Love & Life

They Laughed When She Couldn’t Reach the Mic But Her Spunk Won Them Over

Being the shortest in school meant that 17-year-old Ananya Jain was often the butt of bad jokes. But where she lacked in height, she covered up with confidence.

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.

Read the October 2017 issue of eShe magazine for free here.

About eShe

eShe is an independent women’s magazine and blog based in New Delhi that amplifies women's voices and stories about our shared humanity. Reach us at

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