Tulip Bhatia

23rd July,2017- the Contingent Leader Meet for Allure 2017. Being the Contingent Leader of my school, I left for Green Lawns High School, Breach Candy, unaware of what I would witness. To me the only disclosed information was that Allure was an interschool event with the crème de la crème of schools participating and the level of competition was onerous. Yet, I was confident of my school and its participants. On reaching there, I could do nothing but marvel the way the students of that school were entirely handling this event.

The meeting was conducted with the ne plus ultra of accuracy. Everything was extremely well coordinated and certain details regarding the events were unfolded to us. Besides the details regarding the events I learnt another thing- each Hiraite has to not give their 100%, but their 200% if we were to take home that shimmering, shining golden trophy. I promised myself that I would not settle for less and work as hard as I could.

So it began, the preparation and gearing up for Allure. There were a few supplementary challenges that had to be completed before hand and with the help and innovative propositions of my teachers and friends; we finally fulfilled our supplementary challenges.

I was taking part in ‘Tamasha’ and ‘The Personality Contest’ both of which I was nervous to attempt. But I knew that working hard was in my hands and I will not lose a single wakeful moment not working towards achieving my goal.

I had to represent my school on all the 4 days of Allure. It was a great responsibility to be entrusted with the position of a Contingent Leader and I would live up to all expectations.

The first day of Allure was easy for me since I had no events but thoroughly enjoyed cheering my lungs out for my fellow participants. I took that day to work for the amelioration of the performance of my school. The very next day, I had the qualification round among 17 schools for Tamasha. Cheering was on, but there was something else going on too-my heart refusing to give in or give up. We were given the twist for Tamasha at the start of the day to incorporate a new character, ours being ‘James Bond’ in our play. It did sound absurd at first, but with each of us brainstorming, we came out with brilliant modifications leading to our qualification in the Tamasha finals for the top 2 positions!

Day 3 of Allure was scheduled for a few days later, and though we had sufficient time to prepare for the first round of the Personality Contest, the Talent Round, the anxiety doubled up. I was the last person I knew who could participate in the Personality Contest. But though nullified myself in hope, my friends encouraged me in such a way, that I knew I had to do well; if not for myself, for them. I was going to monoact a poem,playing two contrasting characters. I knew it was a new venture, but I sailed on.

We arrived at the auditorium only to witness the sophisticated crowd of other Contingent Leaders discussing their varied talents. I was taken aback by the talents the other girls possessed. But my heart coaxed me and told me that there may be the cream of talented students from Mumbai taking part in this competition, but I am here for a reason.

Before ascending the stage, I told myself that winning and losing is not in my hands. All I want tonight is to allow my performance to reach each and every person seated out there. At the start of my performance, I was greeted by scattered applause of a crowd wanting something new. And I was going to give it to them. With voice modulation and an overflow of emotions I descended the stage with a thunderous applause. That day while returning back home, I knew that in the next 24 hours my result would be known, but my performance would live on in the hearts of many.

The next day the results were out. I was selected amongst the top 15 for the ramp walk! I was thrilled and my joy knew no bounds. But that very moment I had to start preparing for my outfits for the ramp walk without sparing a moment. The final day would be certainly tiresome since I had Tamasha finals and rounds of the Personality Contest and I had to switch into three outfits!

We had to reach there 10 am for the choreography of the ramp walk. After the choreography was complete, we left for the auditorium where we changed into our Tamasha costumes. We had a unique script and the brilliant execution by all of actors led us to bagging the first place!

Before I had the time to revel in my success I had to get ready for the Indian ramp walk. I was soon ready to walk up the unique A-shaped ramp with my partner. Soon my name was announced and frankly, it was not an easy job to walk with layers of folds of a lehenga in an elegant manner. Giving my best shot, it was soon time for ramp walk in the western dress. But even though a ramp walk in the western dress was loads simpler, I faced a snag in the form of my partner leaving halfway due to an unavoidable situation. It would be a new experience altogether, but then I analyzed how far I had already come and confidence can cross all obstacles. And it did. I carried out my ramp walk with absolute panache leading to my eventual selection in the top 10!

The following challenge round consisted of impromptu questions. Since I was the last contestant, I had time to understand the exact presentation of my answer. Soon it was my turn. The question asked to me was my opinion on old age and old age homes. Earlier this year, I had visited an old age home and each emotion that I had undergone, I relived. The judge was so impressed that she even enquired of me if I had previously prepared for that question! Strengthened with confidence I awaited the results for the top 5. And lo! I made it to the top 5!

Now was the time for the final Viva round. I had made it far beyond my expectation and I had to fight on till the end. We were given the topic-‘Pink is the new Black’ and 90 seconds to write down our thoughts about it. Giving the topic a feministic background, the judges applauded my speech.

Finally the long-awaited prize distribution ceremony commenced. As the Contingent Leader I had to collect all the prizes won by my school which was a matter of pride. Little I did know that the result of the Personality Contest was only moments away. When it started, titles of Ms. Congeniality , Ms. Talented, Ms. Confidence and Runner – Up Ms .Allure were given away and I had lost all hope not being able to achieve any of them. With my head in my hands amidst all chaos, I sat there with my eyes shut.

But fate had something else in store for me as the host announced the final result. “The title of Miss Allure goes to.... Ms. Tulip Bhatia!” I was in a trance and as the judge adorned my forehead with the glittering tiara, I realized that there is no limit for aspirations. We only have to believe in ourselves. But there was more in store for me. That night, not only I was to take home the title of Ms. Allure but also that shimmering, shining golden trophy that I dreamt to be a fantasy! Our school came first among all the top schools in Mumbai. I was overjoyed and the feeling I underwent there is impossible to be expressed in words. I learnt unforgettable lessons in management and that with cooperation and coordination everything is achievable.

That night as I was seated by the window in the bus I took a moment to look up at the skies and say a ‘thank you’ to the one who guided this event and made me dream once again.