By: Shreya Sharath
“NRT 25 is up and NRT 27, please be ready,” the announcer says.
Oh no! Is my number up already? As “NRT 25” contestant goes up, I sit in the auditorium of the temple, not the one on Albany Shaker Road here in Albany, but the one in New Jersey watching her nervously. NRT 25’s dance is really good and now my hopes are falling down fairly quick. I should at least qualify for finals, but this year they are only going to pick 10 out of the 30 contestants as the finalists. The “NRT 25” contestant walks down from the stage with a smile and collects the certificate of participation. I hope I get a certificate that’s not just for participating.
“NRT 27 is up, and NRT 28 please be ready,” the announcer says loudly.
As soon as I hear the announcer say that, I feel chills go up and down my spine, even though I am sweating with all the makeup and jewelry. I look at the bright stage and get up from my seat. I walk slowly and sense many eyes looking at me. I don’t look back even though I am tempted to. When I finally reach the stage I wait a few seconds for the music to start. I begin to lift my leg and then… CRACK! Did a piece of jewelry fall off? I hope it’s just my back, well I’m about to find out. As I start to dance, my short necklace falls off and my long chain dangles only by a pin. I continue dancing and smiling as if nothing happened, but I feel like crying when I hear the gasps from the crowd. I move back gracefully so I don’t step on the short necklace, and look at both of the judges. Judge 2 is smiling and I feel an immediate sense of relief fill up my mind. I continue dancing as best as I can and try not to look down at the necklace. Finally, I finish the dance, pick up my necklace, and walk down the steps with a big, fat tear running down my face. I take the certificate and hug my mom.
“You did amazingly!” mom says with a big smile.
I just nod because if I start talking, many tears would flow out of my weary eyes. Three people say I did really good on the way back to my seat, but I feel like they said it just because my jewelry fell off. Thinking about this, I just can’t hold the urge. As I sit down, I cry in my mom’s chest.
“Shreya, me and dad are very very proud of you, and if you don’t qualify for the finals, that means the judges were wrong,” Mom says softly.
I nod and look at the final 2 dances of the NRT category. After they finish up the judges leave to make their decision. A few minutes later they come back and start announcing the finalists.
“First, I want to say that everyone did a great job, and that everyone is a winner. Now, when I announce the 10 finalists, can all of them come up front? Judge 1 said. Can NRT 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 27, and 28 please come up front?”
NRT 27 is me! I walk up briskly and stand next to all the finalists. As I stand there, I feel a sense of relief and joy rise onto my face, which then turns into a big smile. I see kids that are sad and crying, while some parents are taking their daughter or son’s picture.
Tomorrow is the finals, and I am ready to rock the stage!
Friends are hard to say goodbye to
When they have earned a place in your heart
There are lots of hugs and tears
For, you can never let go
Without them, you feel vulnerable
Like you have come to an end
You feel like you're falling off the world
And they're not there to save you
But sometimes, last goodbyes are new beginnings
That part is true
Maybe you'll find another friend
Who feels just like you
So hold them tight and hold them strong
'Cause you are going on a journey
The journey of life