Nerves are at an all time high...Who is going to be in the audience? Will we have a full show? Do I have all my costumes ready or might a strap unbuckle on stage? Will I fall in the middle of a dance or forget a step?
I have done my fair share of performances back in the day, and the questions running through your head are endless right before show time. But even today, I have yet to find anything that gives you the same adrenaline rush you get when the heat of the lights hits your face, music chimes in your ears, and ahead of you are hundreds of anxious bodies here just to see your performance.
Bombay Nehru Center - The seats were filled with an array of family, friends and specifically pointed NGO (non-governmental organizations) staff members from around the city. For this show, we wanted to share the message of Ekatva (oneness) with like-minded individuals from this fantastic city, and thus, had started a marketing campaign inviting various NGO groups to our show from Akanksha to Pratham, to Health Centers that housed disabled or mentally challenged children.
To my delight, I peered out the side of one of the big red curtains before the show began, and we were packed! I quickly ran to the backstage dressing rooms to spread the word to the girls who were in the midst of doing their hair, putting on their ornate jewelry, or setting up their elaborate costumes. Priyanka gave me a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek telling me how this was going to be so much fun as Bombay was such a great city that taught her so much. I watched the girls from the corner of the room and felt a little gulp in my throat as I knew this would be the last performance I would share with the kids in India - It was time for me to head back home to the states.
As was customary, before the curtains opened, we all gathered on stage and together recited a prayer. Nimeshbhai reminded the kids of their good fortune to be able to spread such a beautiful message to this astounding audience. He ensured all of them knew that this opportunity did not make them any better than anyone else, but rather, we are, and will always remain, one with those around us...Thus the name the the show, Ekatva (Oneness).
4:00pm - It was showtime and a beautiful one indeed!
From lights, to cameras, to a packed auditorium, we had a beautiful performance that day. While the show was running, no small mistake or missed step seemed to matter. What mattered was that these kids were on a journey to spread their love, and I can attest to the endless love they planted in my heart alone, it was more than anyone can ask for in a lifetime.
I could not put in words on a blog how each one of these sixteen kids touched my life - It is something that can only be experienced. But as they drove away on the bus that night back towards Ahmadabad, I knew they took with them a piece of my heart that will always follow them wherever they continue to spread their magic. I am blessed, and more importantly, a better person to have spent this precious time with them.
117 days till they make it to their first American City...Let the countdown begin!