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29 Jul
2017
It Takes One To Know One.
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My Bullies and I - A Lesson In Hate and Triumph.

We all have a time in our lives when things seem so bad – You begin to curse your very existence.

For me, that time started in the year 2008.

My father is a military officer and we had just been transferred to Kochi.

I had to change schools.

It was the first day of my fifth grade and the people in my class seemed nice – As most people do in the beginning.

Little did I know that they will be the monsters who would torment me for years to come.

In today’s society, especially in our schools, we are cast away if we do not meet the standards of the people who are considered ‘cool’.

These “cool” folks are the most popular of the lot – They have good affiliation with their seniors.

They are either good in sports or extracurricular or simply JUST good looking.

For years, I was undergoing treatment for this condition I had, called, “forward bite”.

It’s a dental ailment where your jaws are not aligned properly and your upper jaw is ahead of your lower jaw.

The dentist had instructed me to wear a biting plate which made my pronunciations very difficult to understand.

I could not speak properly.

Little did I know that this infamous biting plate, which was a prescribed medical remedy, would end up ruining most of my school life.

People imitated me. They made weird noises.

I was asked whether I was dumb.

Sometimes they would just beat me up because I wouldn’t show them my plate.

I remember, one day, I stood up to answer a question and this guy pulled me down and told the teacher –

“Ma’am he can’t speak, bechara hai!”

This wasn’t new.

The ‘cool’ guys would occasionally make a spectacle out of me.

They would force my jaw open and tell everyone –

“Look at this guy! He does not have a tongue!”

The entire class would just stand there and laugh.

A few chose not to but no one came forward to help me.

I went ahead and reported this to my class teacher.

She scolded them but at what price?

They beat me up brutally after school.

One of them punched me so hard in the jaw that my plate splintered and I was bleeding from my mouth.

I turned to religion.

I often asked God – Why me?

What have I done to deserve such a horrible life?

Is it just because I was born deformed?

From that day onwards I dreaded going to school.

I never told my parents.

My mom and dad both work and I didn’t want to bother them with such ‘trivial’ things.

I would sit in the corner of the class like a loner.

I would go to some quiet place and eat my food.

Nobody bothered me there barring a few instances where they would come and take my food and throw it all over the place.

Then they would even pour water on me.

I was dreadfully depressed and had no one to talk to.

I had no siblings.

ALL I HAD WAS MY DIARY.

I love reading.

I’ve read about Anne Frank and how she expressed her feelings into that diary of hers.

I did the same. More like I had to.

I poured my heart into my diary.

I told HER when and how I was bullied and how it made me feel.

I shared my thoughts with HER.

I finally had a friend.

Pouring my heart out gave me some hope.

It made me feel like – I wasn’t a useless idiot like the world considered me to be.

I found self-respect.

My diary gave me something that no one could give me all my life – It gave me hope.

It gave me an identity and most importantly it gave me a second chance.

School didn’t get better though.

They bullied me again and again – Only this time I didn’t let them get to me too much.

I was stronger now.

I channeled all this frustration, anger and grief into proving myself.

An extempore competition was coming up in a week. A chance to finally prove myself.

I took off my plate.

I worked on my pronunciation.

It was difficult at first. It was really uncomfortable.

But, I did not give up.

I continued to work on it.

Finally, the day came.

MY day of reckoning.

The hard work paid off. 

I came second out of a total pool of 450 students.

The guy who wouldn't spare a chance to torment me – He lost.

And look at me today.

Look how far I’ve come.

I am in one of the best law schools in the country.

I’ve won around 7 model united nations.

I’ve won 9 state level extempore and declamation competitions.

I was the regional finalist at a national level quiz competition.

And as I look back, I can’t help but thank HER.

My little diary.

SHE listened to me when I poured my heart out.

SHE listened to me when no one else would.

SHE listened to me when I was hurting.

SHE gave me hope and asked for nothing in return.

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