And there I was. Running a race on the annual event of my primary school wearing red shorts and white t-shirt. I was ready, steady and whistle!!!!!!!
Goooowwwwww. I was running , all were cheering and I saw my father at the end line. He was shouting- “Go, run… run Bittu run..” I was running, I was running, I was running. And suddenly!!! I fell down in the midway. Yes.. I was lying on the ground smelling the grass, inhaling the dust. I heard a voice- “Get up son, run. Get up. Get up now..” I got up, I started running, I finished the race.
Now you might think like all movies, I got up and came first anyways! Nope!! I didn’t come first. Not second. No I didn’t come third. I came 23rd .... You should know that 23 kids ran that day. It’s funny, but can you feel what I was feeling that day? What do you think being 23rd can affect a kid who was running best till midway? I can tell you I was completely heartbroken. I was crying like a baby (I was one, back then), that’s when I saw my father coming to me with his smiling face. I clearly still remember he said to me- “You did well son. You did well. I am proud of you.” I don’t know why but his words brought smile to my face that day. Now have you ever seen a kid smiling and crying together? They look cute, don’t they? I did too. I guess.
Years passed. Now I was in class 7, studying in Siliguri Boys’ High School, where I studied from class 5 to class 12. It was (and is) in Siliguri, my hometown. Did you ever wish you were the topper in your class? Great. Me too. I had my home teacher, the best teacher in the world. My mom. I studied hard, I wrote the exam. And this very day I was going to get my marks, I was excited, my mom was tense. I got my marks- my name was not there in the top 10 list. I was there in the class, thinking- “mom is waiting outside. She’ll be angry, she’ll be upset. I didn’t make it. O my God. I didn’t make it!” I got out, went near the gate where mom was waiting for me. I saw Saurav, the topper nearing his mom who was so happy, her son topped, yeah. I went to my mom and hugged. She saw my marks and gave a huge smile and said- “Wow Bittu. You did well, today you are going to get a chocolate icecream..”
What? Ice cream? I didn’t even come to the top-10 list. Now I was having an ice-cream, I saw my mom paying 10 bucks to the ice-cream uncle and I was thinking- “Wow Saurav topped and got no ice cream, I didn’t come even in top ten and got a choco ice cream. If this is the case, I’ll never come in top 10.” That day my mom taught me that it’s not about being the topper, it’s about thriving to become one.
I am now a college student. I am a member of Toastmasters International. I emjoy speaking. And I've decided that I am going be a full-time speaker. I swear I get tired. I feel studies boring, speech writing super boring at times. And that’s when I rehear the voice- - “Go........run… run Bittu run..” When I still sometimes get low marks in college, or speak to a group and feel it was not my best one, I hear my mom’s soft voice “Wow Bittu. You did well, today you are going to get a chocolate ice-cream..” That’s what keeps me moving, even when I am tired, even when I want to give up and kiss the dust.
What I now realize is- Your race doesn't begin when you start running, your actual race begins when you feel like giving up!
To the question: "How many sit-ups do you do? "Mohammed Ali answered, "I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts, that's what makes you a champion."
I am becoming a champion, by falling down yet not giving up. Are you? So the next time you’re tired of trying, I invite you to tell yourself- “My race begins NOW!”