Deepak hated the stage but this Teachers Day it was all set to change.
Deepak was reluctant to go to school, as the instructions from his class teacher rang in his mind. Yesterday, he had made it mandatory for all the students to participate in the Teachers Day celebrations.
His mother sensed his fear and asked, “Why are you so scared of being on stage?”
“I am scared the audience will laugh at me.”
“But the audience will appreciate a good performance. You just need to prepare well,” said his mother motivating him.
With heavy steps and a heavier heart, he picked up his school bag. On the way, he thought up excuses to tell Kumar sir. He soon felt better and a wide grin brightened his face.
After taking attendance, Kumar sir said, “Deepak, I have decided that you will be in the dance. I have noticed that you never take part in any cultural programmes. So I won’t take a ‘NO’ from you.”
“Dance? But I can’t even shake my leg properly! How will I dance?” Deepak almost choked.
“You can always learn. I have spoken to Neha ma’am and she has agreed to help you,” Kumar sir said, brooking no argument.
“Sir, he is too shy to go on stage,” said Ankita supporting Deepak.
Running Out Of Excuses
“But why should anyone be shy of performing before their friends and schoolmates? And of course you get to learn something new” said Kumar sir.
With hardly 10 days left for the Teachers’ Day the students had learnt and rehearsed their performances with Neha ma’am, except Deepak. He came up with one excuse or the other to avoid practising.
Neha maam could not understand any of Deepak’s excuses. Finally, she asked Amit what the real reason was. Amit told her of Deepak’s stage fright.
Neha ma’am wanted to help Deepak and she knew his absence from the Teachers’ Day celebrations would irk Kumar sir. Neha maam thought for a while and confronted Deepak while he was having lunch. She whispered, “Won’t you perform in the Teachers’ Day programme?”
“But… I… I…” Deepak stammered.
“And someone was telling me that you want to stay away from school on Teachers’ Day and you do not even greet your teachers,” Neha maam went on.
Deepak burst out, “But I love all of my teachers and respect them too. I avoid school on Teachers’ Day because…”. His moist eyes conveyed his regret. “…I am scared of getting my steps wrong. I shiver at the thought of audience making fun of me.”
Neha maam thought awhile and then pointed to her left foot. “Have you noticed my feet?”
Deepak looked and froze. Neha ma’am had a prosthetic (denoting an artificial body part, such as a limb, a heart, a foot or a breast implant) left foot.
“Our handicap is more mental than physical,” she said.
Deepak was touched by what she had said.
The next day, he was the first one to report for the practice session. At home, his mother was surprised to see him practising.
On the day of the performance Deepak’s dance was the best. He won the trophy and the auditorium cheered long and loud.
With trophy in hand Deepak ran to Neha maam and whispered, “Happy Teachers’ Day!”