It was his first TEDx speech.
He rehearsed for yet another time on the way to the venue. A lot of people knew about his achievements already. This was his chance to let them know the story behind it – the pain and hardships he had to undergo to make it happen.
Not every seedling becomes a tree!
Dreams don’t just fructify out of thin air. They need intense effort, discipline and dedication. They need a lifetime of sacrifice. Stuff that people with broken spine simply cannot manage.
He looked at himself in the passenger mirror in the car and felt a sense of pride creep into the corner of his lips.
He imagined a full audience. A standing ovation at the end of it all. People going hush over his achievements. He could see wannabe-aspirants looking up to him in awe.
“Slow down, soak it in, live in the moment.” He reminded himself.
“And don’t forget to thank all those people in the list.” Of course, he had taken time to prepare a long list of people. Few had genuinely helped him, but most were there just for the sake of a diplomatic mention.
“Sir, your destination has arrived,” the Uber driver announced.
He paid the driver and staggered onto the venue. It was a large convention center with seating capacity for five hundred people.
Five hundred people! That very number made him feel special.
He was greeted by Madan, the coordinator.
“Great to have you here today, Sir,” he muttered.
“Thank you,” his lips went dry.
As he walked inside, he was a bit surprised. He saw a nearly empty hall.
All of seven people decorated the huge expanse of the hall. He looked at Madan, quite unsure if the timing was wrong.
“Actually, it’s a long weekend, sir. Turnout is quite low. I think it will pickup in another 30 minutes.” He spluttered half-apologetically.
“That’s alright,” he felt an arrow pierce through as he replied pretentiously.
They waited for 20 minutes to see if anyone else joined. No one did. It was time for him to start his magnum opus.
He struggled and splattered through out his speech. He missed the punch lines. At some point, he simply read out the notes he had taken. It was pure misery and in the end, he was glad that it was done with.
On his way home, thoughts raced through his mind.
“What do these achievements mean to me? Did I only pursue it to seek the appreciation and approval of an invisible gallery?”
“How much does appreciation and admiration matter to me?”
“Did the achievement itself matter less than the admiration and appreciation that it involved?”
As he got out of the car, a large green dustbin stared at him.
He dumped the speech notes down the neck of the dustbin and walked away!