This story is by Shekar Rangarajan and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
MIRA: The Rockstar!
MIRA, hailed from a poor family in Rajasthan, India .
She was bright and intelligent.
Her father had an unsteady income.
Since she grew up in a sheltered environment, she was shy and inhibited by nature.
Her mother augmented their income by performing puppet shows on the streets.
Until she was old enough to attend school, she was an apprentice to her mother.
When not performing, she assembled broken toys discarded by other children into a puppet. One such puppet, a patchwork of ill-fitting proportions, had a unique gift.
She named her the ‘ANGEL’.
ANGEL served as her confidant.
Empathized with her innermost fears and aspirations.
Listened to her conscience and acted as her buddy.
ANGEL’s back chat helped MIRA dialogue within.
Dig deeper into her reservoir of untapped genius.
Steady herself in an hour of crisis.
Battle challenges of a higher order.
Break free from staying in the shadows.
Helped MIRA bid for greatness.
ANGEL’s chatter grew rather loud and unbearable over time.
‘Stop it Angel,’ MIRA would scream at her.
Yet, MIRA knew that her chatter was growing in meaning and significance for her.
Once MIRA began attending school, her mother took to housekeeping at a nearby gym. Satish worked as a gym instructor in the same gym.
She watched Satish from a distance, push himself harder at work.
Out of curiosity, she asked him whether his vigorous workouts may not impair his health. Satish allayed her fears, saying that, “Active gymming helped one stay fit and young. Stretched workouts helped compete and endure better.”
Not convinced, “How can that be?” she asked.
Satish played Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion at the adjoining AV room, for her. Overawed, she watched Eliza Doolittle, the heroine, in action.
The spellbinding journey of transformation from a flower girl into a Duchess!
She recognized the effort that went behind realizing such an ideal.
Understood the risk and pain of dreaming big.
A plaque at the gym, reading as below appeared quite apt.
‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger
– Friedrich Nietzsche’
She confessed her dream to ANGEL that night, “ I will be a Duchess some day!.”
MIRA attended the Church on weekends with her grandma.
She loved listening to folklore and classics like the Alice in Wonderland.
She recalled the Cheshire cat’s quote, ‘If you don’t know where to go, it does not matter what you do.’ She now understood how Satish could be so purpose driven.
Satish’s big dream was to coach World-class athletes at the ensuing Commonwealth Games at London then. His commitment to realize his mission, helped him bear the pain of rigorous workouts. He overcame the strain of exertion.
She teased him by asking him, “So when does Satish become a Duchess?”
Satish’s friendly retort: “Don’t you want become a Duchess too someday?”
MIRA confided her secret desire she had shared only with ANGEL until then.
‘I want to be a Broadway star too, like Audrey Hepburn’.
He encouraged her with a caution, “Sweat in peace to avoid bleeding in war.”
She got the message.
Promised to secure 95% marks in the school finals.
Satish offered to fund her admission into a decent college, if she did.
Inspired by Satish, MIRA’s scored enough at the school finals.
Enrolled herself for an undergraduate course in Psychology.
Taking help from her friends, she worked aggressively on how to think on her feet.
Mastered speed reading and practiced quick recall.
Step by step, she overcame her performance anxiety.
Gained self confidence.
MIRA thought she had thought through her passage to her future very carefully. Provided for every possible obstruction. Developed contingency measures.
Hoped to make a breakthrough at the intercollegiate cultural fest.
Get noticed as a star!
She had underestimated her adversaries and their political clout.
She failed to make it to the final round.
Crestfallen, she looked for ways to avenge her defeat.
She spotted an alternate opportunity to perform a one-act-play at Alliance Français.
Wrote the plot, scripted the screen play, designed the costumes and enacted the event all by herself. Her solo act stole the show!
She noticed ANGEL giving her an appreciative nod! Just what she needed to celebrate her arrival! The prize money was a scholarship to learn French at Alliance Français for herself. That turned out to be the lucky break she had been praying for!
Alliance Français, posted her play on You Tube. That received rave reviews!
MIRA felt like a celebrity. Fancied a World full of possibilities.
Having overcome her nervousness to perform in public, she stretched herself.
Enjoyed playing before larger gatherings and an international audience!
Elected to feed on her strengths and let the World take notice of her.
Satish sprang a surprise on her.
“Hi Duchess! Free to join me for a meal tonight? Just the two of us?.”
MIRA couldn’t resist an invite to be out for an evening with Satish.
After ordering the choicest wine, he broke the news!
“Yes, I topped the list. They want me to coach the athletes at the Commonwealth Games. I am off to London this weekend. All my hard work has paid off.”
His dream had come true and this was his hour of glory!
Satish unfolded his future prospects of moving off to Canada after the games.
His next milestone was to impress the World with his work and settle down, for good.
Satish, oblivious to MIRA, was lost in his own dream world.
She listened to him with awe and bit her lips in disappointment. She wondered.
“How can Satish imagine a World in which she seemed to play no part at all?.”
‘What about me?’ was a question that stuck to MIRA’s throat but never went beyond.
With Satish gone, she felt alone and neglected.
Confided her love for Satish to ANGEL but could not bring herself to tell him that, that night. Asked ANGEL, “I can piece together a doll like you. Who will piece together my broken self?”
MIRA bid Satish farewell that weekend.
As Satish cleared through security check, she realized how much she missed him
MIRA picked up a ‘Thank you’ note from her letter box upon return from the airport.
Hoping to encourage MIRA, Satish had written, ‘You are the brand. Go viral’.
‘Did that mean Satish too had some feeling for her?’, she was not sure.
Yet, she drew a lot of inspiration from that note. “Ditch the broadway star Duchess. Hitch yourself to Satish and don’t let him slip away!” she said to herself.
ANGEL was the only witness to this change of plan.
She swore to go viral, that very instant.
Took to the social media by the storm.
She essayed Satish’s ordeals and triumphs as a serial video blog post.
Carried language translations in her native language Tamil, English and French.
Created a fan club and fancied a Global viewership platform for him.
She figured out a way to get to Satish by pursuing a graduate course in psychology in Canada. Secured a scholarship with all expenses paid, from a Canadian university for that Fall! She felt quite like the heroine of Pygmalion.
Now she envisioned winning Satish over on her own terms.
How surprised would Satish be when he got an unexpected gift at an unexpected moment at an unexpected place in an unexpected way?
The gift of course would be the ’Duchess’ that presented her real self in Canada! That felt like a Rock star!