“You are next on stage”, the teacher said, as I heard my name on the speaker. There was a mild ringing noise in my head which was growing louder by the minute. I peaked out through the heavy drapes and stared at the faceless audience. Among that crowd would be my parents, waiting, with proud smiles, with high hopes on their daughter. Among that crowd would be my friends, ready to shout out their support towards me. Among that crowd would be my tormentors, the bullies, ready to criticize any flaw that I display on this stage. But, the majority of the crowd would be just confused. Afterall, I’m Ariana, the girl who stays in the background, the girl who people wouldn’t think about twice, the introvert. With wide eyes, sweaty hands and shaky steps, I made my way to the middle of the stage. Once again, I looked at the crowd and clutched the mic tightly, as a roll of panic swept through me. Jumbled thoughts arose in me, which in the end meant the same: “This is a very bad idea”. But if I backed out now, there was so much to lose. Though my family and friends would say that stage fear was common and I shouldn’t worry too much about it they would feel slight disappointment. The bullies would get yet another information to torment me with. Most importantly, I would lose my self-trust. So, I took a deep breath, and looked at the audience straight in the eyes. I imagined myself as a queen, majestic and regal, looking down at my people from the balcony. There is no person as revered as a queen, no person who can demand respect with just her presence. And I was determined to earn that respect. If my daddy called me a princess, why can’t I be a queen? I held my chin high up, and I began to sing. I began to pour my feelings out. I trusted myself and my voice to carry out the notes the way it should go. I let go of myself and revelled in the sound of my voice across the auditorium. The audience listened entranced, as her voice rolled out in waves of feelings, crashing down one on top of the other. They sat mystified by her angelic voice, as she sang the words they have heard so many times and yet this rendition so different from anything imaginable. Her voice was music, and grace and the promise of tomorrow. Her voice resonated – a cascading waterfall in the midst of the whispering meadows. Tears gathered in the eyes of the audience as her lilting voice rose higher and higher, as each brittle note carried a storm of feelings. As if it was too soon, the final chords of the saccharine music flowed gently to its end. As the song came to a close, I opened my eyes, which I had somehow closed while singing. There was a moment of awed silence, before the crowd rose and the hall drowned in a cacophony of ovation and encouragement. I could have sworn that I heard someone screaming “ENCORE!”. A bubbling feeling of happiness erupted from the depth of my heart as I stared at the crowd, the very crowd that I was scared of facing. I don’t think that that feeling of nervousness would go off entirely, but now I would be able to face anything with a strong will. She bowed down gracefully and thanked the audience. Then, regally, with a spark of humbleness, she glided out of the stage like the queen she was. Ariana woke up with a smile and took the dream diary lying on her bedside table. She jotted down the events of her dream and as she wrote, she wished with every fibre in her being to be the queen that she was in her dream in her performance that evening.

Submitted by Rajharini Rajamanickam , Kongu Engineering College



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