Note: the run-up to my entrepreneurial journey shall continue with the upcoming chapter(8) but I was itching to share this un-real experience with you… 😊 kindly bear..
There was nothing unusual about an ordinary afternoon on the 18th of this month when a friend and I exchanged texted-pleasantries. After the initial complaints of not keeping in touch we moved on to the topic of FOTS. (That’s all everyone wants to talk to me about nowadays!)
She had seen that day’s post on Instagram and came up with the thought of tagging a radio station (which features new concepts and endeavors of people in the city) on the FOTS post; suggesting they feature us in their morning show.
Perhaps it’s the right time to casually mention that the we both crushed on the Jock hosting the same show since forever ❤
She shared a screenshot of the comment and we giggled about getting noticed by Him (certain it was nothing more than that- a laughing matter :P) and reasoned that a popular channel such as that must be getting bombarded with requests and tags of a similar nature and what were we, more than a two-month old idea that was trying to make a place in the market anyway?!
As much as I secretly hoped that He’d browse through our handle, there was a certain edginess to the thought (which I let pass).
Anyhow, the conversation ended and I was back to reading a book when the phone rang.
Unknown number calling…
The caller-identifying app took more than usual time to lend identity to the number while the phone’s ring tone notched higher with each incessant vibration.
‘Radio Station….’ calling
It was as though someone threw a bucket-full of ice; my right thumb forgot how to move in a parabola to answer a call while my brain overworked; it could be a spam, a prank, or a wrong feed… just pick the damn thing before it ends!
Hesitating, I answered to a brusque voice at the other end. There wasn’t much time wasted in introductions and we quickly got on point;
‘Is this For Old Times’ Sake?’
‘Can we speak to the founder?’
‘We went through your website and social media handles and want to feature you in our ‘interesting people doing interesting things’ segment of the morning show on Wednesday… interested?’
In the next few micro seconds of silence before any response would’ve fallen under the category of disinterest or rudeness, everything jumbled. As my insides were quick to paint a horrifying picture of utter chaos (of a public viva-voce where I completely misunderstand questions or worse lose my voice), my mind kept repeating in a voice of reason; this was a huge opportunity for FOTS and there was no justifiable reason to turn down the offer.
‘Sure, we’ll be there.’ I heard myself saying.
It was understood that the ‘casual conversation’ was going to be about FOTS but other than reiterating that and the date & time, he said nothing and hung up! (But my ever-efficient inner voice was quick to conclude; I mean, what’s un-casual about conversing on a mic that covers more than half of your face and ensures that each sound you make, every time you get stuck on a word or your attempt at humor fails miserably, reaches thousands of people driving to work in a crappy mood; who if ever bump into you in real life would remember that slip-up and laugh at your face!
P.S: One would think that the most apt series of reactions to a situation like this would be of genuine surprise followed by gratitude and nervous anticipation after all its not every day that an opportunity of such mammoth proportion lands in your lap but that’s the thing with over thinking introverts; they master the art of getting from positive to negative; from celebration to an impending doomsday scenario in matter of milliseconds!
While meeting and interacting with a single new person (without a purpose or an agenda) feels like an uphill climb; the idea of going live across the city did nothing to calm my nerves.
All I could feel were my stomach muscles begin to work relentlessly towards preparation of a massive anxiety bomb, scheduled to go off on Wednesday morning.
The next frantic phone call was to Liliput!
As expected, Liliput gave a more balanced response on lines of happy-disbelief sprinkled with an adequate pinch of anxiety.
‘It’s too good to be true,’ I said, ‘let’s wait for a sorry-we-called-up-the-wrong-people or a you’ve-just-been-made-a-fool-off phone call which should come any moment.’
Convinced it was too perfectly coincidental to be a part of routine-drudgery, I made a mental note of not mentioning ‘the phone call’ to anyone and save the entire quota of impending public embarrassment for the D-day! (if it was to happen)
The phone didn’t ring again.
For the next few days the world behaved weirdly. Nothing turned upside down, the security guards continued to pass me a toothless grin with a shaky salute, bikers continued to pull off stunts on the road, FOTS played the same Elvis Presley playlist… nothing and no one seemed to be affected by the definite progress of the anxiety bomb within me; it was as though the phone-call never happened!!
Word of advice: If an overthinker tries to convince you of their ‘spontaneity-skills’; please reconsider all the other ‘truths’ they might have shared about themselves.
As a community, we like to think about a subject till the time we tangle ourselves in a complete and utter mess so that we may start panicking about not having a freaking clue about that subject altogether. Because it’s an open secret that overthinking never results in a happy ending! What it does with six-sigma accuracy is that it pushes you to a point of no return where you forget the very reason that made you overthink in the first place and concludes in doomsday 😉
I had been practicing acceptance speeches (holding a hair-brush in front of the mirror) from eons! And so, the fear of ruining a perfect-childhood dream too went and sat comfortably on a pile of the others (vaguely around usage of incorrect grammar, articles, tenses, stammer, sneezes or coughs and a complete black-out moment)
I spent the next couple of days telling myself that FOTS was my brain child and if anyone knew about the journey, its core belief or challenges; it had to be me; but each time my mind came up with unique and incomplete answers to mock-questions☹ and the perfect structure and articulation of sentences with a polite chuckle here and a smiling nod there continued to evade me..
Kind-hearted Liliput (considerate man) had graciously handed me the baton of leadership for FOTS; I’d hate to take credit for something you’ve been so heavily invested in- it’s definitely your moment to shine!!
Although at that time it sounded more like a disclaimer; I’ll be standing in the wings, mentally noting the mistakes you make and will step-in when (not if) you’re doing irreparable damage to our image, rather than help build it.
The phone did beep a day before the proposed-on air-feature; it was a confirmatory message from the radio station.
I think I can do away with going over how well and long we slept during the night prior.
Anxiety is the best alarm clock. In fact, its an excuse the sadistic mind uses to have a nice laugh at your expense.
Like a guided paragraph, my mind tried to present a hopeless version of this fantastic opportunity when I sternly put such thoughts away, focusing instead on the excitement bit of the nervous-excitement combination.
We both got ready and got into Liliput’s car.
The ride was to be long and Maps said it’d take us almost an hour to reach. Incidentally, we put the same channel on radio where the morning program was underway- the same one we both were to feature on …
I’ve been a loyal follower of this show since the time of its inception and have always enjoyed it; except that day, when I couldn’t put two and two together- like we were listening to him in our car, like everyone was- in their cars. But no one knew that after sometime, all listeners would be listening to us? That they’d get to know about us, hear our voices, find us interesting or irritating but would know that we existed! Wow!
We reached the studio and after the initial (customary) hiccups were escorted to their office (through corridors where we spotted some public figures, some reporters practicing reporting and others pretending to hold cameras).
We were made to sit in the waiting area, from where I had a clear vision of the sound-proof room where He sat with his back towards us. I could also see a large console in front of him with colorful switches that he slid from time to time… the headphones He wore looked massive and daunting…
Speakers were installed though the office and though we heard him every day; that day we were seeing him talk… While I tried to get used to the newness and take in the once-in-a-lifetime-experience, we suddenly heard him giving an introduction to us-
We were next.
With no instructions, preparation of do’s and don’t’s, no red or green light to show on and off air; we were ushered in exactly three minutes before going live!
That left me less than 180 seconds to get myself pinched (fan-girl moment) smile and shake hands, take a seat, worry about what to expect and compose myself.
My heart, slamming against the rib-cage, threatened to jump out as he said out our name and looked at me….
🙂 For Old Times’ Sake 🙂