My stammering problem first came to light when I was in second standard and we had our recitation competition.Those memories of people laughing at me due to my stammering problem still haunts me. Somehow even after defying the odds those bitter memories don't leave me somehow. On the other hand, it can be that having those nightmares make me realise how much I have succeeded and that if u believe in yourself then nothing can stop you.
To say I was pathetic would be an understatement. I felt miserable but what made it worse was my teacher asking me was this a "habit." I felt like retorting ," no you idiot. it is not my habit to make fun of myself. "But my stammering didn't allow me to respond also. My teacher complained about my "habit" to my father who was shocked to hear her say something so ridiculous. He explained in a very despised tone that it is not her habit but is due to her lack of confidence which will go away gradually.
I smiled at my father knowing how hard it would have been for him to say that but I wanted to believe in his belief. As time passed I started participating in various activities just to boost my confidence. But somehow something always went wrong and I couldn't go on to the final stage. I started losing hope that I could ever succeed. I always liked to recite poems and was very willing to participate in my school recitation competition but no teacher ever showed enough confidence in me to let me fulfil my dream. My "friends" were also nothing less. They made me believe that it was for my betterment only as I would be spared from such a large scale embarrassment. At that point, I believed them. And the incidents that followed made my belief stronger that I could never go on stage.
One day when I was in fifth standard we were asked to read a chapter from our English book. Every one read very easily but when my turn came I literally became a statue. I was unable to speak a single word. My situation was so bad that my hands were sweating and in mid December I had sweat all over my body. The whole class enjoyed that show to their fullest extent without even thinking once what hell must I be going through. My class teacher felt pity on me and asked me to sit down.I did still in shock though. But I didn't cry because somewhere deep down something much more had broken other than my confidence, my self esteem. I was not in a state to gauge the seriousness of that matter. But gradually I did when my parents started noticing changes in my behaviour.
After that incident I hardly used to talk to anyone. I had made my own world and a set of imaginary friends with whom I would play and talk . I thought things were going to be better now. But little did I realise that it was all an imaginary world in which I was living.
I was lucky that my bubble was bursted soon and that too by two teachers to whom I am till date thankful and forever my life will be grateful. My class teacher like my parents noticed how silent and meek I am in contrast to other students. One day she asked me to read my essay to the whole class which was the best in the whole class. I tried my level best but still stammered often. She knew this was my problem and started making me read in classes more and more. She instructed my friends that whenever I stammer they should slap me at my back. That fear of getting beaten made my stammer go away a little.
But then my biggest fear was still there to overcome. Till class sixth I had never been on stage and had never faced a crowd or spoke publicly. Even the thought of speaking in front of a crowd and on stage uses to send shivers down my spine. However destiny had other plans. My hindi teacher , Mrs. Champa singh, was my mentor who helped me overcome this fear. She encouraged me to participate in Hindi elocution and supported me when the whole class believed that making me their class representative would be an embarrassment for them. She challenged everyone that I would rise above all and would succeed. I was very happy that somebody had so much believe in me but somehow I had doubts about myself. It was she who then advised me that one should always believe in himself even if the whole world is against us. It doesn't matter whether you win or lose but what matters is that you tried. Not trying is easy but what is difficult is convincing yourself to try. So no matter how much afraid you are never give up.
Her advice motivated me so much that I started repeating her words like a chant. I was improving though that fear was still there. The elocution day arrived and I realised that my family friends were more nervous than I was. I still remember how climbing up those stairs to the backstage my heart was beating so loudly I feared somebody would come and tell it to beat a little less loudly. Waiting there backstage I was in a dilemma whether to go on stage or whether to quit.
As I peeped from the backstage to look at the crowd I nearly had a mini heart attack seeing the huge gathering. I was prepared to quit but just then my name was announced. Now there was no option. I tried remembering the words of my teacher that fear would be there but what matters is whether we try or not. So finally I decided I would try and with that conviction I went on stage to deliver my first on stage first public speech. I still remember each and every moment of that time when I could hear my heartbeat and my poem simultaneously. As I ended the whole auditorium was flooded with the sounds of clapping and hooting. I mechanically walked off the stage and went and sat where other participants were sitting. I still couldn't believe that I had spoken without stammering even once. While I was in a shocked state, I heard my name being called in some distant space. I recovered to find that I had finished third in the competition. It was then that I felt my eyes getting wet. My self esteem was born again and those tears were a testimony to that. I jumped up in excitement as my happiness knew no bounds. " I did it , I did it " was all I could think of when receiving that trophy.
Going back to the class my Hindi teacher along with my class teacher proudly entered the class and told the class how she has won her challenge. She had supported me when even I had refused to believe in myself. At home my father's happiness knew no bounds. He danced with him and we had a mini party that day.
After that day there was no looking back. I participated in every annual school elocution competition. Though I still stammer a little and I sometimes fear to go on stage but then when I go on stage I am a completely different person and all my fear vanishes away as it is rightly said that "darr ke aage jeet hai"