Here is a heart-melting story of a budding talent of Grade VIII, Manav Rachna International School, 21C, Faridabad.
It is the story of Meera! Meera who always wanted to grab the microphone and speak her heart out confidently, participate in plays, be the Head Girl, represent her school across various platforms…Meera who wanted to do so many things in her life… But an unknown fear had gripped her entity! ‘What if I fumble and fail,’ she would shiver and brood frantically. There was a blackout in front of her whenever she went on stage. She would forget her lines and people would start judging her! Are the fearful demons squatting in her heart for real or just figmentations of her imaginative world that are stopping her from achieving her goals? Let us read what the author has to say about her mentee Meera (name changed for privacy sake.) Editor
From Meera’s Desk- Authored by her Mentor
“Well Meera, what a surprise! We thoroughly enjoyed reading your entry and are eagerly waiting to know more about you,” said my teachers sitting across the table. “So why don’t you tell us something about yourself?”
‘Myself”’ I thought. Well…when I look back, I see the timid, simple, introvert Meera, who was too scared to speak a single word! I was so conscious about everything – my voice, my appearance, the way I walked. I was so in awe of my friends! I felt they were prettier than me, smarter than me…Oh…how I wished I could walk and talk like them. However, every teacher seemed to like me and would walk into the class and nominate me to participate in something or the other…which I couldn’t do! That overwhelming anxiety of being popular, loved and being appreciated took a toll on me. Sometimes I felt that I would not be able to contain all those feelings anymore and burst out. In a nutshell, I did not know how to come out of it.
I guess it all started with the emptiness that came into my life when I lost my mother at a very young age. I was a child and had no understanding of how to cope up with this deep loss. Suddenly, there was nothing – no one to love me, care for me, listen to me, encourage me, and keep up with my tantrums…nothing!! Everything was finished for me!
“Meera, now it is your responsibility to take care of your father, support him and help him to deal with this great loss,” my aunt’s words reverberated in my head!.
But…wait a minute…
‘What about me?’ I asked myself. ‘Who will support me? Who will take care of me? Who will wipe away my tears? Who will talk to me?’
I felt let down. The additional responsibility of ensuring that my father was emotionally stable stopped me to cry my heart out at home or at school, I felt I belong only to myself. The insecurities started to mount up-the feeling of grief overshadowed my personality and I soon became invisible in the class.
Months passed and then it was time for the class assembly. I was reluctant to participate, but had to. Then I mused, that this is something I had always yearned for-the chance to do something that makes me happy!
Despite having conflicting thoughts in my mind, I mustered up the courage to go on the stage and speak my lines.
And my performance was…meh!
Why do you ask? I was a mess!
‘Haaan…words mispronounced, no eye contact with the audience, no confidence in my speech…what was I even thinking? Why did I even bother to show up for the assembly? It was an eye opener for me that I was just not good enough. The realization dawned on me that the dream of excellence that I had, was not for me!’ I was devastated and thought, I can never be like my friends who are so confident, pretty, smart and outspoken!’ So why not just do the usual – study and be invisible… This feeling clutched me and my entity… But fate had other plans for me. Like a fairy tale, a guardian angel appears in the form of my teacher.
“Meera is a smart and intelligent girl who is very sensitive. She is hard working and ensures that she does her work with perfection,” said my teacher at the Parents Meet at school. “Meera, I suggest you start reading, build your vocabulary and work on your oratory skills, and then I am sure there is no stopping you.”
‘Really?? Are you talking about me??’ I spoke to myself. I could hear such voices hallucinating in my head. Well, I don’t have that kind of confidence you see!
“Meera, the only thing that prevents us from achieving our goals in our lives is our own self. If we are determined and we have made up our mind, then the sky can also not limit us. The flight of our endeavors and success is limitless!” continued my teacher, as I was startled and tried to believe what she just had said.
‘Was she able to read my mind or what?’ I returned home, went to my room and lay on the bed. Am I stopping myself? Am I capable of giving myself a second chance? Shall I bother to try? Hhmm…so what do I do?’
Well, I got up and stood in front of the mirror. I just started mumbling the lines I had learnt for my class assembly. ‘No Meera, speak louder, clearly. Yes, I will be heard. I can do it. I can take charge of my life.’
As days passed, I kept building a positive attitude with my mentor’s positive belief in me. One fine day, the Student Council Election was announced. Every student was encouraged to give their nomination. I hesitantly downloaded the form. I read it and then I thought, if I give my name, my peers will make fun of me because I don’t stand a chance against them. But my inner self reproached me, ‘well, it’s time to stop listening to these voices in your head and move ahead. Try and see what happens.’
So I filled up my nomination form, answered all the questions about myself and appeared for the interview with the Selection Committee.
“Meera, Are you there? What are you thinking? Please tell us something about yourself?” My teacher pulled me back from my musings to reality.
“Sorry ma’am, I was in a reverie of thoughts about my past.” There was not even an iota of frustration on my face. I started in a calm and composed manner, with a pleasant smile on my face, “Ma’am, I am a hardworking girl. I know I am not perfect, but I am working on my flaws. It has been an emotionally difficult journey, where I have tried to discover myself, boost my confidence and after persuading myself a lot, I am here in front of the Selection Committee for this interview.”
My teachers were overwhelmed. “Well Meera, working on your flaws, overcoming them takes courage. We all are so proud of you, for having taken this step and surprising us by sitting in front of us. Your poise, your body language and the way you are speaking- everything is commendable.” One of the members said.
There were butterflies in my stomach; I thought I was going to burst now. But I was controlling myself, I have to. Yes, I will go through with this interview without fumbling. I won’t let myself down.
I continued, “Well ma’am, I never thought I could do it. I had to fight all the negativity inside me, I had mental issues too. But with time, I overcame them and I feel now that if I can’t love myself, I cannot love anything around me. This feel has given me courage, motivated me and here I am.”
“We are so proud of you Meera!” said my teachers unanimously.
I was on top of the world. I did it. I spoke smartly and gave confident answers. Oh…the happiness! Well almost there…ha ha ha! I was not nominated as a candidate to contest for the post of Head Girl. But I did campaign confidently to help my friend get votes from fellow students. Friendship is a wonderful thing. It can uplift you. I realized it late. But better late than never!
I felt liberated…important… and happy!
And Yes! Not the end for me. A few months later, I auditioned for a role in a Grand School Event – POP India. And…I got a major role in it. I trained with my peers and practiced my lines at home. I spoke so loudly that even I was overjoyed to hear my voice!
YES I DID IT!!! C’est moi, Meera! And my story has just begun…
Wait and watch! I am here to win the race of life!
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?” – Rabbi Hillel
Author: Priyanka Sachdeva, PRT English, MRIS 21C Faridabad