• Hasitha Illa

An experience that changed my life!!

This was my first time speaking for such a big event; in front of 50,000 people and Shankar Mahadevan himself. My previous presentations were either in school or college for projects and assignments. But this time, I wanted to make a good impression, one that could possibly create change. With this in mind, I worked extremely hard in curating an impactful speech (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE VIDEO). Initially, I broke down due to agitation but, as I got more fluent; I got more confident!

The day of the event, I was extremely nervous and my heart was pounding faster than ever. There was an excited audience in front of me but, I was not the only one to perform; there were many kids and volunteers who made this show possible! The crew who checked the lightings, the sightings, videographers, photographers and an excited audience! Did I mention I got my own bouncers who lifted me up to the stage! *Celebrity feels*

Appearance was something I had little attention for. However, when you are on stage everything matters! Backstage, all the participants were packed and expected to get ready. Without the access for a wheelchair, it became extremely difficult for me to change and doll up. But my mom made me look my best! In that humid and heat, she successfully transformed me into a princess! With a stunning lehenga, big earrings and a correct amount of makeup, I was ready to tackle the stage with my speech!

My speech was towards the end and I had loads of time to rehearse. In the meantime, I rehearsed my part a million times and I texted all my friends as well as relatives for some support. I even made many friends during this experience, and they diverted me from the anxiety. Backstage, I had a glimpse of Shankar Mahadevan who flattened me by saying, “I know you. You are Hasitha Illa. A warrior and a writer!”

As my time became closer, my bouncers came to take me up the stage. As I was waiting for my turn, my heart was pounding my chest so hard that it felt as if it was ready to come out. But, I constantly told myself something that Daaji had once said, “Consider yourself successful if you brought about change even in one soul.” With this in mind I gave out a very confident message which might have reached many hearts. My speech became a hit and I was even more heart touched by Shankar Mahadevan’s words. It felt like a dream to be on stage with him, who was constantly elevating my confidence. He said things like, “I'm your fan so, I need a selfie with you!”, “Your story is an inspiration to millions of families out there and it will definitely bring out

some sort of change.” Words like these brought me to the air and additionally, the participants got a chance to sing along with him. As the song ended, he said “For the love to live and joy of existence. That’s what she’s all about!” pointing at me. He ended it by giving me a warm hug which left me in happy tears.

As I left the stage, I became flooded with a crowd who were waiting to take pictures with me. The whole day was a magical experience where I felt as if I swapped lives with a celebrity. This initial event led to many more speeches and boosted my confidence in starting a blog as well as a youtube. Hoping for many more experiences that touch hearts and bring about change!

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