene or a decorative piece to adorn the ‘farewell stage’ or may be writing out the ‘titles’ for the Ms. Beautiful or Mr. All rounder. By now you must have guessed that I suffered from the biggest fear of any shy child in a school and that is the ‘stage fright’…so ok where was I ,… yeah I was in the 9th standard and as usual I was happy participating in the ‘Essay writing ‘ competition and the ‘painting competition’ and was comfortably chatting away with my class mates when our very own ‘Deeps ( Perceptions)’ mother, my dearest and most beloved teacher, Mrs. Kumar, caught me by the ear (lovingly) and asked me to participate in the Malayalam poetry recitation competition.. my God.. I could not refuse her.. she was my anchor.. she knew me inside out.. knew my strengths and weaknesses.. and she wanted me to do it..

But only I knew one thing that how scared I was to get to that place called the ‘stage’.. I was all respect and awe and that unknown teenage feeling for all those who could stand straight on the stage, face the sea of faces (some of them mocking you, laughing at you and some giving you the royal ignore ) still you stand your ground and deliver the speech. Well.. the gist is that I had to say yes to my teacher and when the D Day came.. first on stage was the hero of the school.. who was sure to win every competition he participated in. he spoke with such ease and élan that you would think he was born to rule the stage.. then came the best performer of our class .. she was so good in everything.. and yes even for this competition she was going to be very good.. then another person who was also equally good.. to my shock I discovered that there were only 4 participants.. and then I comforted myself that I might get the 4th prize after all.

The first 2 participants concluded their recitations with such grace that they got applause with aplomb…hmmm.. then came my turn and I felt as if I had legs made of heavyweight rubber.. and I had no control over them.. I was sweating profusely… some how I dragged myself on to the stage.. I saw a sea of blue and grey uniforms.. faces.. so many.. I thought I would drown in that ocean.. I stood there numb… my mouth parched and dry.. my tongue felt like a piece of wood inside my mouth.. capable of nothing.. leave aside this ‘recitation’.. Then after what seemed like centuries standing there facing a sea of faces.. I forced my self to recite.. and all I could hear was a croak …a mumle..jumble ..nothing thereafter.. I could hear the laughter.. the jeers.. could see some weary faces.. I came back from the stage.. I could hear a solitary clap somewhere.. maybe my best friend.. I thought!!.. well I could not face my teacher.. she had so much expectations from me..but she was also someone who understood. And then the prizes were announced.. guess what.. obviously.. there was no 4th prize… !!!

This trend continued throughout school, then college, then I joined a PSU worked their for more than 7 years, in between I had to speak in meetings (mostly sitting at the allotted space and reading out data) and that too amongst our own team who were buddies , all of them.. of course except the Big boss.. and yes.. I also spoke aggressively and vehemently during the con.. calls  but on ‘a stage’.. never..ever until one day I was transferred to the region from the Corporate and my Boss changed.. I had someone very young and who was like a friend .. and then I went with him for Campus recruitment and while we entered the auditorium.. it had close to 300 odd people (students and faculty) sitting as audience ..I was nervous even to sit on the dais but then I thought.. ‘What the heck .. lemme enjoy my self while my boss makes the presentation.” But guys the enjoyment was short lived.. it felt as if I heard my name being announced.. yess… yess it was my name.. alright.. and it was my boss who was calling out my name.. he said so now… Ms. So and So will start with the ppt.. and I felt I was going to have a stroke.. or may be the earth will just crack and swallow me and never let me go. Rest everything happened in a haze, I remember standing up and looking at my boss as if I would eat him up and then as if I was begging for my life from him (this is the description which he gave later)…Yes.. I gave the ppt. I read it out.. I stopped.. I missed out on lines.. I stammered a bit.. but I carried it through.. 25 slides in all… I could not believe it.. and yes people applauded too.. loudly….(may be because I was there to do the Campus placements… whatever… but they applauded… for me)

And guys since then there has been no looking back.. I had gone for numerous Campuses after that.. conducted many Induction programmes.. and such like and all thanks to one person who pushed me into the water and left me at that.. I had no other way but to fight for life and swim to the shore.

I keep on encouraging my daughter to participate in everything at school, not just the ‘behind the scenes’ but also in those events where she has to be on stage and face an audience.. Whether she wins a prize is immaterial.. because this is the ground where she gets trained to stand her ground to face the sea of faces.. or other wise the applause will elude till the time may be luck gives you a chance meeting with such wonderful people..

what about you.. do you suffer from stage fright.. did you ever have stage fright .. or are you the charmer on the stage with ease and élan???


  1. First of all, welcome back to the blogging world! It's SO good to see a post from you after so long.

    I am one of those who have a case of terrible stage fright, just before I go on stage, I die a thousand deaths. But somehow I force myself, cause I know once I am on stage, after those first few seconds, I am fine, I will make it.

    Even now the fear is the same, but I've learned to live through it.

  2. this is the case with me also till my PG. by worst of luck or fate, I got into MBA, where everyday we have to do some presentation in every paper..

    There went away my fear..

  3. but then its common with everyone..I see only people who do performance arts like dance right from there childhood be at ease..

  4. Oh yes I suffered from terrible stage fright, Rekhu. I dont knw if you remember, I had fainted once in school while performing on stage. It was one of those classical music competitions! God, I still get shivers when I think about that day! I was so scared! And you know whats even stranger is that ever since that day I've never been able to sing that keerthanam which gave me the stage fright!

    Beautiful post, Rekhu! I'm going to send the link to Ma if you've not already.

    "Whether she wins a prize is immaterial.. because this is the ground where she gets trained to stand her ground to face the sea of faces.." Loved these lines the most! So very well said!

    Know what, Rekha, with you as their mom, I'm sure both your daughters are going to shine and take on this world with utmost confidence and will. God bless them always :)


  5. Deeps, I do not remember thant incident da, but I do remember your beautiful voice , you along with Hema used to sing so beautifully. And the latest song which u sang and uploaded on utube I tried desply to hear , par office or ghar ka pc dono kisi kaam ke nahi :(

    Really Deeps I would be thankful if us send the link to teacher, I am so bad in these things, infact I wanted to give a link to your blog where I have mentioned it.I'd have to learn it fast it seems.. Yes Deeps stage fright had haunted me very long.. I am thankful ki ab thodi shaanti hai.. thanks for your sincere comment as always.

    Thanks for the welcome dear, yes I know I should write more often but what to do most of the times I have this block...non writers block..hi..hi

    Devasena, thanks for the comment dear..

  6. Dear Rekha! can u imagine how happy I am that my observation was right and what talent I discovered has grown to declare u a winner? AM THRILLED THAT U ARE SO VERY SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE MY DEAR, AND THANK U DEAR FOR REMEMBERING SUCH DETAILS ABOUT THOSE GOOD OLD DAYS

  7. My dearest dearest teacher, Its the blessings of you and my parents that I have reached here, but yes you were the only one who ever took notice and I would love you all my life for it and so many such wonderful gestures which you had shown towards me always.
    love you

  8. Wish u and your family a Happy Diwali -:)

  9. Hi Rekha... I was caught up in such things that i couldn't visit this space n i see i have missed quite a lot.

    Some people seem to be so natural on stage n some feel really frightened but believe me it has nothing to do with confidence levels or anything like that .... i had this fright too in the beginning but in the senior classes i saw i was not a fright but a tendency not to be able to stand the sight of disinterested people ...later on when i started teaching you can imagine what could have happened...:)

    Hope your girls are naturally inclined to what they do ( on or off stage ) and if they need to go on stage ( or for any other activity ) it is because they feel like it , not being pushed to it... I am sure you are taking care of this and if they still have a fear , watch how they talk to the strangers or any guests visiting , once they are free with it and make detailed stories of small things ...there is a reason for you to smile.

    it was great reading this post.

  10. sangeeta,I understand. And that is quite a nice tip you have given me here, I will keep this in mind.