WHAT'S YOUR STORY WITH SWATI GOYAL
What's Your Story with Swati Goyal
I was neither born lucky nor born genius, nor born talented. When I peep behind the shut doors of the past, immense complacency overwhelms me, marveling at my own resurrection to what I am today. I was born in a small, obscure town of India. Of the few memories I can conjure, I recall the wide drains bordering the narrow brick lanes, the rowdy railway station, the hustle bustle of a typical Indian grain market, the squealing hawkers and the jubilant temple bells.
My life was to follow the same suit had my dad not decided to migrate to Chandigarh (an urban city of India) in pursuit of an alternative business. The imminent target after that was to get me into a good school. My mother enrolled me into one of the leading schools of Chandigarh-Sacred Heart Convent school. While the school boasted of it's highly polished and multi faceted students, the admission criteria was grossly formidable. As I raced through my 2 hour admission exam, my mother's heart raced and pounded with each passing tick of the clock. I exited the hall in oblivion of the fact that what I penned inside was not an exam but my destiny. To everyone's surprise I was taken in the school- the most coveted and celebrated school of Chandigarh.
Like I said I was 'not born lucky'- 'my mom' made me one
As I staggered into the relatively alien turf, I realized it was rather an opening of 'Pandora's box of troubles'. Being a convent school, it was mandated that each student converse in English. Hailing from a small Indian town, my base language was Hindi. While the weighty English words poured out of my peer's mouths glibly I struggled to put together the same hostile words to form coherent sentences. I would be too shy to raise my hand to answer a question, fearing the mockery my ugly stutter would result in. Whenever I was asked a question, I stood frozen, humiliated and drained out of life. Our school conducted monthly parent teacher meetings to evaluate student's performance and give necessary feedback to parents. I so dreaded this demon that resurfaced every month. My palms would drench in sweat, and fingers wrestle nervously as my mother fidgeted on her seat uncomfortably, bruised by an interminable tirade of complaints from my teacher. While other mothers walked out smug and exhilarated, my mother walked out low head, her hopes thwarted.
Brimmed with guilt and remorse I finally decided to rather face my fears. The mirror became my best friend as we spent hours together talking and rehearsing in English. I would deliberately broach controversial discussions with my friends to challenge my English proficiency. I started reading vocabulary books, newspapers, editorials and rummaged the dictionary for new words. I would jot them down and review them rhythmically until I became comfortable with their usage. Gradually, I gained a command on English and along with that came a better understanding of my academic subjects and that of the classroom sessions. I still remember the massive leap I made in my scores startling the teachers as well as the toppers of my class. All it took was a focus reinforced by the desire to excel.
Like I said I was not born genius, I found in me one
My initial success in academics triggered success in other domains as well. My earnest efforts and avid interest helped me refine my literary and oratory skills. I participated and excelled in several events like press conference, extempore and debates. I even contributed articles for the famous 'Hindustan Times', an achievement I cherish till date. In recognition of my supreme communication skills I was appointed the 'Marketing committee head' in college. On similar grounds, working in Infosys on a cross-cultural, Indo-Chinese project I was given the task of mediating any conflicts arising due to cultural disparities. My persistence and hard work helped me not only surmount my initial obstacles but also channelize them in the right direction to unleash the talent in me.
Like I said I was not born talented, I chose to be one
Behind every success, lies a motivation and my motivation was and is,
my mother who exemplifies tremendous strength of character, worth
emulating. Also insults can do to you what laurels can't. The humiliation
I faced at the hands of my teachers and peers ignited in me the desire
to excel in every domain I floundered in. I believe that criticism, if taken
in a positive stride can actually help us transform our weaknesses to
strengths. Success like learning is a cumulative process, one success
laying the foundation of yet another and for me my first success was
the motivation for each success that followed thereafter.