Rachit Mehra wheeled himself up the ramp of ‘The International School’, thankful that this new age institution was equipped for disabled students. He thought of how difficult it had been for his parents to convince ‘Vidya Mandir’ to install ramps for him after the accident two years ago. Tarini Shah, flustered at having to carry both their bags and all the paraphernalia for their debate today, arrived at his side a minute later.
They were an unlikely team, Rachit and Tarini, having never participated in a debate together, but they weren’t given an option when the star debater of their school was diagnosed with measles two days ago. In the last 48 hours, they had fought many times- Rachit fashioning Tarini an airhead who wouldn’t withstand the scrutiny of the opposing team, and Tarini judging the boy in a wheelchair, a liability. Now they proceeded to the school’s sleek reception in tacit silence.
“We’re here for the S.K Jain Memorial Debate Competition, and we represent ‘Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School’. Could you please tell us where we need to go?” Tarini asked confidently.
Rachit resented her taking the reins in every situation- his inability to stand didn’t make her the leader! Disgruntled, he reflected on how important this Competition was for him. It was the first time his school principal, Mrs. Khurana, had entrusted him to represent the school in a state-wide Debate Competition. He had always been a keen debater, with confident oration skills and the ability to think on his feet. However, the terrible car accident two summers ago had changed everything. The teachers outwardly showed immense concern, yet prevented any opportunities coming his way. He was somehow tainted for no fault of his. Losing his legs had been akin to losing his standing and respect in school. Rather courageously, he approached Mrs. Khurana at the beginning of his final school year, requesting her to give him a chance. He still enjoyed debating and had good oration and reasoning skills. Most importantly, he needed more opportunities in extra-curricular activities, so he could apply for University next year on a strong footing. Filling in last minute for the debate at ‘The International School’ was a difficult task, yet he knew it was his only chance.
“Please go straight and then turn right for the auditorium. You will be guided at the Help Desk there. The event will begin shortly. Good luck!”, trilled the friendly receptionist, breaking into Rachit’s reverie.
As Tarini took the lead, she reflected on how important this Competition was for her. When her father lost his job last year, she had not expected the wide-ranging effect his unemployment would have on her. Her parents began to fight a lot, taking their respective frustrations out on each other; her brother was too immersed in his college life, preferring to stay away from the family drama; and Tarini had to cut down on her outings due to the reduced household income, which seriously affected her friendships. Yesterday, her father sat her down and told her that his savings were dwindling to a negligible amount. He was desperately looking for a job but it was proving difficult in the current market situation. On helplessly asking him what she could do, he declared, “Beta, you will have to work hard to get a scholarship for college. I cannot afford to pay your fees in addition to your brother’s. You are a bright girl and if you focus on your studies and extra-curricular activities this year, I know you will manage.” Today’s Debate Competition had suddenly become much more significant. She only wished her team mate had been different, one that didn’t hide his insecurities and problems behind a ‘know-it-all’ superior attitude.
At the Help Desk, they were told that the format for this Competition divided teams from the shortlisted schools in groups of two, which would debate FOR and AGAINST the MOTION picked. Each team would be given fifteen minutes to discuss and prepare their topic, before presenting their arguments on stage. Then the opposing team from their group would present arguments for the other side of the motion. Both teams would then be given five minutes to prepare a rebuttal argument based on the presentation of their opposing team.
They were told to pick a topic from a random draw of chits. This time Rachit preempted Tarini by lunging for the box that contained the topics in closed chits. Quickly reading what he had picked, he exclaimed in delight, “this is from my favourite movie!”. Grabbing the chit tersely, Tarini read aloud,
““The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.”- Timothy Mouse, Dumbo.
Can one’s weakness actually be one’s strength? SPEAKING FOR THE MOTION.”
Sheepishly looking at Rachit with a smile, she said, “I hate to say this, but Dumbo is my favourite movie too.”
They were informed that they would be opposing the team from ‘Fairview High School’, which was known to be ruthless in its personal attacks on people, cleverly disguised as rhetoric. Most teams opposing them would cower under their brutal verbal assault, while most judges would be thoroughly impressed. This was going to be more difficult than either of them had anticipated.
Hurriedly pulling out their sheets of paper, Tarini and Rachit looked at each other warily. “Listen, you and I don’t get along, but that shouldn’t stop us from giving our best today”, began Tarini.
“Yes, I will do anything to ensure those horrid bullies from Fairview don’t win!”, asserted Rachit. “Let’s make a game plan.”
“I think you should argue the main debate, since we are For the Motion,” Tarini began.
Shaking his head, Rachit expressed his worry that the opposing team would ridicule his disability, which may not be the best way to begin.
“Just hear me out,” Tarini responded patiently. “The thing I admire about you the most is your unwavering self-confidence. I have never once seen you flinch in physical pain from your wounds, or emotional pain at the cruel words of the silly boys in our school, who call you ‘wheelie’ and whatnot. In fact, it seems your accident only made you stronger. I can’t think of a better person to talk about one’s weakness being one’s strength!”
Rachit looked at her with surprised admiration. Not only was he taken aback at her empathy, he was also impressed with her mental acuity and sound planning skills. He said, “thanks Tarini… and I think you should do the rebuttal. I can see that you’re good at assessing people’s strengths, which means you’ll be able to assess the other team’s weaknesses, attacking them where it hurts after hearing their arguments. What do you think?”
Tarini smiled and said, “I think that’s a great idea. Let’s do this together, as a team.” They bent their heads and began discussing their core arguments.
A few hours later, the Compere announced the team from ‘Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School’ as the State-wide winners. Yelling their collective joy, they graciously accepted the trophy together.
The gentleman handing out their prize shook their hands and passed on his card to each of them. “I am Suresh Menon, Dean of Bhim Sen University. Your performance today was splendid. I have rarely come across such a well-meshed and intelligent team of debaters. My University is always hunting for your caliber of talent. Please come and meet me along with your parents, and I sincerely hope you will consider Bhim Sen as your destination for higher education.”
Later, heading back to their own school, they excitedly discussed the events of the morning. A friendship was clearly burgeoning between this unlikely pair- the airhead who turned out to be quite smart and the boy in the wheelchair who was far from being a liability!
This blog is a part of the #WeeklyBlogHop hosted by Alpana of www.mothersgurukul.com and Neha Sharma of www.growingwithnemit.com. I have written on the prompt “The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.”- Timothy Mouse, Dumbo.
I would like to thank Shubhra of www.natkhatz.com for introducing me to this blog hop and would further like to invite Yogeeta of www.vrag.in to share her take on the prompts.
*This is not a sponsored post.
**Copyright in content belongs to nooranandchawla and cannot be republished or repurposed without permission from the author. As I am a copyright lawyer by profession, infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action.
A lovely take on the prompt. Many times our fears Mau let us down. But if we control our fear and see the best in everything then those very things which pull us down can lift us up. Loved your story.
Thank you Shubhra! So glad you liked it 🙂
That’s a lovely take on the prompt. I enjoyed the story .
This reminds me of my nephew who met with a very bad accident 2 years back but he believes to give up in life.
A well written article it is..
Thank you 😊
Noor, I have started to become a fan of your fiction.
Sometimes opposite people can compliment each other. Same thing happened with Tarini and Rachit.
Thank you Alpana 🤗
Lovely read.. i could actually imagine the school and the team…rachit and tarini …. beautifully written Noor
So glad you liked it 🙂
Loved the story and the way you used the prompt. Great going, Noor!
Thank you Neha!
It is such a nice story, really enjoyed reading it 🙂
Nice take on the prompt, Noor. We need such motivational stories to combat fears.
Thank you 😊
Hi five on seeing the strength within the people who move on wheelchairs. Though assumed as burden they actually shine in their own way.
I loved the atmosphere you created in the plot brims of optimism in the end.
Thank you 😊
What a beautiful take on this prompt! I remember that Hindi Saying, “Kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna” Your posts kept me glued till the date, I could visualize every scenario. You are a blessed story-teller dear 🙂
#WeeklyBloghop #bloghop #GWNxMG
Thank you dear Varsha!
Well crafted story and great use of prompt dear.. It was indeed an interesting read.
Lovely story , loved it , one needs to overcome thier fear and insecurities to shine in life 🙂
Excellent take on prompt, remembered our those days. Very well write up
Thank you! So glad you liked it 🙂
Such a refreshing read. Just proves to never underestimate the capacity and capabilities of anyone in this world.
Absolutely! Thank you for appreciating:)
Such a well written story Noor. Team work is really important and well headed minds like Tarini and Rachit made a great team. Share a part II, if possible 🙂
Thanks Gunjan! That’s interesting.. maybe I will 🙂
Wow its a wonderful short story. Very well use of prompt… it keep me connected till end.
Thank you 🙂
Such a beautiful and interesting read. This is by far the best I have read on your blog and I have become a fan of your writing. Keep sharing more.
Thank you! So sweet of you to say!
I am a huge fan of short story. And this story is so beautiful . I love the way you have focused on the strength of wheels !
Thanks! I haven’t focused on the strength of wheels?
A beautiful and inspiring take on the prompt. How unlikely pair come together and win a debate with their smartness
Thank you! So glad you liked it!
I have says this before and I say it again Noor, I loved your beautiful tale, in fact it reminded me on someone I know 😊
Oh wow that’s amazing! Thanks Roma!
This is a wonderful take on prompt. I could actually imagine the scenario in my head. love the beautiful write up. Totally enjoyed the read.
Thank you 😊
I enjoy reading short stories as it gives you a message in a short simple interesting way.
Keep writing more.
We need more stories like these and more authors like you to come forward. Fear is just a state of mind and we humans can easily overcome it with strong will power and support of loved ones. Good job 😊
I loved reading this story.you are very talented writer ,I must say. Keep up the good work
A beautiful narrative, which goes to prove that nothing is impossible if you have the will.
It’s so well narrated. Loved reading it. Infact we all should belive on self power. If we can ignore fear then we can achieve anything in life.
Thank you 😊
You really write short stories so well and engaging …Would love to read more such stories!!
Thank you 😊
Thats a lovely story loved reading it. I like such short and meaningful stories to read.
Such an amazing take on the prompt! Really loved reading this piece of writing of yours.
Thank you 😊
This is a great take on the prompt. I love the way you have penned down each thought. I like your write up
Loved the story so well written so well plotted….even the moral of story inspires us not to give up
Thank you 😊
A very nice and poignant story. Liked the positive current that runs through the entire story. So easy to get into a sad note given the nature of the protagonist.
Thank you 😊
I enjoy reading the shorter stories now due to my hectic schedule and I must say that you are becoming a pro at writing such stories. Loved it.
A very refreshing short story, it great to overcome our fear, good work by the authors
I am the only author. Thank you.
What a brilliant read it was , loved the way you’ve written on the prompt. It’s so important that we take on our fears in right way
This was such a good read… Story with a moral… Loved reading this… You write really well! 💕
Thank you 😊
I am reading a lot of short stories this month and I’m adding yours to my liked-list! It’s a good one! Keep going
Wow thank you!
Interesting prompt and your take on it. Well written..i enjoyed reading it.
That’s a wonderful take on the prompt. Loved the way you have reviewed the book, makes me want to grab it soon.
This short story is such an interesting take on the prompt. I totally enjoyed reading right till the end and beautiful msg to take back. Great job at it.
Another lovely story. Loved the story and the way you used the prompt.
A nice story. I enjoyed reading it.
Great post. Very well written story and an inspiring tale of team spirit. Thank you for sharing this.
Glad you liked it! Thank you for stopping by!
What a beautiful story, loved reading it to the last word. One can learn a lot from this short story, there is a lot we can do if we trust ourselves.
I’m glad you liked it! Thank you so much for stopping by!
Amazing! I am yet in the story and am searching for words to type! Being a teacher and a parent, can instantly connect with all their emotions you’ve so beautifully expressed!
Thank you so much! That means so much to me 🙂