From her childhood, Sahana had acrophobia, the fear of heights. She never climbed on the terrace of her home, let alone climbing high rise buildings. Even, she never sat by the window side in her class which was on the fourth floor of her school building. Her parents always made her understand that there is nothing to get scared of, but her heart couldn’t get into terms with it because of which she never took a step in fulfilling her dreams.

She loved gymnastics, aerial acrobatics. Sitting in a corner of the practice club in her school, she watched other students practicing the aerial acts. She always wanted to try doing such stunts but her fear didn’t let her do it. So she stepped back from the team.

Her teachers even assured her that she was one of the best aerial gymnasts, but she never complied with her wishes. One day, her parents took her to visit her grandparent’s house. They lived in Manali, a hill station. Sanaya had clutched her mother’s hand tightly during the entire road journey. She was so scared that she had even closed her eyes, refusing from watching the scenic beauty.

When they reached their destination, Sanaya breathed in relief and rushed towards her grandmother. Her aunt, Shruti was also there with her family. Sanaya was very fond of Shruti and when she saw her, she was dancing with the excitement of spending time with her. Shruti knew her niece’s fear and decided to do something about it.

In the evening, Shruti and Sanaya’s mother went to the sunset point along with other kids. Sanaya was reluctant at first but when she saw her aunt’s assuring gaze, she agreed. However, she refused to step out of the car and walk up to the cliff. Shruti silently told her sister to carry on with the other kids.

“Sanaya, darling tell me one thing. Do the birds fascinate you?”, Shruti asked her in a soft voice while making her sit on the lap. Their eyes were transfixed on the sky when Sanaya said in a wobbling voice, “Yes, Aunty, I’m quite fascinated by them. I love how they fly high in the sky without worrying about anything”.

Smiling, Shruti spoke, “Great but do you know a secret?” Sanaya raised her eyebrows in curiosity when her aunt continued, “Just like you the birds walked on land. They didn’t have the courage to fly as they were scared. They were afraid that if they try to fly they might fall and hurt themselves. But one day, a little birdie gathered enough courage and decided to flap her little wings. She was scared from within but didn’t let the fear stop her. After flapping her wings several times, she finally flew away. Since then, birds are flying high up in the sky. Now if that little birdie can overcome her fear, then why can’t you sweety?”

Sanaya looked at her with wondering eyes and then back to the sky where she saw a flock of birds flying away. “Then that means, I can do aerial acts in gymnastics?”, she asked her aunt in a hesitant tone to which she nodded her head enthusiastically.
And for the first time, the little girl walked up to the edge of the cliff along with her Aunt and experienced the bliss of sunset in hilly areas. Her vacation proved to be fruitful to her. When she returned, she immediately enrolled her name in the gymnastics club.

After a few days, when she was being asked to do her first aerial act, she took a deep breath and imagined herself as the little birdie. The moment she did that, she let go off her fears and completed her first act with grace and elegance. Soon, she was selected in the state championship competition for female gymnasts. The smoothness that she displayed in her gymnastic acts left everyone gawking at her. She didn’t let her fears come into her way of doing the best and that’s is why she became the first youngest gymnast champion in her country inspiring millions of other children.


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