Richa was busy preparing for her upcoming seminar at the center for women’s studies. It was to be a 35 minutes lecture on “Feminism and diversity of women” . She was passionate about her work and had always been a dedicated student with a special gift for Social sciences and Literature. Her only real fear was social interaction. While rehearsing her lecture, she travels back to those times when she was nervous to face big groups of people and public speaking was just a distant wish . She was in awe of her classmates who spoke confidently on the stage, in front of huge audiences.
Sometimes, she wondered how some people managed to initiate and hold conversations , so effortlessly. She wasn’t good with people, she had decided . The sad propensity to arrive at conjectured conclusions and give up a little too soon was probably part of the reason, the more relevant part being her different childhood . She had spent most of her childhood and adolescence in a boarding school , far away from her parents, for better education and a promising future . It equipped her with the best as far as knowledge and expertise in different subjects was concerned but took away something more important. In the absence of assurance , encouragement , the special pat-in-the-back that only parents can provide in a child’s formative years , Richa’s spontaneity, confidence and positive sense of self suffered a serious setback. It was difficult for anyone with such an entrenched feeling of inadequacy to be happy or to make the best out of life.
Life continued in its slow, stagnant pace for Richa until that decisive afternoon in the library. It was a casual question at first , about the book that she had been working on . Richa was wishing for the conversation to end as she wished to finish the book but life had a different plan for her on that unusual afternoon. So , she kept responding in a hushed tone to “maintain silence” in the library. That was only the beginning of a great friendship , with Ravi diligently trying to force sentences out of Richa. Ravi had sensed that there was more to Richa’s withdrawn nature , her calculated words, her self-imposed silences. He encouraged Richa to share her thoughts and concerns with him. Richa gradually opened up to Ravi and articulated her acute emotional struggles with self confidence which made it awkward for her to even interact freely with people . It surprised Richa that she was revealing the “restricted “part of her , unknown and undisclosed to anyone before .
They had reached a zone in friendship that was beyond hesitation or second thoughts. Ravi reminded Richa about her positive traits – the uniqueness of her and encouraged her to build on them. He encouraged Richa to practice positive self-talk and to embrace her self in its beauty and essence. He encouraged her to meet new people and follow her passions . Ravi’s consistent support , appreciation and encouragement inspired Richa to discover the positive , confident person hidden under the seemingly impenetrable blankets of self-doubt and fear. The fresh hope and optimism of Ravi’s love had opened up a whole new world to Richa where she wasn’t afraid to assert herself, anymore .