The turning point

My first school was a small, cozy, and beautiful learning centre. Although apprehensive in the beginning, as the days went by I felt totally at home in that school. The school, which went up to standard 5, had few but extremely friendly teachers and students. Therefore, after completing standard 5 when I moved to a bigger school I felt completely lost amidst the big building, the many classrooms and the thousands of students. 

The new school seemed overpowering and I developed an inferiority complex. I felt that my friends and other classmates were more intelligent. I had come from a very small school and I felt that their standards of living and talking were far above my own. When my new classmates made fun of me and played pranks I withdrew into a shell instead of standing up for myself. I started looking for reasons to avoid going to school and although I was forcefully sent to school every day I was never mentally present and was always unhappy.  

I might have finished school in this same state of indifference if Mrs. Thapliyal hadn’t come along. I first met Mrs. Thapliyal when she came in as a substitute teacher to fill in the math period. Mrs. Thapliyal who taught Hindi to the senior classes asked us to read from our Hindi textbook. For some reason Mrs. Thapliyal chose me to read from the book first. After the whole class read the chapter, she stood up, came to me and said that I had a good pronunciation and presentation. She then asked me if I would want to participate in the Hindi debate competition that was to be held the next Saturday. The thought of performing on the stage in front of so many students and teachers was quite terrifying for me. I made up my mind to say no but when I looked into her eyes, I saw affection and trust for me. Never before had I received such graceful treatment from my teachers and so I said yes.

When I came home I realized what a big mistake I had made in saying ‘yes’. I didn’t have the courage to face an audience. I believed that my classmates and other students would laugh at my inability to deliver a speech. I decided to say no to Mrs. Thapliyal. The next day when I went to meet Mrs. Thapiyal in the staffroom, she introduced me to the teachers as a participant in the Hindi debate competition. She then spent time with me, guiding me, telling me how I should speak. I was delighted at the attention I was receiving. Mrs. Thapliyal’s belief in me gave me the courage I needed.

On the day of the competition, despite my nervousness, I walked on to the stage for Mrs. Thapliyal and I delivered my speech. No my speech wasn’t perfect. Mistakes did creep in but I was very happy as I was able to conquer the fear inside me. I was happy that I had made Mrs. Thapliyal proud.

This competition was a challenge for me. I broke the bonds of inferior complexity that I had built around myself. I realized that no person is ever born inferior, it is the person’s thoughts themselves that make him feel inferior. This was a big lesson for me. From that day I determined to participate in every competition so as to enhance my skills and confidence.

That first debate gave me the confidence I needed to perform well in extra-curricular activities such as quiz competitions, writing competitions, poetry recitations and others. I never missed any competition after that. I had a foot and hand in almost all competitions held in the school so much so that my teachers and friends began calling me an ‘all-rounder’.

I was living in the world of darkness and Mrs. Thapliyal showed me light. Today, when I look back, I firmly believe that Mrs. Thapliyal rescued me from the edge of a mountain. She lent me a hand and saved me from falling off. Her trust and faith in me shaped me in to a more confident person. I realized I too had potential and that I could be and do a lot more. Mrs. Thapliyal came as my guardian angel and she will always remain an angel in my life. 

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