January 20, 2017
The tension in the room was palpable. It was as if the temperature in the room had fallen by a few degrees in the least. The announcement was made. There was a deafening silence that followed the announcement. And it was not comfortable at all.
Or so it seemed to her.
It was as if her heart had connected its beat to an amplifier. Against the silent backdrop, her heartbeat was crashing around her ears. It was a distracting sound. Was it not difficult enough that she now had to get up and walk across the room and face all these people, without having her heart playing the deafening drum as well?
Heads were slowly turning towards her. Some curious and some mocking. Most of the people who studied with her hardly knew her. She had been an introvert for a greater part of her life. Whenever she found that making conversation was difficult, she would find a corner for herself and pick up her favorite book and disappear into it.
She felt safe in the fictional world that other people had created for her. It made her feel sad sometimes that she was nothing like the characters she adored. She found it very difficult to let her abundant curiosity transform into results like her heroes could do; it was tough for her to socialize and be popular like the protagonists always were. These were some of the things that she both admired and feared in equal measure.
The classes that were going on were created specially for training the students on what they called ‘people-skills’. She had been enjoying them immensely until about 10 minutes back. The trainer had given them the ten minutes to prepare themselves on any topic of their choice and said that they would have to present it on the stage. That sentence sent a literal chill down her spine. Sure, she had a clear idea of what she would like to talk about, the problem was with the ‘talking’ part.
After 10 minutes, the sound ‘Yes Miss, Yeah you at the last desk, please come forward!’ sent the second chill down her spine.
She stood up on legs that felt like rubber and made them move. This was it. Do or die. She faced crowd for the first time. She took a deep breath and imagined herself in one of her favorite fictional worlds. The protagonist seemed to be speaking to her and saying ‘Imagine that you are the author of your story. These people in front of you are not people you should fear. They are just characters in your story. They will behave exactly how you want them to, because you are the hero too’.
The trainer smiled encouragingly. She decided that she had better go through with it. There would be time for thinking about the consequences later. She forced herself to scan the class completely, take a deep breath and twist her mouth into a smile.
‘Um…Good Morning everyone…”
And to her surprise, after she had had her say, she did feel like a hero.
To all those people who have fear of the stage. Trust me, its not hard. Its only about taking the first step.
Mysuru, Karnataka, India