Hi friends, Sara here! Today is Gandhi Jayanti and a good day for us to introspect on how we treat those who are less fortunate than us- school mates, house help, relatives, neighbours. Gandhiji spoke of equal rights for the minorities and it is something that all of us, even young people should care about. 13 year old Nandini Jhunjhunwala makes a start, by writing this powerful essay on bullying in school.
Nandini is a student of Modern High School For Girls, Kolkata
Appearance vs reality- Essay #Discrimination
It was the best day of my life. It was like living in my dream. From the day my parents sent me to a government school which they could afford, I had always wanted to go to a reputed, prestigious one.
Luckily , I got a scholarship to my dream school – St Lewis.
As I walked through the gigantic gates of the school , I knew that I was starting a new journey. I had never imagined that a school could be so beautiful and vast .I walked into my class and as I looked up, I saw some friendly faces and I was ready to begin this chapter.
The class started and my class teacher introduced me to my classmates. They weren’t very interested and continued chatting amongst themselves. I felt that it was disrespectful, but I didn’t want to say anything.
The class continued and the mathematics teacher called me to do a problem on the board. No sooner did I walk up to the blackboard, than I could hear whispers saying,
”She is so poor,”
”She is so dark,”
“I am sure she doesn’t even know how to write English,”
“She can’t even afford two square meals, how is she affording the tuition!”
I felt wounded and hurt. They were unaware of the fact that I got a scholarship on my merit. I did not have the courage to speak up to them even though they had said something so hurtful .
After the class had finished, all the students gathered around me and apologized to me. I was happy and assumed those friendly faces weren’t actually fake. They took me to the garden and showed me around the school.
But then, they all gathered around me once again and started calling me names. They did this so that it would hurt me more, because I had ended up thinking that they were my friends. They went around me in circles chanting the words, “She is poor and she is dark and she does not belong here !”
They repeated again and again. Everyone could hear it and it was very embarrassing. Then one of them opened my braid and threw away the rubber band, another one pulled my skirt and it was agonizing. I tried so hard to stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks, but they broke through. Then they picked on me because I was crying. When one of them pushed me, I fell to the ground and mud splashed on my face. It was unbearable.
I stood up and ran away from there, feeling weak and naïve for believing that those children were ever my friends. This went on for another week, I was continuously discriminated.
Those friendly faces were actually condescending serpents beneath. Their appearance was much better than their reality. I did not have the courage to stand up for myself and this was what was distracting me from my education- the sole purpose of going to school. I felt so scarred and inferior that I wanted to drop out.
Then I realized that the only thing I had wanted in the world was to go to that school and get top notch education. And now I was ready to throw away all my dreams and ambitions, just because I did not have the courage to stand up to some people?
I built up some courage and decided to go to the principal and complain to her about the discrimination I was facing. My seniors in the ninth and tenth grade were witnesses to this bullying and they also backed me up. After the principal heard about this, she expelled those students.
I learnt a life lesson- that we should not care about what other people, especially bullies, think of us. Either they are scared of us retaliating by beating them back or they just want to demean us for their time pass.
No one deserves to be humiliated. We should not give up on our dreams for the sake of those who bully us.
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