THE ADVERTISEMENT ENACTMENT COMPETITION
-A SHORT STORY
He has been outstanding in Quiz, Essay writing, and Poem-Recitation. His brain never lets him down.
However, enacting an advertisement for selling a product is a different ballgame for him. Here, his appearance would matter. Synchronization, content, and performance would be the key.
Unlike every day, he isn't fighting with his sister for the TV remote. Neither does he urge her for switching to his favourite cartoon channel. And, even stranger is that he looks at the TV screen only when the ad break comes and scribbles in his notebook. He reads the notes when the program resumes.
He is nervous.
Tomorrow is Saturday. He has to put on the white uniform with white canvas shoes. His uniform should not be shabby. He runs out of the room and returns with his rundown canvas shoes and the bottle of liquid polish.
One thick coat and his carefulness change the look of the shoes.
The morning dawns. He is shaky as if it is the biggest test of his life.
His fellows always say, ' You can beat everyone in academics but we will settle the account in dramatics and sports.' He knows that they are better in these fields but he wants to give them a stiff competition.
The school auditorium is full of cheer and anticipation. The nonparticipants, sitting on the carpeted floor, are eagerly waiting for the participants to enact the advertisements which they watch on TV with some innovation. They expect a great show from their talented peers.
The stage is about four feet high. Eight participants, two from each house are sitting in the right corner. The sweat of nervousness has wetted their red faces.
The hall is beaming with life. Its lonely and hungry walls cherish the whispers, giggles and childish nimbleness.
The announcer reaches to the Mic. Her greeting words mingle with the elated utterances of the chaotically busy audience. She repeats louder. Silence and stillness follow. She reads out the rules,' Every participant will pick up two chits. He or she can choose one product and will have to enact an advertisement.'
The four judges are ready with their pencils and heedful eyes.
Roshan is first to go up. He draws out the chits from the bowl with trembling hands. He unfolds them one by one and mumbles, 'Shoes and Ketchup.' He thinks for a while and hands over the 'Shoes' chit to the announcer. Her lips read the word to the mic for the audience to hear.
Roshan parades forward from the back most of the stage saying, 'Bata is the best quality, ' he jumps, 'My sportswear, schoolwear, and party wear.' He runs back and repeats.
'There is a hole in your Bata sole,' someone in the audience shouts and guffaws. More taunts and laughter follow. Rohan freezes in the middle of the wooden platform. His toe feels the cold polished surface as he walks away.