Take up the challenge

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Nisha wondered why Payal was participating in the speech competition, knowing she would not win. I told her she was wasting her time.

I was surprised when my best friend Payal raised her hand to participate in the speech competition. “You will never win this speech competition,” I whispered to her.

The other three participants from my Std VI A class were Divya, Janaki and Tara.

“There are only four participants from our class. Anyone else wants to give your names for the speech competition?” asked our class teacher.

However, no one came forward as everyone knew that the Std. VI winners would be Divya, Janaki and Tara.

Payal’s topic was “The digital world”. In the evening, I went to her house and saw her writing points for her speech.

“You are wasting your time. You can never beat those girls. Come, let’s go out and play,” I said.

“Sorry Nisha, I am busy,” said Payal.

Next day, in class, I kept telling Payal that she was never going to win. During lunch and after school, Payal went to the school library to do some reference.

Different viewpoint

At dinner, I told my parents about Payal. “She is never going to win.” My parents scolded me for discouraging Payal. “Whether she wins or not, Payal is a true winner,” said my mother.

I did not understand how Payal could be a true winner if she lost the competition.

A week later, the results of the speech competition were announced. The winners of Std VI A were Divya, Tara and Janaki who came first, second and third respectively. I felt sad that Payal didn’t win. All the time and effort Payal devoted to the speech turned out to be a waste.

At break time, I thought I would treat her to a chocolate doughnut at the school canteen. But I could not find Payal.

I went searching for her and I found Janaki sitting in the corner of the playground. She looked gloomy. She was upset because she had not won the first prize. I congratulated her, but she too didn’t look happy.

“I won the first prize last year. But this year, I won only the third prize,” grumbled Janaki.

I expected Divya, the first prize winner to be happy. But, I overheard her say, “I won the first prize. But instead of me, they chose Anya, the first prize winner of VI B, to give the welcome speech for the school annual day function. That’s not fair.” Her friends were trying to cheer her up.

Take up the challenge

The winners were not happy. So, I expected to see a sad looking Payal crying in great disappointment. But there was Payal laughing and playing in the playground. She was not upset or disappointed. As I watched her, I understood why my mother had said that Payal was a true winner. She did not win but she did not take it to heart. Unlike us, Payal had the courage and confidence to take part in the competition, and was unafraid of failure. She was a winner.

“Nisha, come join us,” called Payal. I smiled.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 1:35:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/take-up-the-challenge/article30963419.ece

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