When I faced NEPOTISM at age of 10 in school ! – SHLOKK

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  • Added: August 20, 2021

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The world has finally woken up to the word nepotism. All thanks to the fiery Indian actress Kangana Ranaut who made this English word a household name across India. She was talking about how unfairly she was treated as an outsider when she entered Bollywood. Little she had the idea that this will become a phenomenon and a moment that would have an everlasting impact. The sensation around this word has reminded me of what I went through in my childhood.

I was born and brought up in one of the cities of western Uttar Pradesh. It was Class 5 when I joined a new school. It was quite a taxing admission process including an extremely competitive admission examination that gave me entry to one of the best school of the western UP. It was a little cultural shock in the beginning. Kids spoke much better English than I could. Many of them were from influential families. I didn’t want to get lost and wanted to make a place for myself so I participated in Hindi Debate competition. It was the first time I participated in a competition in my life. It was the first time I was going to speak on stage.

I don’t remember what the topic was but I do remember that my parents did everything they could to write the speech for me. My dad bought 4–5 speech books from the market. There was no Internet at that time. He used to get up at 4 am every morning to gather his thoughts, frame sentences and write down a speech. My mom would later work on the things that he wrote and fix the Hindi grammar and give her inputs on it. My job was just to learn everything by heart which I did. I prepared for weeks and rehearsed again and again.

On the D-Day, after I finished my speech, I got a standing ovation. I was the only participant among all to achieve this. One of the judges complimented that I am a great orator. I was extremely excited. I was prepared to receive that ‘First Prize’ trophy at the school assembly in front of thousands of school kids. But when the results came out, I was not first, neither second nor third.

Later I got to know that the boy who won the first prize was the son of one of the most influential teachers of the school. Another teacher who was one of the judges of the event had written his speech. LOL.

While speaking he got stuck 3–4 times. He forgot his speech in between. Still, he was the one who was standing there on stage with the trophy in his hands of first prize. The whole school was clapping for him on his ‘achievement’. I felt so small that day. The other two winners were also teachers’ kids.

At that tender age, I didn’t know what was happening around me. I didn’t know the meaning of Nepotism but I experienced it. It was very painful to see how your hard work can go in vain.

In later years, that school polished me to a great extent. Gave me opportunities to participate at district and state level Hindi debate competitions. I won most of the time. It bought a leader out of me. But that first experience would stay with me forever.

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