NUMBER ONE FAN …for all those women who’ve ever given up something for a man…

Posted: June 18, 2012 by Ankur in Writes...
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They were the perfect couple. They were both incredibly good looking, popular, excelled at their respective areas of interest, and were nominated for the ‘best outgoing students’ in school. All the other students envied them.

Jay was the captain of the school basketball team. And under his leadership, we never needed to worry. We would win every match we played. Always. And every time that happened, her face glowed with a pride we doubted even his mother felt. She was happier than him, and she felt a deep satisfaction. After all, all those ballet classes she had skipped, just to cheer him while he practised, had not gone in vain.

As the mentor of the school ballet group, I was not too worried about her missing so many classes. She always caught up, and within minutes, she used to be ready to dance with the rest of the class. She was the apple of my eyes. Mona always did me proud. Every time she performed, I’d feel like the most blessed guide ever. The grace with which she danced, coupled with her devotion and passion for ballet easily made her the star of my group. To be the world’s best ballerina had been her girlhood dream, and she worked hard to make it big in the world of dance. She told me she’d make the world sit up and take notice of her one day. That day was not too far away, as she began to be admired wherever she went. Her moment of glory came when she was crowned Ballet queen of the State early last year. Her fan following kept increasing by the day. I doubt it was just to do with her dance. She was beautiful, inside and outside!

We were both excited. The day we waited for all year long was finally approaching. The Annual Students’ Day in school was jus three months away. Our school achievers would be recognized that day, and there was going to be a variety of programmes organised by our students. The highlight of this day, for the past four years had been the ballet performance.As usual, Mona was chosen to be the lead dancer.

She put in her heart and soul into it, and practised for three hours everyday after school. Yet she found a couple of minutes every hour while everybody took their break, to run to the court, where Jay practised his game. But one day, about a month before the D-Day, she did not return. We waited for her for a long time, and then, when she did not turn up, we decided to carry on the day’s practice without her. We wound up around an hour later.

The next morning, I spotted her in the corridor, looking like I had never imagined her. Her beautiful, long hair was spilling from the braid she always wore; and the kohl with which she lined her doe eyes was missing. She looked distraught and impatient. I began to worry. An optimist like her needed a really serious reason to be depressed. I’d surely talk to her at practice today. If she came.

I thanked God as I saw her entering practice room that evening. But as she came closer, I sensed fear, desperation, and guilt in her swollen eyes. She had been crying. But I was not surprised. She’d had an argument with Jay during lunch, and very soon, the whole school knew about it. In fact, I was surprised at the composure with which she presented herself.

“You okay?” I asked her as she took a seat beside me. I looked at her. She had not yet changed into her ballet costume; neither did she look like she had brought her shoes along.

“I’m quitting”, she told blankly, to nobody in particular. I almost fell off my chair! Mona was not a quitter, and I knew she’d do anything for ballet. What then, could have happened, to force her to take such a drastic step?
“You wanna tell me what’s bothering you?”I asked her gently.

Unmoved, she told me Jay did not like the fact that she was not around to cheer him these days. “I’m his source of strength,” she said with a glimmer of pride not enough; however, to overshadow the pain she was going through. “He calls me his number one fan, and he needs me now. I need to stand by him if he’s gonna make it to the state team right? That’s been his dream since like forever!”

I was aghast. An independent girl like Mona was surely not saying this? “And what about you? Aren’t you the most talented ballerina in the state? Hasn’t it also been your dream to be this acclaimed ballerina? What about that? Are you willing to give up on your dreams in order to see his dreams come true?”

“Yes. Love overrides everything, mentor! Besides, I enjoy cheering for him. It’s a great feeling when you get to be your boyfriend’s number one fan! His games… they fill me with pride. You’d know if you saw him play one day. He’s a star. I see him play everyday! In fact, l’m going in ten minutes, as soon as I’m done talking to you.”

“And has he seen you dance, Mona? Even once?” I asked, feeling angry and sympathetic at once. “Does he know what a big star you are?”

Mona’s head hung low as she realized that it was not me, but herself that she tried to convince. She knew she was kidding nobody but herself when she said she was giving up on ballet out of her own will. Her teary eyes stood testimony to that.

“You should know that if you’re giving up on ballet, you have no rights to own the “Ballet Queen” crown anymore. It belongs to someone who’d never quit. Real love doesn’t pull one down, Mona. No one ever ‘falls’ in love. One should rise in love. If Jay ever loved you, he’d see what ballet means to you; and just like you want him to be a basketball champ, he’d want you to make a name for yourself. Somebody who really loves you will love what you love. Really Mona, the rate at which you give up ballet for him and still shine, he ought to be your number one fan.”

Mona listened to me wordlessly. The she stood up and left the room. A sense of loss enveloped me as I realized that my words had no impact whatsoever on her. I started wondering who’d be replacing her as the lead. I had almost made my choice when the door creaked. I saw Mona enter, dressed as a ballerina, all set to dance. “ So, let’s start?” she asked with a smile. Returning that radiant smile, I asked, “Does Jay know you’re here? Will he be waiting for you?” And I knew I had made a difference as I heard her say, “Today, basketball can wait. It’s time Jay started practicing on his own!I’m lagging behind on my ballet practice! ”

Arpita Nandi

Amrita School of Engineering, Bangalore

  1. hilpa says:

    nice one Arpita!! read the whole artilcle n then only saw it was urs.. good one 🙂

  2. aasktip says:

    hope more people get the guide at the turning points of their lives like Mona did … 🙂

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