In which I was a compere…

Before a live audience no less. An audience of a substantial number. It was enough to dry my mouth out and make my tongue parchment. I am not a person who gets onto stage easily. When cameras are pointed, I hide behind the nearest wall, tree or substantial person, when asked to speak on an issue in conference type situations I keep my words brief and limited and throw the mike back to the person who seems to want to make love to it the most after I’ve said the bare minimum.

So when I took on the responsibility of compere-ing the Ganapati programme being held in our society complex, I am sure I smoked something not quite legal seconds before the question was posed to me. There I was with mike in hand, along with scraps of paper on which folks had scribbled down things they wanted me to say about what they were about to perform, and an audience which was looking at me with narrowed, incisive eyes.  If I was back in Grade 2, I might have just wet my pants again, but as it happened, I had a reputation to protect. The son was in the audience. I couldnt dare make a laughing stock of myself, I would never be able to give him timeouts for the rest of my life, not even if I draped rounds of bullets across my body Phoolan Devi style and had holsters on either side, loaded with quick firing Glocks.

So there I was, in my kurti (yes, yes, I have succumbed, I am now shapeless old lady wearing kurtis to camouflage my tyres), hands trembling, talking into the mike. The show thankfully went off rather smoothly. Folks applauded at the right time, and with the right spirit. No one heckled or booed, of course, they know that I know where they live, and I could hunt them down in cold blood once the evening was over. No one threw tomatoes. No one asked me to shut up and get on with the show. I think that constitutes a success, given how rude audiences are these days. Or maybe, I am terrifying enough for no one to want to mess with me.

We had a celebrity as our chief guest too, and she was kind enough to make me feel at ease, and thankfully was totally deglammed so I could feel good about the last minute borrowed rubberband to keep the damn hair off my face, given industrial strength fans placed all around which made me look like a true blue chudail with hair streaming all over and making the little children scream and run for cover as I approached.

The child was very chuffed that I spoke into the mike all evening. It made him puff his chicken chest out a bit. The next time I am handed a mike, I must realise that I will be in every second photograph by default, and skip the behenji hair.  The behenji look is one I just cant rock.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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3 Responses to In which I was a compere…

  1. Ruchira says:

    First time I had to speak in Public, I was interpreting from Japanese on the annual day of a factory. I was all of 23, very new to my job. I had to interpret the Japanese CEO’s speech to the 700 odd factory workers. I had no idea of what the CEO was going to talk about till he started speaking. And just before I went up the stage I was told to interpret in Hindi and not in English – something I was totally unprepared for. Scared the hell out of me, but after that I can face anything !


  2. Pepper says:

    Ok, I am sure you rocked! And I think a kurti for Ganapati celebrations is rather apt.

    Oh I am very curious to know who the celebrity guest was ..


  3. Rachna says:

    No matter what your hair, you can never be a behenji! Behenji is a state of mind, and you are so not that!
    You ROCK.


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