Ruchika Verma



Ruchika Verma


Standing Up

Standing Up

4 mins

It was dark and somber in the room I stepped into. The lights flashed around me all of a sudden, blinding me for a minute. All around me were the magnificent spotlights, focusing on me. On me!

It's been a dream, all my life I wanted this. This spotlight. This attention. I worked for it. I spent hours practicing for it. But then something felt wrong.

My heartbeat started racing, sweaty palms made it difficult to hold the mic I had in my hand. Suddenly I was face to face with the large number of people, seated on the seats just below the stage. They all were waiting for me to say something, do something, anything. But there I was, standing completely frozen. Like a statue ready to be pooped upon by the pigeons. I stepped forward and suddenly I fell into a dark hole. A hole which seemed to have no end, I kept on falling like Alice in the rabbit hole. It was an endless hole and suddenly I landed with a thud!

When I opened my eyes I was in my own murky room, sweating like hell.

It was just a dream, I thought.

I got up from my bed and got ready for another day in school. It was a regular day with me and my guitar strolling through the hallway, until I reached the Music room, where I practice and saw the notice pasted outside. It was the last day for the auditions of the Musical, my school was going to present in collaboration with the famous theater group, Elixir.

My palms started to sweat again, blackness seemed to be overcoming my mind and eyes. I felt like falling down that terrible rabbit hole again. I felt like dying, I felt like my heart was going to break through the ribcage.

I could've died at that moment from so much anxiety I was experiencing.

But then I decided, it was my dream, my dream I've been training so hard for. If I have to die because of this dream, I'd rather die for this dream!

With sweaty palms I turned the doorknob around and entered the room.

There were around fifty other students already there waiting for their turn on the stage. My fear of people caught onto me again. I felt dizzy but I still somehow managed to register for the audition.

"I thought you'd never turn up for this. I'm kinda proud of you but also ready to see you fall on the stage and break your tooth like you did in class 4." Laughed my classmate who volunteered for registration for extra credits, I suppose.

I ignored her but still the memories of that dreadful day came back to me.

I was playing the lead role in the musical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, produced by the school. And at the very beginning, fell at my face on the stage and broke my tooth. I remember seeing my tooth flying at the other end of the room and blood staining the light blue dress I wore because I was playing Alice. I remember my forehead hurting and then it going all blank. I don't remember it but I still have the scar, which is a reminder of all that my parents told me. Concussion. Stitches. Possible death.

The memories came rushing, I was going to have an anxiety attack, a heart attack even.

You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.

I chanted in my head. Kept on doing it till it was my turn to be on stage. I stepped on the stage. It's been years. The registration girl have me a smug smile.


I started strumming my guitar lightly.

"Start please," one of the judges said, maybe annoyed because they saw so many people performing same thing again and again.

I started but the fear gripped me. I was standing on the same stage where I almost died..

But if it's for my dream, it's worth dying.

My heart was beating fast but I decided to close to eyes and match the rhythm of song to that of my heart.

I don't know how and what I did. I gave it my all.

But when I opened my eyes, everyone was clapping and standing, standing and clapping. I couldn't comprehend, I was feeling dizzy again.


"You're the one."

"Welcome aboard."

All these words flew by. I walked down the stage, this time I remember walking down. I didn't fall. I felt like I stood up again... in life.

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