Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Achiever

Vaibhavi came out screaming with joy. She was one of the final 18 to have made it to the reality dance show. And what's more, she would not only be in the team of the dance master she loved, but she would also have Navin as her team mate.

Navin, just a year or two older than her, was a handsome boy. But the reason she fell in love with him was his power-packed performance during the selection round. And then, when the short listed candidates had to go through yet another elimination round, he had come to her for help. She and he were to be part of the contemporary dance, and that was her forte. He was more of a hip hopper.

"You were beautiful on stage," he said, turning on his charm. She felt weak-kneed. Breathing became difficult in his presence. When she taught him how to stretch and point his toes, she put in extra effort to show him how to do it. She was by nature patient, and she stretched herself to iron out his awkwardness with some of the steps.

The evening before the evaluation round, he had executed the dance with a smoothness that stunned even her! "That was cool!" she mumbled.

"All thanks to you," he smiled making her feel as if she were the most special person in the world.

She prayed for his success as much as her own... Maybe even more than her own.

And now, both were in, and in the same team! How cool was that!


Six weeks down, and Vaibhavi was surviving in the show only because she was naturally good at dance and some of the others had performed worse than she! Much as she tried to put her heart and soul into her dance,    she seemed to be below her usual standards. Every time she saw Navin and Reena - another dancer from her group - together, a stabbing pain gripped her heart. Reena was the current rising star in the team. Navin and she together were setting the stage on fire. Every time Vaibhavi tried to catch Navin alone, he was polite but behaved as if he knew her no more than the other dancers on the show.

Her partner on this show, Dilip, was frustrated with her and complaining to the master, "She is just not loosening up! I find it difficult to carry her and dance!"

She hung her head in shame. "I promise I will pay more attention." But her voice broke despite her attempts at self control, and she ran into her room.

Dilip and the master looked at her receding back stunned. "What's wrong with her? Is something wrong?" the master asked, sure that her journey on the show was going to end this week.

Dilip shrugged, suddenly realising that maybe something was bothering Vaibhavi. "I will find out, sir," he said.


Dilip and Vaibhavi were doing an aerial act this week and Dilip had his heart in his mouth as the two tried some stunts. Vaibhavi was doing it gracefully, but he felt her attention wandering. They were sharing the practice hall with Navin and Reena, who were doing a romantic duet in contemporary style.

"No Navin!" Reena snapped. "You are a tad too slow," she screeched irritated.

After a heavy silence, Navin called out, "Hey Vaibhu, I am having difficulty with this stretch. Can you see what I am doing wrong?"

Raina was fuming in a corner. Vaibhavi jumped off the ring from mid air unmindful of hurting herself and ran to Navin. In a flash of insight, Dilip realised what the problem was. He watched as Vaibhavi enthusiastically helped Navin. Vaibhavi's performance improved marginally this week, enough for her to survive yet another week!

But again Vaibhavi went back to being the "just-another-dancer" for Navin.


Dilip's job now was cut out for him. He sat through Vaibhavi's solo practice and paid extra attention when they were practicing for the duet. His role - self-defined - was to keep Vaibhavi in good spirits. Initially, it was a herculean task, but as the days rolled by, she responded, initiating some teasing on her own too. She was not such a bad girl, Dilip thought. Their chemistry on stage improved as did Vaibhavi's level of performance.

Suddenly, it seemed as if the remaining boys wouldn't mind being paired with her anymore. Her solos were a class apart.


Reena found herself out of the show. With just nine contenders, someone had to leave, and a bad back put her out of running. She went with good grace. Now there was only Vaibhavi, Dilip and Navin left in their team. Vaibhavi supported Navin in duets, but her real test was when performing with Dilip. She amazed all with her ability to manage the two dances with elan. Navin was back to being attentive to her, and this did wonders for her performance.

Dilip couldn't help noticing when she subtly hinted to her master - who was now willing to listen to her because she had become his star performer - that she be tested for her items with Navin and she would support Dilip.

Dilip felt pained. It was he who had brought back her form. His bitterness reflected in his dance, and every item carried a trademark undercurrent of sadness which immediately touched the judges and, it seemed, the millions of people watching the show. His ratings shot up and he became number one week after week. But that had no impact on Vaibhavi, who remained putty in Navins' hands.

And then, Navin was out. The finals had Vaibhavi, Dilip and two other dancers in the running. Dilip was the hot favourite, with Vaibhavi a good second.


Dilip watched as Vaibhavi and the other two contenders practiced. One was evenly matched with Vaibhavi, the fourth was really the joker in the pack - difficult to predict.

Of late, he had been keeping much to himself, and Vaibhavi didn't seem to miss him much. She was friendly, pulling his leg as usual if he were around. But beyond that, she was wrapped in her own world to understand others' feelings. She didn't see how Dilip felt about her and Navin. Strange that she who had suffered from unrequited love and jealousy could not understand similar feelings in another soul that had been so close to her!

The final day. Their master wished them both luck, but his eyes lingered on Dilip with special affection. Dilip did thumbs up and asked, "Can I go in last?"


He watched Vaibhavi and the other dancers perform. It was touch and go, but he decided to risk it. He performed, but not as brilliantly.

Voting started furiously the moment the show was over. They waited with bated breath for the results. The joker in the pack came fourth, the other dancer came third... A few moments of suspense and teasing later, Dilip was declared first runner up and Vaibhavi, the star!

A burst of applause and much hugging later, Vaibhavi flew into Navin's arms. Dilip, the loser, turned to leave when Vaibhavi came running to him. She threw her arms around him. "You have been my best friend on the show... Only you could do what you did. You will always be the winner for me... Thanks," her eyes welled up. "This means more than just the car and the cash prize to me..." she said in a broken voice. "I get Navin too..." Her moist eyes looked at him gratefully, searing his heart.

"All the best," he whispered and walked away.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...