As we were windin up the semester, the class was euphoric. There were sharing of what they learned and how. The class also talked about the peers, and how others rooted for them and how this transformed them literally. In the general atmosphere of bonhomie and with the satisfaction of having completed the work assigned, I stood relaxed in front of the class of 100 students, 50 online and the rest offline.
Suddenly, a noise broke out from the back benchers, ‘ Mam, we want you to sing!’
I looked up strangely as that was not part of the agenda and smiled it off as a meaningless blabber.
But the call caught on and soon, the entire class was rooting .. we want sreelekha mam to sing!
sing! goodness! not if I have to die in front of you!!!
I thought to myself when someone reasoned, ‘ You always ask us to do so many things and we do. When we don’t know you encourage us, now it is your turn’.
I sweated a bit at this. There seemed to be no escape. I still tried my best and said, ‘Listen, I have no sense of rhythm, I have no sense of music itself’.
‘No problem’, shouted the class to me.
‘We want to hear you sing!’
Ohk, said I after much failed negotiation, I will recite a few sanskrit shlokas for you!
No! No! ‘Ok! anything!
The class cried out their thoughts to me.
Then caught in a corner , way out of my comfort zone, I went ahead and recited the sanskrit shlokas for the first time in my life in front a crowd that big.
When I stopped the class applauded my performance with enthusiasm.
That left me thinking of the mentors and trainers , who have so much to learn and unlearn and so many barriers to cross before we start to lecture others on coming out of the comfort zone!
Speeches are not difficult for me, but songs are a different ball game altogether.The learning from the event is that one has to constantly test oneself to continue to grow and evolve into better mentors, trainers and teachers!