When I was young, I participated in a lot of competitions. I won some of them and lost others. But some experiences just stay in your mind. I wish to recollect few experiences where I lost in certain competitions, and the learnings from those in this article.
1. When I was in second standard, I was asked to participate in a Hindi recitation competition. But I did not want to as I was not familiar with the language, yet. But I was required to, as I was tied with someone else for the Student of the year award.
All I had to say were four lines – “Acche bacche nahin jagadte; Jaldi Sote Jaldi Jagte; Rote Rote Kabhi Na padte; Khoob Khelte Jaldi Jagte” – That was it! But I could’t go beyond the first line – I was standing before a huge crowd, blinking and having forgotten my lines!
I still remember how I felt back then – No one would want to be in such a situation. I was asked to get off the stage. Later, a teacher consoled me by saying that ‘At least you tried speaking in a language you didn’t know – Trying is important, whether you win or not’. Of course, I did not buy it at that time but thinking back after a few years, I thought she was right!
2. When I was studying in Fifth Standard, I participated in a drawing competition. I was considered a better artist, as I had already won a couple of prizes in drawing/painting. This time, my younger brother also wanted to participate. We tried to convince him against it, but he wouldn’t listen. So, he was allowed to participate alongside me. There were about 500 participants and I thought both of us had no chance of winning this one!
They gave a drawing (with an outline) and asked us to paint. My brother used crayons and completed his painting in less than twenty minutes. I used water colours and was not able to complete it even at the end of 30 minutes!
Since this was a huge competition, they had 10 consolation prizes and three main prizes. After all the consolation prizes were announced, we were about to go. Then they announced the third prize – My brother! We were all shell shocked!
I learnt not to underestimate others, after this incident. We actually went asked the organizers and came to know that ‘Colour combination’ was what they looked at, while selecting the winning entries. You never know, what talent is hiding where, and how it would surface!
3. When I was in the Fifth Standard, I participated in the 100 meter running race (for the fun of it), at the school level. Fifth and Sixth Standard students were in the same group and hence I didn’t fancy my chances. In the first round, I just started to run but was tackled (perhaps unintentionally) by a fellow runner who was supposed to stick to his lane, but did not. I remember flying for a couple of meters before I fell down. It was a huge and an embarrassing fall!
Fortunately, our school secretary was watching it from nearby and came to console me. He tied some cloth around my bleeding wound and told me, ‘I will give you another chance if you want to participate still (in-spite of the injury)’. Since you couldn’t refuse your school secretary, I agreed. I ran with the cloth tied to my leg and managed to cross four rounds and reached the final round to find that all the other runners were from sixth standard, and I was the only one from fifth standard!
Of course, I lost the final round but I found out that I could Run!! The school secretary personally came and congratulated me 🙂 He also told one more thing earlier (when I fell down) which I still remember – ‘Never let an injury (disadvantage) become an excuse for not participating’!
4. Our school was a part of a group of ten schools and there was an Inter-School sports competition conducted once in a year. People participating from our school used to come in special purple T-Shirts and me being in the audience, used to admire them. I wanted to wear that purple T-Shirt at least once! There is nothing like representing your school!
But there was a catch – you needed to come within the first two positions to represent your school in a particular event. So, when I was in my 6th Standard I was considering my options – I didn’t stand a chance in the 100 meter dash as two students from another section were clearly running faster than me.
I spoke to my P.T master about this and he said since I could run quite fast, why not practice long jump? People from my group (5th and 6th Standard) were not concentrating on that event! He asked me to practice for one hour daily after the school was over.
I took it to heart and did practice (twice/thrice a week) long jump for six months, after school hours. And it showed – I came second in that year’s long jump competition! I was thrilled, and was so happy that I was going to wear that purple T-shirt that year and represent my school at the Inter-school sports event!
But, the guy who came third (in long jump) had already won the 100 meters dash and some other event. He had to participate in long jump in order to have a chance to get the individual championship medal for our school in this group! So, I was required to fore-go my opportunity to give him that chance!
What I learnt from this incident? No matter what you do, how hard you practice, how much efforts you put in, you need one more thing in the end – LUCK 🙂
This ‘My Autobiography‘ Series is a part of my marketing efforts to sell my autobiography, which I will be writing after 31 years (when I am 60 years old). It will come out in the name of Destination Infinity. So, please buy it when it comes 🙂