Speak like everyone is listening

Aspiration and appreciation go hand in hand specially as a child. As a child all our ambition is validated by our parents or teachers. But sometimes you need an audience which is more than your parents and family. What If life doesn’t give that opportunity at the early stage of your life? Opportunity can knock your door anytime but it’s important to stay prepared? But can we do that

As a 3 year old I would ask all my guests to my house to sit down and watch me perform. I would sing or dance to popular Bollywood songs. I don’t remember ever receiving a heartfelt compliment for those skills. But there was one skill for which I often got noticed which was speaking. That’s because of my foot in the mouth comments. Children don’t have filters and have no fear of consequences so they speak their minds. But what stunned everybody around me about my comments were not just the timing but also the structure of those comments and the authority with which I spoke them. Nobody taught me but I somehow started practicing the famous “hamburger” method (good things- bad things – good things) to give my opinion on things. Just like any parents my parents were also often embarrassed by my assertive yet sharp tonged comments. What my parents didn’t know was how much practice I had put on before I made those comments. Every time I heard a tough dialogue in a movie or in a real life conversation I thought about how I would have answered the question. I rehearsed it in my mind and then the mirror. The mirror became my loyal audience. I would spend hours in front of the mirror speaking and preparing myself for a larger audience. The habit of speaking was not limited just to the mirror but I found more loyal audiences like my pet cat, my rearranged cola bottles and infant cousins. All these living and non-living audiences of mine reminded me of people who are eager to listen to me and I should speak to entertain them.

At the age of 11 I volunteered to do 3 new things at school. I first did debating with my classmates. My brother wrote the text for the contest. The topic was: Is Television useful? I remember speaking for the motion. I didn’t win but I was happy with the reception. There were 20 other classmates and teaches in the room, and I spoke for 3 minutes. As much as I hated myself for agreeing to do it before the debate, but when I was done I remember I couldn’t sleep next day because of the excitement in me. I would sit inthe middle of the day or night and imagine that I was speaking again. The Debate was followed by a quiz which also gave me a lot of confidence. The third on the list was a play. Along with 2 other friends we decided to do the play “The clever Shepherd”. We were supposed to perform on the teachers’ day but it was cancelled and then we were asked to perform a week later at the assembly hall in front 100 classmates. When I entered the stage I forgot my lines and wouldn’t even respond to the prompter. When I entering the stage I saw the curious eyes of my friends and I forgot my dialogues. Mirrors never show instant appreciation or disappointment. I was so overwhelmed with that experience that I pushed myself back from the limelight and went back to the mirror. I saw my friends do stage performances and speaking in front of a larger audience. I would sit in the audience and ask myself: should I try again or is it too late? Even at the bottom of my confidence I never let my loyal audiences at home be disappointed. If I heard a great debate or a speech I would repeat the same performance at home. I still kept the practice alive.

My family knew my fondness for speaking as my speaking skills will often show sparks of brilliance during social conversations. My family was convinced that Law is my field of expertise. I applied for all major law colleges but was rejected. I didn’t even make it to the interview round. I took a normal commerce graduation but deep down I knew my speaking ambitions will never see daylight. I would watch court room scenes of famous movies specially the most iconic climax scene from “A Few Good Men” and feel sorry for myself. As a consolation reward to myself I still practice lines of Tom Cruise in my room.

2006 changed my life when my brother and classmates cajoled me to participate in a debate competition. I still remember saying No to this opportunity to my friend and called my bro. After his push I decided to call back my friend and see if I can still join. She agreed and my life took a new turn. My 1st inter college victory and many more followed.

Through Toastmasters, Tedx and other speaking platforms that I participated I rekindled the love for public speaking. Today I have a larger audience when I speak but my mirror, cola bottles and my pet still remains my favorite audience. The Mirror was not only my 1st audience but also a medium of practice. My own reflection of enjoying myself while speaking was just the appreciation I needed to keep this ambition and aspiration alive. When I practiced in my room I did my speeches and dialogues with passion and energy with the belief that I have a room full of people who are eager to listen to everything I say.

Ambition is like a young river that will find its way to merge into the sea by any means. Hurdles may cause delay but can’t stop the river from its destiny. But when destiny knocks your door make sure that you are prepared for it. The best way to remain prepared is keep the faith alive and keep practicing. As long as one has faith in himself/herself destiny is bound to take U turn. So whenever I have an idea of a speech and I don’t get an audience I speak in my room something infront of the mirror or other things, but I speak with the passion like everyone is listening.

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