Monday, May 14, 2012

The Competition

"Hey Sruthi! Check this out. There is an inter-college dance competition coming up. Solo! Shall we go?" Radhika asked her friend.

"Oh no, you know I hate these events... Leave me out," Sruthi replied.

Radhika pouted. "Come on, I so want to go... but don't want to go alone."

"I will come with you, cheer you..." Sruthi assured her.

Radhika thought but shook her head. "No! Come on, you also dance... it doesn't matter if we win or lose, right? Just for fun, okay?"

"I am not in form, Radhu... You know I haven't danced in a while," Sruthi demurred.

"Let's practice together, like in school days. Please, please, please, pretty please! Don't say no..." Radhika pouted prettily. Sruthi laughed at her friend and turned away without comment. "Won't you do this for your friend!" Radhika demanded, making Sruthi feel guilty. "Okay, okay..." she conceded reluctantly.

They started practicing and Sruthi was so glad of that! It had been easy to forget the joy of dancing in coping with studies. But listening to the music and flowing with it was a different experience altogether. She felt so refreshed! She hugged Radhika. "You are right, winning or losing isn't important. It is fun!" The two friends grinned in joy.

Before going on stage Sruthi said a small prayer, took a minute to calm herself. Radhika was next. She did a thumbs up. Sruthi nodded and took centre stage. As the music came on, she was lost to the world, dancing just for the joy of it as the steps flowed smoothly and gracefully.

She finished her piece and waited back stage to watch Radhika, praying her friend would do just as well. Radhika was a bundle of energy and she stunned the audience with her performance. Sruthi hugged her friend and exclaimed, "You were fantastic!"

When the results were announced, the two friends waited with bated breath. The second and third prizes went to some others. Apprehension gripped them when out of the blue, the judges announced, "And the first prize goes to Sruthi!"

Stunned the two friends stared at each other. The news hit Sruthi slowly but surely and she squealed suddenly, hugging Radhika. She ran on stage, ecstatic, to take her cash prize. "We loved your calm and sure performance. This is not to say that the others were any less, but you worked magic," the senior judge said.

Sruthi ran back to her friend, who had tears in her eyes. Sruthi felt deflated. She had been selfish!

Friends commiserated. Sruthi rose up to her defense. "Radhika is a fantastic performer. That day wasn't her day, but that doesn't take anything away from her!"

When Sruthi snapped at another close friend a couple of days later, Radhika stood up angrily. "Stop showing off so much! You don't have to keep rubbing in the fact that you got the prize instead of me! If it weren't for me, you wouldn't even have participated! And now, the gall of it. 'Not her day...'" Radhika said grimacing angrily. "What kind of a friend you are, cheating on me, trying to prove your superiority! Stop being so patronising!"

She stormed away, leaving Sruthi stunned and speechless.
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