It was the 2nd inter school event that his school team had consecutively lost and though it was not clear for what reason, Rohan found himself taking the blame for doing this and not doing that, all the reasons for the team’s failure.
In the quiz competition, it was “ Rohan did not answer fast enough and the timer went off.Why did he have to stutter then?”, while in basketball it was “ Rohan was not fast enough to stop the opponent from scoring the winning point”
“ I definitely don’t know how we are going to perform in the debate. We might lose miserably if we had him on our team”, a few other boys remarked.
Did the others in his team find it easy to pin the blame on him because he was the quieter one? Naturally they knew he would not retort.
Rohan had very few friends, and always kept to himself. He would often sit in the school library reading books when he was not playing basketball.
There were some boys who were so mean that they kept imitating the way Rohan stuttered while talking. Yes, he was slow and his stuttering did make him different from the other kids, more a reason for some of the boys to treat him badly.
But it was Rohan’s good nature that he kept quiet. Talking anything would be inappropriate at the moment and might lead to unnecessary arguments. So he chose to rather focus on what could be done to make the situation better. At that moment silence seemed the best option.
Now Rohan had to prepare himself for the debate. He had literally begged Ms. Lina to let him be on the debate team. He had a lot of ideas that he wanted to share and knew this would be a very good opportunity. Ms. Lina trusted him though a few teachers dissuaded her from considering Rohan for the debate.
It seemed very hard listening to all those negative comments though deep inside the wish to excel in the debate was still there. He wanted to make Ms. Lina proud… she had given him a chance.
She had always trusted him and thought he was as good as any other child, even better.
Before going to bed, Rohan wrote down his experiences in a journal. Somehow that evening he found no words.
He quickly glanced at the page where he had drawn a basketball doodle with a sad face expression. The rest of the page was empty. He was still in deep thought.
Maybe he wanted to hide his face in a pillow and cry.. maybe he was sad, helpless, frustrated?? Too many thoughts clashed inside his head.
That evening when he returned home, he had not shared his feelings with his mom Shaila .. maybe he should have. But now he felt too tired to talk or call out to her.
It was just then that he noticed.. what was that?
It looked like a gift.. wrapped in newspaper and it even had a paper ribbon.
He smiled from ear to ear when he saw the note stuck on it which read, “ Smile Butterball”. He looked up to see his mom walking into the room.
They sat down together as he eagerly tore open the newspaper wrap carefully and saw that there was a book inside. It had a purple coloured cover with IDLI, ORCHID AND WILLPOWER by Vithal Venkatesh Kamat written on it. It was Kamat’s biography, his journey of becoming a well known hotelier and a very successful human being inspite of all odds.
“More than winning or losing, it’s just that you have to keep playing. It always gets better Rohan,” Shaila told him.
And yes, Rohan did just that. Wonder who won the trophy in the debate contest?