The First Time I went up on Stage
I had been chosen to represent my school at an inter school debate. The topic was related to the empowerment of the Indian woman. I seemed least `empowered’ to attempt the speech. My legs trembled at the thought of confronting an attentive, audience, perhaps ready to smirk, the moment I faltered.
However, I rehearsed my speech -Many times over before my teachers till I was absolutely sure of delivering it flawlessly. Finally, dawned the `doomsday’. I reached the scene of the competition. The sight of the stage, the lectern, the microphone was enough to leave me shaken. I overcame my confusion and uncertainty, reminding myself that nothing could possibly go wrong. Considering I had repeated the speech to myself thousands of times. I was sure I knew it backwards as well.
A number of speakers preceded me to the stage but I was utterly oblivious of what they had to say, for I was too preoccupied with repeating my speech to myself for the last time, lest I forget it on the stage. Finally, my name was announced. I wanted to turn back and bolt, but there was no escaping now at the last minute. I went to the stage, feigning confidence, I started with great aplomb, although my legs were shaking. All the instructions about maintaining an eye contact with the audience were swept away. I looked at the ceiling and gave my speech. Occasionally, I looked at the audience. Some, amongst the audience nodded intelligibly, much to my relief. Soon, I got carried away by my own arguments, that suddenly seemed very powerful and convincing, even though this was not the first time
I was repeating them. Soon I realized that there was absolute silence. Perhaps, the audience was too bored to react. I carried on in the same vein, for I had no other choice except finishing my speech and making a dignified exit.
To my utter surprise, as I walked down the stage there was thunderous applause. Apparently I had made the desired impact. With bated breath I waited for the results. To my delight, I had won the first place. Finally, I had made my ‘debut’ as a speaker.