"You have to improve yourself Hitansh! You have the potential in you but you're not using it." my English teacher told me in a displeased tone. I was completely stupefied. I trotted down the dais in utter distress as my mind started revolving on the thing the teacher had just said. I had the potential..... She believes in me.... She says I can do it.... She says I can speak well and can become a good orator... Then why not try it out? I sat on my bench engrossed in my thoughts. Her words reverberated in my ears repeatedly. She believes in me..... Then again, do I believe in myself? Can I really speak in front of a hundred faces goggling at me? The bell rang and the teacher started to walk out of the class. I tried to catch up to her and asked her if I could have a role or a speech in the next class assembly. "I'll see" she told in a hurry and walked away. "I can do it" I told myself encouragingly and went back to the class to get ready for the next lecture.
The week passed away. My teacher's words reverberated in my ears throughout the week and made me think deeply about them. After the English lecture my teacher told me that I will be giving a speech in the next class assembly and also wished me luck! I was completely astonished. A speech? Woah! Finally I had a chance to prove certain things to others and myself! The next day I prepared the script for my speech which was to be spoken on the topic 'Joy of Giving'. I showed it to my teacher and she said that she expected an excellent speech from, a speech which mesmerizes others. I practiced a lot and tried to perfect myself so I could deliver a speech that would be memorialized for a long time.
At last the day had come. Everyone from the principal to the teachers were present to watch our assembly. When my chance came, I walked confidently on dais and started my speech with a salutation. As I progressed on the words started to come naturally out of my mouth. It went on good. As I ended my speech the crowd applauded cheerfully and the principal congratulated me with a warm handshake. It was such a proud and satisfying moment for me! I never believed that I could speak so well! Never in my life, had I thought that I could I could achieve such a feat! In the joy of what lay ahead for me I couldn't sleep that night. I had finally overcome my issue of stage fear. This class assembly enlightened me that the best solution to defeat stage fear is to speak in front of an audience. It is like providing a vaccine to your body to conquer a disease.
The following week my teacher called me to the staff room. I was anxious even though I hadn't done anything false. I walked up to her chair and greeted her. She smiled and said, "You performed very well in the assembly. It was excellent! So for that you've earned your reward. I am giving your name for CAMUN-Children's Academy Model United Nations. It will be Children's Academy's first MUN session and it is going to be a grand event. I hope you continue your good performance!" I just couldn't take it in. MUN? Did I really deserve it? I had just taken my baby step into the world of speaking and I was thumped with such a great opportunity and responsibility. I walked out of the staff room in complete disbelief. Never in life I had ever thought that I would get such a grand opportunity to showcase myself.
The following week was too hectic. Practice sessions one after the other. 'Nuclear Disarmament' was the topic given to us. It was an exciting topic with loads to speak on. The topic was just so vast and of such importance that every aspect of it could be taken into account and spoken on for a long time. We formed groups of three and got representation of a country by selecting a random chit. I picked up the first chit and it said 'Syrian Arab Republic'. A bit of a shock for me as Syria was directly related to ISIS and who knows they might have tons and tons of nuclear explosives. As we progressed on with our research we found out so much about the world that lay beyond the horizons of our school textbooks. Nuclear trades, various treaties like the NPT, Treaty of Jeddah, ASEAN, NATO, relations between various countries, their cultures,traditions,environment,population etc. there was so much that we didn't know.
Balancing MUN and studies equally is a great deal of stress. Preparing timetables,borrowing notes,completing homework and things like that make life too difficult. I sacrificed my sleep in order to catch up to the trail.My teachers were delighted to see that I had all my assignments up to the mark and my progress in MUN was pretty good.It took almost a month for my team to prepare all draft papers, resolutions, speeches, questions, country profile and foreign policy. We were entirely startled to see the torture done to the common man in Syria by the ISIS. Carrying out massacres was a daily routine for them.The sufferings of the women and the children in the terrorist prone areas was just painful to see. Children of the age of seven or eight were handed rifles and pistols and were trained in combat. Not only did it move us but it also brought a feeling of necessity to fight for those who live their lives in such danger.
During the last practice session held in the hall of our school, we were enlightened by Mangesh Sir about the whole process would continue.As it was the first session of CA-MUN we followed a simple,straight-forward technique which could be understood by everyone. Syrian Arab Republic was placed second on the speaker's list. Although we requested for a position in the middle, the teachers told us not to panic about anything. We were confident of securing at the very least the 'Best Delegation' award. Although we had a tough competition from the Pakistani and Italian delegates we tried our best to defeat them. At the end of the final practice session Mangesh Sir congratulated us for putting up a good show.
The auspicious day had finally come.The grand first session of CA-MUN.14 different countries being represented by three delegates each.The national flags of each of those countries surrounded the hall.The judges,the dignitaries and the audience had arrived to watch this opulent show.The proceedings began with a agonizing video showcasing the destruction caused by the nuclear weapon attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.The devastation caused by man!The carnage caused to life and property due to the waves of the nuclear bomb just shook us!Such an emotional start to an exciting and thrilling journey wasn't expected by any of us.
Following the video was voting for the speaker's list which was already decided beforehand.As we moved on,it was our turn on the speaker's list and we walked on the dais to the podium.My colleague Pushya started his speech and went on with it smoothly.He concluded by announcing Syria's stand on nuclear disarmament.Syria,with respect to it's current condition stood in complete support of nuclear disarmament.After the speech he handed over the microphone to me.It was my turn to answer the questions asked by other delegates.I started shivering.Nervousness had obviously got the better of me.I couldn't imagine what I was going to answer those strong questions.Why?Why did this happen to me?My team-mate Shaurya saw this and held my hand.His gesture acquitted me of shivering.
The chair raised the motion to ask questions to us.Surprisingly only the delegate of Italy raised their placard to ask us a question.The chair permitted him to ask us a question.He stood up and grinned at me.I started to tremble again. Shaurya gripped my hand tightly. The delegate of Italy greeted everyone and then finally threw a question at me, "The Syrian Arab Republic has been under the Assad regime for almost over 50 years.First the father and then the son, yet it was unable to defend itself and its citizens from the malicious attack of the Islamic State. Does this mean that the Assad government is inefficient?"
I was relieved. I knew someone was going to ask a similar question to this.I had already prepared myself for such questions.I perfected my blazer,checked the microphone and started speaking, "With the kind permission of the chair the delegate of Syria would like answer the delegate of Italy.Delegate of Italy,it not because of the Syrian Government's inefficiency that ISIS has taken control over Syria.You are completely mistaken if you think that the Syrian Government is inefficient.If the ISIS uses the civilians as baits the government cannot proceed forward to take actions against them.The Syrian government also openly requests for help in cash or kind from any nation which can help it out of this situation!" There was a vague applause for my answer but I was completely satisfied with it.There were no more questions and we walked down the stage delighted with our performance.
Later as we progressed on, we performed well in the moderated caucus, un-moderated caucus and the challenge round.Towards the end of the session, the excitement did diminish a little but it ended way better than I thought. The chair announced the end of the session and everyone started applauding for our effort.Barely some peaceful minutes had passes when the judges declared the prize distribution ceremony open. We were eagerly waiting for that.Not only us but everyone else too.
"It was a great show put by the students but as we know only the best wins. So after the tally of all the marks we have come to a mutual conclusion that the 'Best Delegation' award should rightfully go to the team....... Pakistan!"
A tear rolled down my cheek. Hadn't I practiced so hard?Didn't my teacher say that I had to potential? Were those just empty words?
The judges then continued, "The second award is for the Best Delegate and the second prize goes to Master Dhaval Sheth of Pakistan and the first prize goes to...... Master Hitansh Tanna of Syria!!"
I missed a beat!Really? Me? I ran up to the stage to receive the award in total glee!I just couldn't control the overflow of my feelings. I really had the potential in me!
I cannot remember the moments after that as I absorbed in total elation of my winning but I can say that this inspiring story helped me achieve something that seemed impossible!