Friday, February 13, 2015

Of awards and such

The lovely Ms. Ankita from the Humming Words has nominated me for the "Very Inspiring Blogger Award" here. Thanks, Ankita. But I wonder, what was she smokin' when she did that. :P I mean, I must be one of the least inspiring blogger, ever. And I'm not even trying to act modest here. I'm a very lousy blogger. I have 50 blog posts(yay!) in 5yrs. That's less than 1 post a month. I know few bloggers who write more in a month than I write in an entire year. Anyway, thanks once again, Ankita. I feel honoured and as well ashamed. May be this will motivate me to be more regular and write quality posts.

The award requires me to list 7 things about myself and then pass on the tag to 15 other bloggers who I consider inspiring.

About the former. I don't think anyone wants to read 7 boring things about myself. So, let me give you an anecdote of myself and my fate with awards.

I had my fair share of awards when I was in school. But the thing was, I never won an award when I really want to. They came when I wasn't really expecting to win at all. So, once I had participated in a inter-school painting competition conducted by some club. I think I was in 6th or 7th grade. It was a huge event. There were several competitions happening right from morning till evening. The painting competition was held after the lunch, post which they declared that winners of all the competitions will be announced and awarded. All the other competitions were well organised, the participants had to register in advance and a panel was used to judge them. But painting, it was an open competition. Anyone and everyone could participate. We were just asked to bring our own painting equipments. It looked like that scene from 'Taare Zameen Par' during the climax. There were hoards of students sitting all over the places and painting their hearts out.

The topic given was 'Pollution'. I was like, "Whaaat?!?" I could write pages after pages about pollution. But what would I paint about it? I gave up even before I began. So I started wandering, looking at other people's creation. It ranged from down-right gross and ugly to incredibly detailed and creative. I observed that most people chose water pollution. One guy drew a guy taking a dump in the river and another guy drinking water from the same river down the stream. It was gross and ingenious at the same time. Then I decided to give it a shot. Make a small mark in a pool of dirty, nasty waters with beautiful lotuses here and there. I had already wasted 20-25mins in an 1hr competition wandering and wondering at others' painting. So I decided, my painting needed to be simple and straight. No grand, detailed creative endeavours. I thought I would take the less taken path. I chose air pollution in a meadow of water pollution paintings. I created a 4-panel layout and drew cars, motorbikes, aeroplanes and rockets emitting smoke in one. Industrial chimneys coughing out smoke in one. People burning wood and other stuff in one. And a lit-cigarette crossed with an 'X', like in a 'No Smoking' sign, in the last panel. It looked like anything but a painting. It was like a bad illustration in a 4th grade science text book. I loathed my painting myself. I finished 5mins before the stipulated time. I looked around at other children frantically giving final touches to their beautiful creations as the organisers announced that the paintings will be collected shortly. I contemplated writing my name and other details on the paper. Who would want to claim ownership to such an ugly-ass painting? Finally I handed over my paper with my name and details, hesitantly. There were some shows being performed on stage while the judges decided the winners of all the competition. I chucked it, climbed over the fence into the adjacent children's park with some other kids. After around half an hour the organisers announced that the winners will be declared and that everyone need to assemble in front of the dias for the award ceremony. I didn't want to go. But the other kids thought it would be fun to clap and cheer for the winners. Such losers. I went with them. And then they announced something that made me very happy. There were goodies(read chocolate) to be given away to all the participants in the end. I thought it wasn't a complete waste after all. They started announcing the winners, which was mostly won by children from other schools. And I was like, "Get over with it already and give us the chocolates." Then they came to the painting competition winners. And suddenly I was reminded of the boy who drew the pooping guy. I wished he would win. They announced the third place winner. A guy from some school. The claps and cheers were vigorous. After all he won amidst lot of competition. He received a memento and a certificate. Then they announced the second place winner. S... something. I didn't pay head. The guys beside me looked at me.

"Wait... was that my name?" I wondered. "Was it Srikanth or Srinath? Was it Srikanth something else? I think I heard R in the end. What if it was my name and I don't go on stage? That would be bad. But it would be worse if I went up to the stage for someone else's name." I was panicking. The guys beside me looked even more panicked. I didn't understand why, but it made me even more nervous.

Then they announced again. "Srikanth A R, second place winner, come up to the dias, please." It was my name. It was MY FUCKING NAME. The judges might have been high or something. But who cares. I won. Then I ran to the stage. I ran like someone might snatch the award from me if I didn't. I might have knocked down a kid or two, I don't remember. It was all a blur. I went up to the stage, panting, sweating, grinning wide like a moron. I received the memento and the certificate. Shook hand. Looked at the crowd cheering and clapping for me. Looked at the boys who stood beside jump, shout and go berserk. I wanted to do a victory dance. But held my cool and exited the dias like a sane person. Children known and unknown congratulated me. Some took the memento and looked at it longingly. I felt like a rockstar. And yes, did I mention that my mom was present there. I totally forgot that, like now. I went running to her. Showed her the memento and certificate. Unlike most Indian parents she didn't ask me why I didn't win the 1st place. She was proud, I was happy. I was so ecstatic that I didn't even notice who won the 1st place. But who cares, I won second and it was all that mattered to me. The award ceremony ended and we were all asked to receive the goodies and exit in a calm and orderly manner. The chocolate-distributor identified me as one of the winners and gave me extra chocolates. I was flocked by the boys for a share in the extra chocolates. And then someone told me that they have put up the winning paintings for display along with some other honorable mentions. I thought, "Why would they do that?" The public criticism petrified me. I went to the display board to look at the other paintings. There it was. My plain, dull, textbook illustration like ugly-ass painting among other beautifully crafted ones. Even the honorable mentions were better. It was like the public humiliation of the highest order. I decided to leave and not identify myself as the person who painted that, when I heard a girl who stood behind say, "Can you imagine that painting won second place? My 5yr old brother can do a better job than that." I wanted to turn around and punch her in the face. But then, she was right. So I let that insult pass. I left for home with my mom, feeling happy and discontent at the same time.

No, this is not the end of the story. No, nononononono no. My stories don't end with such little embarrassment.

This competition happened on a Saturday. I went back to school on Monday, feeling a little uppity, knowing that I was one of the few winners from our school and will be congratulated in the class. The bell rang. We assembled for the morning prayer and assembly. Assembly ended. Then our Headmistress took the mike to make an announcement. She said, "As many of you know, there was an inter-school competition held on Saturday. Few of our students won awards in some competitions and have brought laurel to the school." By this time I was fully pumped and my chest swelled with pride, which could have been easily mistaken for breasts that I suddenly grew. Not only was I going to be congratulated, it was going to happen in front of the entire school. Then it happened, they brought out mementos and certificates on a tray. "Wonderful", I thought. Two sets of awards for winning a single competition. How very amazing. But then there was something strange about the mementos. They looked similar to the ones given at the venue. I was like, "Wait a minute..." and then it hit me. They weren't similar. They were the original mementos. As this finally dawned upon me, my name was called. I walked to the stage feeling exactly how I should've felt. Like an idiot. Our headmistress shook my hand and asked, "You put up your award on your TV or fridge?" and smiled. The salt was rough and harsh on my wounds.

You see, after winning the awards, my other schoolmates went to our school teachers and handed them the mementos and certificates to be presented at the school assembly the following Monday. Me being me, I went and showcased my prize to the entire world and then handed it over to my mom, who duly put it up for display on the showcase in our main hall for all the guests to see.

So, I stood there, on the dias, along with other winners. While they stood there with their mementos and certificates in hand, I stood empty handed, and a stupid looking face. And my stupidity was on a grand display in front of all the students, who clapped without giving any fucks about the competition or its winners.

There, that's my anecdote. Now coming to the second part of the tag. Nominating 15 inspiring bloggers. Here too, I'm going to take a deviation from the actual rule(Not the best person to tag, I know.). I think 15 is a small number. Every blogger I follow and read has something special and unique to offer. And they are all an inspiration in one or the other way. So, if you are reading this I urge you to accept my tag. I can add it to a list and link it back to you if you want. And once again I thank Ankita and all of my amazing fellow bloggers. You make this space beautiful. Thank you.

PS: Sorry, Ankita, for delaying this post. I'm a very lazy person. :-)