By Ananya Jain, 17, New Delhi
I’ve always been the shortest amongst all my friends. Apart from having the privilege of standing in front of a line at every possible event, this characteristic subjects me to a variety of bad jokes.
Brought up in Delhi by a resourceful (and ambitious) homemaker mother and a businessman father, I studied at the Vasant Valley School and, in my senior years, found debating to be a useful talent. I won several awards at various national-level debates, and last month, shared the dais with Smriti Irani and Rahul Kanwal at India Today Mindrocks Summit 2017 (see Ms Irani’s tweet below — that’s me she has her arm around).
My short stature also led to a growth spurt in my personality. During an interschool debate at Scindia School, Gwalior, I noticed to my dismay how high the podium was. Even if I stood on the tips of my toes and craned my neck forward, half of my face would still be hidden behind it.
I decided to take the bull by its horns, and requested the organizer to give me a stool to stand on. As I stepped up on it, I realized that I was now standing too tall, the microphone reaching only the middle of my chest.
I got plenty of laughs from the audience; everyone seemed awfully amused. But as soon as I started speaking, their laughter turned into cheer and amusement turned to applause. I was awarded the best speaker. Again.
I’m still unsure whether I should credit the win to my words or the tiny white stool.