Now I wasn't the only 98 batch, first yearite in the troupe. Rags, my good friend from LinAl(Linear Algebra) class had joined too. But midway he heard his call in the Dance Club and followed those footsteps. Before I could claim the throne, they brought in a chubby young man from somewhere...someone who would soon become Julius -- Captain Burry! And few days before play, they roped in this innocent looking boy, nicknamed Triple (for his long SSS name). Later realised all that innocence was part of the act :)
The play was a huge success and its ripples were felt in silent rooms, down unknown dark corridors of huge hostels. Many wanted to be a part of that euphoric experience but one had to wait a whole semester before one could take part in it.Jan 1999.
I don't remember the exact date but it was somewhere in the third week I think. It was a PTM meeting in Sky (For Non-Bitsians, not Heavens but the Lawns) to discuss the date for Story-D(Story discussion) and meet the new batch of seniors. The Ummachis of Mal
I was wearing my favourite Levi's blue jeans, my new red V-neck sweater, my dolphin pendant(gift from Jenny) and my red monkey cap to hide my boycut. Wish i remembered the date coz it marked the beginning of one of the most wonderful semesters I have ever spent in the desert.
A guy of medium build in a dirty pair of torn and scruffed jeans with a very dull sweater introduced himself as the Diro. He had a yellow(or was it some other colour) striped monkey cap and I was too happy to be back in the play making business to notice much.Play: Megathai ThurathiavargaLDiro: KuupiSM: Juju & Janu
Ponc was not suitable for an English Bard with a boy cut and hence I became Thambi for The Ummachis - Ambi, Pete, Thanni and Kuupi and to Goosie and Kush(juniors to Ummachis but final yearites). My poetry glands worked over time that semester churning out more verses than I could possibly keep track of. Most poems had "Threshold of adulthood"
phrase in them which made Ambi tease me mercilessly :D (Well, truth is, I doubt if I ever became an adult).
Btw, Happy B'day Ambi !
One day yours truly walked in early to the room in FD-I for practice and found the Diro deep in thought, poring over the script with the trademark cap on his head. I flicked his cap off and wore it. Kuupi looked at me and said, "Did you know you shouldn't touch the Diro's cap?"
(Unwritten rule #3452). I grinned unabhashedly and quipped, "Oh but there's always a first time Diro!"
and walked away to the others. UV pulled me aside and informed me in no less terms that I was in big trouble for my act. Frightened to the core( God promise), I walked meekly to Kuupi and softly said, "I am sorry for taking your cap."
and as usual, I escaped with just "No problem Thambi. You can wear it"
The play was set in a village and it was a wonderful experience bringing a well, eletric pole and a typical village temple to life on stage. I played VaLLi
and so hooked was I to the play and to my seniors, I put in extra effort from the day I got my script. Plus the dialect being closer home to Nellai made me feel completely at ease. "Thaerkootam Thirunakootam"
(My opening dialogue) will always be etched in gold. Made my mom parcel sweets for the group along with my half-saree set for the costume. Stopped attending classes and spent most time either in Sky or in the Audi. Ate my lunches in the guys' mess, in short I truly became Thambi.
MT was a milestone in many ways. It brought in the concept of decentralization within the group. And it brought in my life Yacoob and Kums. One of my favourite recollection of Kums is on the night when the group walked to Nutan for dinner. And Kums sang "Kaadhalin Deepam ondru" song from 'Thambikku endha ooru' for me and Ambi and it was extremely cute to see that tall guy, put his hands in his pockets and enact the 'ennam yaavum sollava' moment just like Thalaivar Rajini :)
Though it's been almost 7 years since MT, i remember many moments as if they happened yesterday. Can't really say how or why it happened but I was extremely attached to my seniors and I didn't want the play days to get over, ever. And why would I when every day one of the seniors got me a Lollipop? This was the semester when the girls baked cakes and biscuits for The Ummachis' birthdays, asked for late night perm until 2AM for practice, in short all of us wanted to stay connected to the group. I think this was the semester when we had the play in March. (I could be wrong)
500 and more words but I have hardly reached Feb 1999 :p
Guess I'll continue in Part IV :D