Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Shade of Red

There have been moments in life when I have had to shed my natural color and don various shades of red. That's just a circuitous way of saying I have been embarrassed lots of times. :). The good thing is that I have usually managed to put those moments behind me pretty fast and get on with my life. But for one moment, which is still very fresh in memory notwithstanding the fact that it's nearly 15 years old!!!

It was the local office of the department of forests. And I had gone there, along with a bunch of school kids from different schools, to attend the closing ceremony of week long 'Afforestation Drive'. This had mainly been targeted at the various schools in the locality and as part of it we had a few seminars and exhibitions and competitions. And that's where the whole 'going red' part started for me. Those competitions I had mentioned, well I took part in one of those where we had to speak about afforestation. It was one of those competitions where they give you the topic a couple of minutes before and then you have to come up with meaningful, logical and topic based speech. And till this day I don't know how or why they picked me up as one of the three winners! Man, at that time I was over the moon. And come the last day, I was present at the closing function to pick up the trophy. Or so I thought. Sadly for me, they had a little surprise for me. Again, I don't know who picked me for it, but it must have been someone I had pissed off pretty bad. When they called out my name, I went up on stage to collect the prize and pose for a photo or two. But once up there, I heard the announcer say, "Now Vishnu will give us his views on Afforestation." and instead of posing for a couple of photos, I was suddenly facing a crowd of people with a mike in hand.

I guess they expected me to say something but boy, were they in for a surprise!! I stood there, with a huge, silly, you-can't-do-this-to-me grin on my face and an absolute absence of moisture in my mouth, looking at all the faces on the stage, at the announcer, at the audience (which looked pretty eager to hear my 'views') and finally, at the group of other school kids who were gathered there. This last bunch was the strangest because it looked like they were pushing and jostling each other to get a look. It took me a moment to realize that they were trying to hold on each other to keep from falling down because they were laughing like there was no tomorrow. Then I went back to giving the announcer the same stupid grin, hoping that since he put me in that spot, he would be able to get me out of it too. I hadn't uttered a peep yet. I could see, literally, the 'Did we just now announce that this guy won something for speaking about Afforestation???' thought running through the minds of the organizers there. That visualization, finally after a few minutes of showing the crowd there my stupid grin, put some words in my mouth. I don't exactly remember what I said (that's just another way of saying, "I am not going to tell you how much of a fool I made of myself after I opened my mouth.") but it didn't last as long as my silence had.

That was it. My attempt at public speaking ending in something that was a whisker away from being a disaster. But I at least discovered a new, deep shade of red that day!!


Danny said...

Very well written and very real because we have all something embarrassing we have gone through. I'm still working through stuff that happened 40 years ago, but I have learned to put it in perspective and remind myself to look forward when the memories pop up. Go well! Danny

me said...

Hi Danny. Thanks.

Glad to I have company. ;)