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I was horrified of speaking in public like most kids. When I had to read something in the assembly in front of everyone in grade two, my mom took days to help me prepare. Since she was so excited, i couldn’t tell her that I didn’t want to do it.

When i was standing in front of the mic and looked up, the fear was overwhelming. So i ran, fast and hard, I knew I was being called but i didn’t care. I didn’t even go back to the class but hid in the school bus instead.When I went back home I didn’t tell my mom about the episode, i just told her in vivid detail how everyone clapped a lot. I did because I didn’t want to let her down & felt like I have somehow wasted all her effort.

What I had forgotten was that one of my relatives taught in the same school & a few days later ended up telling my mom. My mom laughed, because it was not uncommon for children to lie to their parents in order to boast.

She didn’t even say a word to me, but I was overcome with guilt & embarrassment. For 1 month in a row I went to the organizer to let me take part in a poetry recital competition which was being arranged for high school students. I was told that I was too young but I kept going, with different words for how important it was for me. I didn’t want to compete, I just wanted to make my mom proud.

So after a month & few days they finally agreed to let me take part as a “filler”. That was enough for me. After the help of my mom & watching a lot of speeches, I decided that I’ll day-dream during the recital which had always been easy to do during the class.

So on the day of the recital, even the fact that almost every student was laughing because someone had to put a foot stool behind the podium so i could reach the mic (but still hardly made it) didn’t scare me away, even though the anxiety had kicked in.

In every speech I had seen the speakers faced & even scanned the audience. It is easy if you’re not really seeing an audience in front, so that’s what I did, I imagined my mom’s face & saw it till the very end.

Then the people actually clapped but that was too much to handle so i just mouthed thank you & started running.

With the same speed like the first time towards the school bus.