I entered the gates on orientation day feeling anxious about the coming three years. I didn’t know if I’d ever find a place to belong.
That fear pretty much flew out the window in the next hour when I watched the college’s western dance society (Enigma) perform for the first time. Talented, confident, beautiful dancers – these girls were everything I wanted to be. A decision was made. I was going to audition, and become an ‘Enigma girl’.
After a jittery first round and a more confident second round, I made it! The day of my selection to the team defined everything about the rest of my time in college.
Rushing off to practice at 2 pm became the highlight of my day. Those three hours every day of literally stretching my body to new limits, sweating right from the first roll down, and some occasional blood, taught me how to persevere, to not give up easily. I became a stronger person – in every way!
Being one of the only self-choreographed teams in the University at that point, we had to put in a lot more effort than other colleges since we had to build our entire routine from scratch – from choreography to formation, costumes, make-up. But boy, were we good at it. I never get tired of bragging about how we won every competition, every fest we ever went for in my first year.
The three years spent in the team, including one year spent leading it, have given me life skills that go beyond the stage. You learn that what makes a good team isn’t skill or talent, it’s shared passion and a common goal to take that passion to the highest possible point. We had our share of arguments, situations turned ugly at one point. But when I look back at it now, I realise how each of those moments taught us how to be better leaders. Each split warm-up that left us limping, was also a lesson in what it means to be regular in your work. Each complicated lift taught us what the phrase ‘one-for-all and all-for-one’ really means.
We’ve grumbled at how much our seniors pushed us, made us repeat a single step some 20 times. Today, it has translated into a strive for perfection in everything I do. When you see the results of hard work and not settling for mediocrity, there’s no going back.
And figuring out how to get a team of 15 from one competition in North Campus to another in the South Campus in just an hour is a crash course in military-level time management.
The one thing almost everyone who has ever been part of an active society in DU can swear by is the strong bonds you create within the team. You may not always agree with each other on how things should be run, but this family you build is unwavering in its support. No matter how bad things get for you, or the team, you know that these are the people who’ve got your back. My seniors were my mentors, my fellow batchmates were my rock-solid support system, and my juniors taught me how to constantly innovate myself.
It’s hard to put this incredible journey in a limited set of words. Each rehearsal, each early morning competition, and each team member has meant so much, taught me so much, and is cherished so much. Even as I type this, there is a reel of memories running in my mind, with flashes of our 2 to 5 rehearsals, of rushing to get to a fest, of warming up before a competition in cramped spaces, of holding hands and huddling up in a circle before a competition for a pep talk, of screaming our lungs out for the team, of the bright lights of the stage and the rush of performance.
If anyone ever asks me about my college life and the things I cherish most, I’d never be able to tell them about amazing lectures, classmates, strange professors, or anything course-related. Even though I was in one of the best journalism colleges in Delhi University, and my faculty was great, so were my classmates. My college life began and ended in the auditorium of Kamala Nehru College.