Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen


September 2013


Reasons I love September:

#1 Holidays, holidays and holidays:
I’m not kidding, in the first week, I got a three-day weekend, and then the next week, a four-day weekend, and now another four-day weekend.

#2 Festivals and celebrations:
The first week, we got to celebrate Teacher’s day at school. And then, it was Onam, a South Indian festival. This week, it is the National Day of the country where I live.

#3 School after a loooong summer vacation:
Nope, before you all start getting ideas, I’m not a school-obsessed nerd. I’m a nerd alright. But, not exactly obsessed with school. Oh well, whatever.
It was just that my vacation was like the worst thing ever. Having to stay almost one-and-a-half-months with relatives who dislike you (Yes! The feeling is mutual.) is beyond annoying.
So, I was rather happy when school reopened, because that meant being back with my awesomesauce friends and reverting back to my old, cheerful self again. (Instead of that depressed, anti-social creature that I turn into, when I’m around my relatives in India.)

#4 Winning an international writing competition:
Yes! I did. Not the first prize or anything, but I got featured on the Silver list. I’m rather proud of that, especially since it was one of the oldest writing competitions, held by The Royal Commonwealth Society, London in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, and it was my first attempt at sending some of my writing to a contest which expected such high standards.

#5 My mother’s birthday:
It was my mum’s 34th birthday (she’ll be happy that I made her 20 years younger! :P) on the 18th. That meant that I had a large chocolate cake, from one of the best bakeries in the city, all for myself. Well, excluding that little part which in had to give me friends and my mum herself. My dad is diabetic and hates chocolate, so I got to stuff my face with excess chocolate, which was just blissful heaven for a chocoholic like me.

So, that was why I ought to have loved September.
But, this was one of the worst months. Ever.
My relationship with my parents is on an all-time low. All we ever seem to do in the house is fight.
My dream of my future seems to be drifting further and further away.
My grades are not as good as I hoped.
I have lost all interest in anything related to my coursework and all I ever do, is read novels.
My best friend is depressed and I have no idea how to get her out of it and I seem to be sinking into depression myself.


R.I.P, dear friend.

“I didn’t think she would do something like that!”
“Not her!”
“I never imagined that she was that type!”
I caught a few snippets of conversation from the large group congregated in front of my class.
Naturally, I assumed that they were just gossiping about random stuff. That was only until I noticed their sad and mournful expressions. Also, the class representative, who harboured extreme and rather unhealthy devotion to the school, was unconsciously scribbling something with a tiny pencil on the door jamb.
When I pointed it out to her, she exclaimed, “You only live once!”
I shrugged. Strange.
My best friend came running up to me. “Did you hear about that girl?”
“Hear about whom?, asked another best friend of mine, who had arrived just then.
“That girl Anamika!”, exclaimed the first. She was literally bursting with excitement.
“What happened to her?”, I asked, being the ever-curious one.
“Apparently, she committed suicide, sometime last week. Can you believe it, she killed herself over bad grades?”, she exclaimed.
“Which girl Anamika?”, asked the second, ever-clueless friend.
“Gosh! She studied with us for a month in Year 11, before she left to India. Don’t you remember?”, asked the first.

Yes. I remember. I remembered her well enough. She was a childhood friend of mine. She used to come for Bharatnatyam dance lessons at the same place I used to go. I’d lost touch with her after 4th or 5th grade.
Then, she got put into the same class as me, in Year 11.
In Year 11, she was there for barely a month and then she left to continue her education in India.

Most of you wouldn’t believe me, but I actually had a dream the day before yesterday, in which she appeared. Something about my friends (strangely, Anamika was included) and I, going for a camping trip to some mountainous region, and then, Anamika gets lost, and we are unable to find her. And then, I woke up.

But, the very idea that she is no more is kind of unimaginable.
The worst part is that she took her own life. That too over something as trivial as grades at school. I wasn’t very close with her to know what her problems exactly were, but rumours about her taking her life over grades abound.

I think all that mush about ‘grades decide your future’ is just utter rubbish. I mean, how many successful people failed school or never even attended it in the first place? That’s right: MANY!
So, why should grades be the absolute deciding factor? Probably because of parental and societal expectations.

Today, I saw it all.
How much her two best friends sobbed and wept.
How much her friends and classmates mourned her.
And I imagined how much her parents and elder sister must be grieving for her.
It is like she disappeared, leaving a big hole and enclosing all her family, relatives, friends and acquaintances in a large, fluffy cloud of misery.
Why do you want to do that, Anamika? Why? Just why?
All I can say is that, if not for some very special people, it might have been me in her place.

P.S. The name is changed to protect her identity. Anamika is a Sanskrit name, meaning nameless.

Teacher’s day special!

The day before yesterday, we celebrated Teachers’ Day in my school.
In India, teachers’ day is usually on the 5th of September and my school being an Indian school used to celebrate it on the same day.
But, this time, it fell on a weekend.
So, we shifted it earlier. To the 4th.

And what a wonderful day it was!
We, the 11th and 12th graders had to dress up as teachers and manage the younger classes.
We didn’t need to TEACH them. Just be with them and have fun.
But, it was like stepping into the shoes of a teacher for a day.
My friends and I got assigned to 7th grade classes and had to take up the role of the English teacher.
But, that particular English teacher had just three classes on Wednesday.
The first class we went to was really fun. The children were interactive and friendly.
I liked them more because they told me that I’m the most awesome one among my friends. 😉
We sang, danced and talked with them.
Then, we had to go to another class. But, that class wasn’t as fun. They were rude and ill-mannered and didn’t want to do anything we said.
But, the third class was the worst! They were so deadly quiet and never spoke a word, even though we kept trying to make them speak. They listened to us, but never responded. Finally, we gave up and started talking among ourselves, ignoring them completely. We spent most of the time wondering when that hour would end.
After that, the teacher we were assigned to, had two free hours. That meant that all we had to do was to sit in the staff room and gossip!

This experience of substituting the teachers for a day taught me a few things.
Being a teacher is definitely not easy. They deserve our respect.
(Even though they do annoy and hate us sometimes.)

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