Monday 9 March 2015

My Look Up Story

This post has been written as a part of the happy hours on indiblogger.
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I wasn't born like most of you reading this post. I wasn't born a child whose parents would be blessed. I wasn't born a child who could create an impact on his world through great speeches, however great my thoughts were. I wasn't a person people would want to listen to. When I started speaking, yes I turned heads, but they only laughed at me. I had a lisp. The sentence you'd take 10 seconds to speak, I apparently took 2minutes to say. And by the end of the sentence, People would actually forget the first part of the sentence! It was disheartening to look at their faces while I spoke.

There were some who tried to stay back and listen patiently and I am thankful for those kind of people. They did their part to encourage me, but well, they did not really! Because I knew I was letting them down and I knew I was never going to improve. My low confidence was the biggest hurdle in me overcoming my lisp. The more people I talked to, the more fascinated they were on seeing how I spoke, the more I spoke to them, the lesser they wanted to hear. It was a viscous circle.  I decided to stop speaking. It was as good as being dumb.

I dwelled back into the empty cave of my heart. It was a place where I could talk for hours and not get tired listening. Where I could talk confidently because I knew no one was listening. However, it only made me more uncomfortable in front of people. My parents advised me therapies, and I did even try some. None helped. How could it, I did not have the C of confidence in me!

Then one day, I found a friend in an old man. He used to tell me his stories, and in return he wanted to hear mine. I was way too conscious of myself. But then I tried, his stories were worth it! And then, I had finally found somebody who wanted to listen to me speak too. It was enough of an encouragement for me to start speaking. The old man and I used to sit every evening, sometimes I even lied to my parents and went to his place. I had met him in a park, where I was sitting and crying because a boy in my class had made fun of me, and he had been appreciating the nature. He came upto me, but did not ask why I cried. He took my hand and led me forward. Showed me around the park. Showed me some beautiful flowers I had never before bothered to see in the park. When I first spoke to him, he did not look at me in amusement. In fact he did not even turn his head to me. He continued listening patiently. That evening, I had seen a different world.

Since then, I have been a regular at his place and he has enjoyed my company.  I think it's a symbiotic relationship. He for me and I for him. I started to speak up. I felt confident!

On a particular evening, he brought to me a piece of a newspaper cutting. I read it out aloud to him. It declared a competition, an extempore, for 10-15 years age group. As I fitted the age requirement, he wanted me to take part in it. I laughed at him then, but at night while I lay awake in my bed, I wondered if I could really do it. I knew it would be a start of a new life for me, even if I did not win. But if I messed it all up, if I couldn't speak at all, people would laugh at me for the rest of my life. I could already hear voices screaming " oh look, that child with a lisp wants to compete with our children! Hahahahaha!", "have you ever even spoken one sentence properly?" "I don't think she knows what an extempore means!"

I lay awake the entire night. Did I want to take this risk? Would it be worth it? I kept. Pondering over this till I finally knew.

I ran to the old man's house at the stroke of 6.
"Dada, all my life people will laugh at me. They all need somebody to look down upon. They're all troves. But I am no object that they can use to satisfy their own egos. I will take part in the extempore. Not to only win, but to prove it to myself that I can rise above fears. Are you with me?" And he smiled.

I went and enrolled myself in the competition. It was 15 days after. I planned out my practice schedule for these 15 days and got going. Everyday I rehearsed in front of him or the mirror or my parents sometimes and I started to feel confident. I was improving, slowly and steadily but I was.

When the day arrived, I stood backstage, trembling. Shaking from head to toe. I could hear the audience from behind and tell that they were large in number. I couldn't afford to fumble. I couldn't lose out on this one.

2 hours later, I stood with the trophy for the 1st runner up :) I didn't win it, but I won myself. I found myself. I found an identity. The old man had inspired me to believe in myself and I think that's the best gift a human can give another!

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