Rebel! Welcome to India!
I looked at the walls in my room and imagined blue and purple fairy lights on the white wall to my right, right above my favourite decoration – my name, “Rebel” in a cheetah print. While I was thinking about the decor in my room, my parents barged in through the door and told me that they had some exciting news.
“What news?” I asked.
“Rebel,” they said, with a frown, “Stop being unenthusiastic! In a month from now, we will be going to Chennai”. I had so many questions, but all that came out was a plain “Okay.”
(OMG! I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Rebel. I was born on the 1st of January, 2008 in New York City. Okay, enough introduction. Let’s get back to our story!)
I knew Chennai was in India, but I didn’t know where exactly in India it was. I looked it up on my iPad. It showed me that Chennai was in the bottom half of India, in a place called Tamil Nadu. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu.
I don’t want to go there now! The All-State Dance competition is coming up and the audition is (any guesses?) next month! That is when my parents said we would be leaving for Chennai. I am so frustrated right now.
Sorry I haven’t written here in a long time! My parents and I have been cleaning and packing. I didn’t have much time to write.
So, we’re going to be here in Chennai for a year and a half. My parents have already enrolled me got at Valiant Higher Secondary School here in Chennai. I’m so excited!
Also, I am super pumped about a dance competition between five of the most successful dance studios in Chennai. It’s called ‘The Elitist Dance Competition’. Even though the auditions are over, I want to go and see if they will accept me into one of the studios. I am sure I can cope with the choreography. Not to brag or anything, but I am a fast learner!
I am so excited about today! Two more days from now, and Valiant Higher Secondary School, here I come! You must be wondering why I am so excited for school. It’s because I get to make a lot of new friends, and of course, I get to study (almost forgot about that part!)
I was a straight-A student in New York. How hard can it be here? Another thing I am pumped for is shopping for school supplies tomorrow! I am going to customize everything I buy, like crazy! Well, it’s time to go to sleep.
Okay. I bought my stationery products at the mall in a store called True Hearts. After buying all my stuff, we ate lunch at Parpario’s Pizzas. We headed home. I went straight to my room and customized everything we bought, and packed them into my new school bag. I even customized my new school bag! Until now, my school bag looked really boring; it was dark purple, so I wrote my name in tiger print across the front. It turned out to look pretty cool. I loved it!
Oh, mom’s calling me down for dinner. Have to go. Byeeeeeee!
I went to school today and it was nothing like what I had pictured in my head. No one spoke to me, and so I tried to introduce myself to a few of the kids in my class. They either walked away quickly or shot daggers at me with their eyes. I did not know why they were super mean, but I knew how to take a hint. They did not want to hang around with me.
I was extremely sad. I felt so lonely. It felt like my heart fell out of my body and – splat! – dropped all over the floor.
I have never felt this sad before. Trying to hold back my tears, which were starting to roll down my face, I cycled home as fast as I could and ran to my brother’s room. I wanted to talk to him because he is my best friend and nobody knows me like he does. You must be wondering why I did not choose to talk to my parents.
I feel like one’s siblings are closer to them than anyone else. You need to cherish the moments you have with them. You might create some beautiful memories with them – memories that will enlighten you in the future.
I have beautiful memories with my brother; he passed away a year ago. You might ask me why we still had a room for him in Chennai, when he wasn’t with us. Well, I set up the room with all his things, so I can feel closer to him.
His room emits a positive aura, just like him. I miss my brother. Curse leukemia! Leukemia is a type of cancer that runs in your blood. My parents donate money to the Cancer Foundation, although it could not save my brother’s life. Why? Because they say that nobody should feel the sorrow we felt when he passed away.
I can understand why my parents do what they do. Imagine a family member were suffering from cancer. One fine day, you’re in the hospital, waiting for him to recover from surgery, and the doctors come out and say “He is no more!”. Think about it. How would you feel?
I also miss my friends from New York! Even though I never cared much about the time we spent together, I miss them now. I have to go to school tomorrow. AGAIN! I don’t want to..
The same thing happened to me at school today. Everybody ignored me once again! When I went to the restroom, I heard two of my classmates talking about an upcoming speech, on Friday. I did not know what it was about. After school, I asked my class teacher about the speech. She told me that the speech was about how you feel when you go through tragic experiences in life or when you’re in a crisis.
I got the perfect idea. I could tell everyone at school how it felt to be ignored and avoided.
I waited patiently for Friday to come, and it FINALLY came! We went to the assembly hall first thing in the morning. Everybody who wanted to make a speech had finished, and now, it was my turn.
I let my feelings loose. I spoke what my heart told me to, and I did not even feel like I was being watched. I felt like I was talking to my brother. I felt more open than ever. It felt like the hole in my heart was being filled as the words came out of my mouth.
During lunch, I felt normal again. I realised talking to someone about the way you feel makes you feel normal, no matter the situation. When I was calmly eating my lunch, all my classmates came and apologized to me.
I accepted their apology whole-heartedly. I felt extremely happy. Two of the girls offered to sit with me during lunch. Their names were Yashmika and Rita. We hit it off immediately! Turns out the three of us have a lot in common. At the end of the school day, I invited them over to my house. We had a lot of fun. I was finally happy to have some new friends!
Today, I’m going to join a dance studio that will be participating in The Elitist Dance Competition. The studio I was headed to was called “Calypso Dance Studio.” The trainer said I could join, but when I asked him about participating in the competition, he said, “We have already finished the choreography and are just rehearsing now. I am not sure if you can cope with the routine!”
I got so mad. I didn’t like Chennai anymore. Then, the trainer asked me to dance in a room near the practice room. There was a glass wall separating both the rooms. I could see the backs of the children dancing in the other room. The rooms were soundproof, so the music that was playing in the practice room did not reach the room I was dancing in.
I blasted some music and started to free-style. Though I saw the trainer teaching steps to the children behind me, I did not care. I just kept dancing. Then I suddenly noticed that all the kids in the other room were gawking at me.
One of the boys told the trainer something. The trainer nodded and signaled me in. I asked him if something was wrong.
“Nothing’s wrong. My assistant here insists on letting you join the competition. He tells me he will train you personally because he thinks you have lots of potential,” the trainer said, smiling at me.
I was super happy. I trained with the assistant for hours. His name was Deva. He was really sweet to me. We trained for four hours. I learnt all the steps he taught me. I told the trainer that we were done with all the steps. He was impressed. He said I can start practicing for the competition with the team tomorrow onwards.
I’m super excited again!
Everything was normal. It all flew by so fast. Then the day of the competition arrived. I could feel the tension in the air when the commentators finally announced, “Next up, Calypso Dance Studio!”
We walked up to the stage and danced energetically. After we were done, there was a moment of silence. Then, out of nowhere, all three thousand people in the audience went up on their feet and began applauding loudly. Since we were the last performers, the next round was elimination. They eliminated three teams. I could not believe it when they announced that our studio had made it to the finals and would be facing a riff-off against “Electronica Dance Studio.”
They explained what a riff-off was. Each member from either of the teams would do a solo freestyle routine. The best dancers would win the title “Elitist Dancer.”
Soon, we were done dancing and it was time to announce the winner.
“And the winner is…” said the host, pausing for effect. It was so quiet in that moment, I could even hear a pin drop. “…Calypso Dance Studio!” he finally blurted. I had to pinch myself to see if all this was real. Everyone was cheering and applauding us. The whole room was filled with joy. We got our awards and certificates soon.
I was so sad that this day had to end. We headed home and the first thing I did was to go to my brother’s room, and put my medal and certificate near his photo. Later on, after dinner, I called up my new school friends and my old ones from New York.
Now that I see it, Chennai isn’t so bad after all.