This incident occurred during my high school. One day, during class, my teacher announced about the upcoming debate and speech competitions and asked for participation entries. When there was no show of hands, she curiously looked at me and said “Why don’t you participate”? You are a chatterbox. Let’s hear you talk on stage”. There were grins and chatter all around the classroom. I wasn’t sure if it was an insult or a compliment, but, I reluctantly signed up for the speech competition. That evening, I went back home and pestered my dad (who has a great command over English) to write me a speech and told him about the upcoming competition. My dad excitedly fulfilled my desire by writing me a four paged long speech, that I rehearsed several times to perfection.
The D-Day arrived. I was eagerly looking forward to it. My dad gave me a drill on “do’s and don’ts of public speaking”. Having listened to his speech about “public speaking” and absorbing some information, while the rest just flew over my head, I headed to school. The podium was neatly decorated. Eminent speakers of our locality sat in the “judge chairs” that were aligned in a straight line on the podium. The audience was packed. The Emcee started the competition by introducing the set of rules which included time limits, topics and how we will be evaluated. My predecessors spoke flawlessly, as if speaking was ingrained in them since birth. I watched them with my dropped jaws, introspecting how to match their standards. It was finally my turn. I jumped to my foot when my name was announced. My friends started clapping and cheering me all the way from my seat in the audience to the podium. I ascended the stairs and faced the audience. There were butterflies in my stomach. Clearing my throat, I started to speak. first softly, then vigorously, then impeccably. There was pin-drop silence. Everyone heard me with rapt attention. Finally, I was done with my speech in three minutes, while the allotted time limit was minimum of five minutes. In my nervousness, I had spoken rapidly and compacted the whole five minute speech into three minutes. Claps and cheers echoed the hall. I felt elated. When I returned to my seat, my friends applauded me for my immaculate speech. My ego was inflated and I was eagerly looking forward to the announcement of winners.
After the competition was over, they announced the winners, and I was appalled not to hear my name. With heavy heart and defeat, I was walking amidst the crowd leaving the hall, when one of the judge pulled me aside. He said “Your speech was excellent. But the only dis-qualifier was time limit. If your speech had been longer, you would be among the winners”. I felt happy having received his honest feedback and also understanding the reason that prevented me from making the cut. I smiled and thanked him for his kind gesture.
This is an entry for Today’s Daily Prompt