Life plays its best card when you expect the least. If I state of my forgetfulness towards the experience of being a first timer at something, I wouldn’t be lying. I have been doing what I have been doing for quite a long while now, everything. Intervals might have come in between but I hadn’t made my first attempt anything until this very week. I had forgotten if nervousness could make one’s heart beat a little faster, anxiety make her look at her own composition thirty times in an hour or if she would wander of making a good fool out of herself in front of everyone. A much needed reminder is what I got this week.
Upon being asked by the president of the university’s English Club and a fellow Student Council member who commended my writings, I ended up making a submission for the Spoken Word Poetry Competition. I had made my endeavours in poetry and so I submitted one of my pieces. Aimless Drifting. To my surprise, it was shortlisted for the top eight which were going to be recited at the competition. There came the harder, the first timer part of the contest. I had been on the stage too many times, enough to have forgotten the count, I had acted, spoken, hosted and voiced for silent mimic characters. I had made the morning announcements, presented shows on the radio and conducted interactive sessions too. However, the one thing I had never done until this week was reciting a poem. I wasn’t asked to read Wordsworth or Keats in front of the class which I have been doing since school, I was told to recite a piece of poetry that I composed myself, aloud and before a huge audience that turns out every university event. Top it all up, I was the last speaker for the day. After quite a long, some two years I felt the vibes of a first timer.
I wrote the poem on a piece of paper, read it countless times, altered my tones, adjusted my rhythm, made of speaking no word incorrectly for no matter what I do I would always be a non-native English speaker. I timed myself and then worked on tones, rhythm and pronunciations again. One of our faculty members who is the acting consultant to the English Club has taught me one of the courses in the sophomore year. I recited the poem before her, a teacher I share a good bond with. She approved of everything I was worried about. I questioned her on my number on the list of speakers. She told me that she wanted one of her best at the end. I told her that she was being too optimistic, I couldn’t match the literature students in their spoken word excellence. She shrugged me off and I returned to reading, reciting, practising for my first ever Spoken Word poetry Competition. I would lie if I speak of confidence in myself. I was nervous and anxious because I was a first timer and… I wasn’t a literature student.
Even if took out the batteries, only the needle on the clock would stop moving. Time would march forth and so it did. I didn’t take out the batteries, going by the logic – I’m an economics student, we put logic first. The event kicked off and the contestants made it to the podium, on after another while I listened to their refined voices syncing words in flawless rhythms. I was sitting in the green room, backstage with all the other participants, evaluating each speaker according to my own senses and understanding. I found them overwhelmingly stupendous. Time kept ticking over. Boom, it was my turn, the announcement was made. I marched my way from the green room, onto the stage and to the podium. Hall lights and the stage lights were switched off to create and ambiance, only the foot lights of the stage were lit, the crowds gave a welcome applause, the mics were settled and the projector was set to screen the background imagery I had provided. I looked at the audience once, took a deep breath and began to speak if not really recite the poem. Applause broke again once I finished, with a briskly beating heart throughout. We maintain the decorum of courtesy, we applaud. We had our faculty consultant, my teacher, recite her own composition, the principal and the jury making the speeches and recitations before the results were announced. The jury spoke with their poetic wisdom, I understood what they meant to say. The wait was over and our winners were announced, the most deserving of all had won their ranks. I was delightful that two of the top three ranks were given to my friends from the school of literature, those who deserved it. Merit matters, it matters as much as democracy does.
Appreciation is worth millions, it is an act of kindness I believe. I felt overjoyed on being recognised for the attempt I made. The words of kind appreciation spoken by the jury and the principal for all the first timers weren’t exclusively for me but they were for a first timer and that I was. It was more than heartening to hear that none of use read or sounded like a first timer. It was overwhelming to hear the Principal make a request for all the poems to be published in the coming year’s University Magazine, before the whole audience. The culmination of my first endeavour was sprightly and inspiring. I will always remember, as I remember much from all my first attempts in the past, the one hug that the club consultant had awarded me and that one appreciating pat on the back from another literature professor with the words, “It was great to see you on the podium today. Didn’t know our economics students were participating too.”
It is important to be a first timer, from time to time. They are needed to realize the importance of keep discovering one’s potentials, as important as a daybreak. I am thankful to the moment I responded positive to my fellow Student Council member, a good acquaintance.