“There are too many people here. I cannot perform, ” said the nervous dancer to her mother.

“Why are you so frightened, Neha? This is not the first time you are performing on the stage?” asked Neha’s mother.

“I was lucky enough to perform classical dance only to a select audience of school children. I knew most of them. We were all friends. There are so many elders here. I’m frightened I will falter. I’m frightened I will make a mistake and become a fool on stage. What if everyone laughs at me? What if they start pelting eggs and tomatoes at me? I heard that irate audience sometimes do that,” said Neha.

“You are no more in school. You are almost completing your college. You need to focus on the dance and not the people. Remember that you are not dancing for the people. And, one more thing. Forget that there are people in the auditorium. Consider it to be empty. Think there is only one person watching you dance. Let it be your favorite person. In your case, it can be your Dad. To make things better, you can actually look for him before the dance and focus your gaze on him initially. As you get engrossed in your dance moves, you will be comfortable enough and look at everyone,” explained Neha’s mother.

She added, “More than anything else, you need to enjoy your dance. Live in that moment. There is no pleasure that equals enjoying what you are doing.

If you can really understand the dance, feel the emotions, live the moment, you will definitely excel. You will cherish this performance for the rest of your life. The most talented people do it for the sake of art and for the sake of union with God. They do not perform for the sake of audience. Forget the competition. Forget the goals. Just do your justice do the performance by enjoying. If you are worried about the audience and the competition, you will be over cautious about each move and might falter here and there. But, if you learn to enjoy your performance, you will not worry even if any step is missed. You will try to tell the story differently with the steps ensuring continuity.”

Meanwhile, Neha is also worried about something else.

After a few minutes, the presenter announces Neha’s name and lets her know that she is going to perform next.

Neha enters the stage and starts performing.

As suggested by her mother, she looks at her father for the first few minutes and tried to enjoy her dance. As time progresses, she tries to look around. Interestingly, her mother notices that whenever she tries to look around, Neha dances a bit nervously. After about ten minutes, her mother notices that Neha is suddenly performing excellently well and is surprised at this sudden surge of confidence in Neha. After a couple of awesome performing minutes, her mother notices that Neha is constantly looking at someone in the corner.

Neha’s mother realizes that Neha’s gaze is fixed at Sameer, her classmate. They have not been talking for the last one year.

An year ago, Neha and Sameer were madly in love with each other. They were so deep in love that they thought they should meet each others’ parents and get friendly with them. As it would take two years before they complete their graduation and get some jobs, they decided to befriend each other’s family members.

As planned, Sameer became good friends with Neha’s parents and brother. He would often come to visit Neha with two of her other friends. Neha’s mother never got any doubt about their friendship until one fateful day.

One day, Neha’s mother had to return early from work as she was not feeling well. She expected Neha to be at college. So, she unlocked her door and decided to go to her room and take a nap. She heard some voices coming from Neha’s room. She understood that Neha and Sameer were talking and laughing loudly. She thought she should go and greet them before retiring to her room. To her surprise, she noticed that Neha was sleeping on Sameer’s lap and they were getting very comfortable with each other.

Neha’s mother understood the obvious and shouted at Sameer and asked him to get out from their house immediately. She gave serious warning to both of them and asked them to discontinue their relationship immediately.

She, later, heard from Neha’s friends that Neha and Sameer had a big fight after that and they did not talk to each other.

Neha’s mother is surprised how Sameer has that influence on Neha even today despite not being in a relationship in the last one year. Neha’s mother was prudent enough to check her mobile, stalk her a couple of times, stay in touch with some key people to know regularly about Neha’s whereabouts.

Neha received a huge round of applause for her dance performance. Her parents were very proud. But, Neha’s mother had some unfinished task at hand.

The next day, Neha’s mother asked her about Sameer and whatever happened during the dance performance.

“I continued to be nervous despite looking at Dad. But, suddenly, I saw Sameer. It gave me a great amount of confidence and he smiled at me. That smile really helped me to focus on my dance and enjoy it all the while. I felt guilty for having feelings for him. I’m sorry if my actions did hurt you. I’m sure I will soon forget him, ” said Neha.

Neha’s mother later came to know from her friends that Sameer was not performing well in studies over the course of last one year. He was the top performer in the college for the first two years. But, ever since the fight and the break up, his performance was on a decline. Neha’s mother checked these facts with a couple of professors in the college about Sameer’s performance.

After about one week, Neha’s mother told her that they are going to a friends’ place for dinner. Neha was surprised after reaching the friends’ place. Neha’s mother took the entire family to Sameer’s house.

Though Neha was pleasantly surprised, she did not know how to respond to this sudden camaraderie between the two families.

Neha’s mother asked Neha and Sameer to go the terrace and have a conversation.

“My mother can change. But, don’t expect me to forgive you for what you told about my mother, ” said Neha to Sameer.

“I apologized to her long ago. Ask her if you want. I have been waiting to talk to you and tell you that I apologized to her. I tried apologizing to you also,” said Sameer.

Neha immediately ran into the house and asked her mother if it was true.

Neha’s mother said, “That is true, Neha. He met me the next week after your fight and apologized to me for saying bad things about me. He was surprised to know that you never told me anything about that fight. You both dealt it with maturity. Even after a year, I was not mature enough to understand your relationship. Kids normally ruin their studies and goals by falling in love. But, in the case of both of you, it was love that helped both of you excel. I felt foolish for what I have done. I came and met his parents and told them everything about your relationship, the fight, the depression, and the under performance after that. We all realized that you both are grown up enough to respect our ideas and you will never do anything to ruin our reputation. So, we decided to get out of way of your relationship. Now, it is left to you too to continue your relationship or remain friends or part as strangers.”

Though it took some time for Neha and Sameer to feel as comfortable as earlier, they fell in love with each other all over again and performed better in academics and interests.