Her first speech

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Review Chain

Submitted: June 09, 2017

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Submitted: June 09, 2017

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Her first speech

“Congratulations shreya, you have won the ‘Jyoti Scholarship’ you had applied for.” A familiar voice sounded on the other side of the phone. It was of the same person who had interviewed her for the scholarship. “Well, can you deliver a thank you speech in tomorrow’s scholarship distribution program?” “ummm..”, she stammered. “It’s not that difficult. You are simply supposed to prepare around 5 minute long speech and speak as a representative of all scholarship receivers.” She was about to decline the request when she remembered how her dad had taught her not to lose this kind of opportunity to speak as it nourishes your confidence. “I’d be honored to”, she replied faintly. “Great! I expect you have done this before and won’t get nervous.” “Of course not, sir.” she replied with her heart pounding, after which she hung up quickly. For a second she pondered if it was just a hallucination. But it wasn’t. She was actually giving a speech the very next day with no idea at all of what to speak. “So, it’s going to be my first speech after the disaster.” she mused. Yes. Disaster. Speech used to be a cakewalk to her. It used to be she who would step forward when it comes down to delivering speech in the assembly at school when everybody else hesitated. She was never this shaken at the name of speech, at least not before the ‘disaster ‘ occurred to her once in college where in oratory competition she completely ran blank and had to leave saying ‘thank you’ just after introducing herself. She was totally numb and red with fear and shame. And now, two years after that she still couldn’t get her mind off it. “Why is that single failure obscuring all the past feats? Come on. It won’t be same every time.” she thought. It was almost dark. And the programme was tomorrow morning. She stayed till midnight to prepare that few lines of speech she was going to give. Preparing speech wasn’t much strenuous to her since she happens to be an avid writer; amateur but passionate. She rehearsed the speech once, again and again, in front of the mirror, in front of her brother, alone; recorded it and did every possible thing to ensure that it was the way it should be. Then she imagined the real scenario. She assumed that there won’t be much people. It would be a small programme in a hall. She would address people and would commence. Then she began over again. But No. This time it was not working. She would go so fluently while alone. But her mind went plain empty when she would speak imagining the real scenario while still alone. She was herself taken aback by this thing happening to her. She had done this several times before. She was able to remember heaps of contents in 20 minute long speech. Then why is this short few lines of gratitude taking so much? She decided to take a nap for that day. The next morning. That grand day. She was getting more nervous. She was losing the spontaneity in her speech in an attempt to memorize the lines. Had she been asked to express her gratitude among her circle, she would have done it so easily and so gracefully. But there what the heck was happening to her? She again recited the lines. She went through flawlessly. And again this time she imagined the crowd and VIPs in the dais; the same thing happened she was scared of. She completely went numb. She even didn’t remember to greet good morning. One thing she became sure of was either it’s gonna be awestruckingly exquisite for she had practiced so hard or it was going to be absolute rubbish. There would be no mediocre. And at this point the second option would be unforgivable. She would lose everybody’s trust upon her. She would be a disgrace to her parents. So, she decided to stay positive. There are total 6 lines; she counted. She memorized all of them. She even tried to create a link so that speaking one would follow other. She was actually supposed to express her gratitude spontaneously. But she didn’t want to take any chance this time. She finally left for the programme with her mom who was so enthusiastic to see her daughter speak (Of course, customarily). On bus, she couldn’t stop herself from puzzling over the ‘lines’. The ‘lines’ she had prepared were buzzing around her head. Yet, she was repeating it herself without a break wary of forgetting. Finally she reached the venue and as she entered and saw the crowd, she got more distressed and apprehensive. She felt she just couldn’t do it. She with her mom took her seat in the audience row. She imagined the situation. The host will probably announce her name. She would then approach the mic. Silence. Cameras pointing to her. The crowd staring at her with expectations. And what will happen if she messed it up there? No, No, No. She wondered who the chief guest might be. Probably sir himself. She presumed. She looked around and convinced herself that it was like her own group since many of the scholarship receivers were from her own college. She saw her friends having nice gossips. She mused how she would have enjoyed the moment had she been free from this ‘opportunity to speak’. She then focused back to remember the ‘lines’ just seconds before the chief guest arrived. Her spine chilled with fear. Her heart was racing harder and faster than ever. She felt like thousand hammers banging her head all at once. She was utterly dazed after having seen the ‘unexpected chief guest’ who was one of the former PMs. The program started with the speech of chair person, vice chairperson and so on. For the whole time she was insanely concentrating on her lines. And with every speech ending, when the anchor will take over the mic, her heart beat rises expecting her name to be called. Time passed. Different persons had expressed their views. But her name wasn’t called. Now, she was growing restless. She began wishing her name would be called soon so this chapter would end. She watched her mom holding camera to film her speech with no slightest fall in excitement to watch her daughter speak. Then the host announced the scholarship will be distributed now. After all the winners were prized, she heard her name called in the end. She stood up to her feet, slowly stepped on. Her fingers crossed. She lifted the mic and began, “Honorable …………….i would take this opportunity to ………….I..,” oops, she got stuck at one point. But then she recovered again, beautifully covering up the slip, making it sound like a deliberate halt to stress the point. “Thank you.” And she finished. All happened so fast she herself couldn’t properly reckon what she spoke. At lunch she received plenty of positive comments about her speech. Instinctively she was euphoric. She was reaping the returns of all her efforts. She could be no more happier to see her mom overjoyed after her speech. She felt like finally she had done, may be small, but at least something; that her parents can feel proud of. And her diary that date read: Thankfully it ended with a bang. Of course this has helped me gain back my lost confidence. BUT, writing hundreds of lines is far more easier than speaking one in front of mass, at least for me. -Resha Makaju


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