The ‘Fancy Dress’ faux pas

This incident needs to be documented for posterity’s sake.

I was in class 4th. That time I was living in Ahmedabad and I had just joined school a few months back. I was having trouble making friends due to the language barrier and I was already in a sad state of mind due to my terrible bullying experience in another school in A’bad , where I finished class 3rd. But somehow, here it was easier to talk to people because I had a couple of non-gujaratis in my class.

I was always interested in extra-curricular activities. After a couple of months of joining school, our teacher announced the annual fancy dress competition to be held in about two weeks and I was immediately interested. I went home and told my parents about it and they were equally excited. We zeroed on making me dress up as Rani Lakshmibai, since she was someone I knew enough about, courtesy my dad’s nightly stories and already developing habit of voracious reading. By voracious, I do mean voracious, because my mom had to hide my Tinkle subscriptions around exams time and I would look for it like a bloodhound.

Anyhoo, I digress. So, we started preparing for my role as the great Indian freedom fighter. My dad wrote down some lines in hindi for me to learn, something along the lines of ‘Main apni Jhansi nahi doongi, nahi doongi, nahi doongi!’(I will not give away my Jhansi, ever!) My mom got a very pretty white and purple saree roll-pressed and sized up a blouse and was getting it ready for me to wear as a 9 yard saree. I used to practice my dialogues daily brandishing a comb as the sword.

Meanwhile, our teacher at school also used to take a rehearsal of the students representing class 4 B in the competition. Every day I would recite those lines as a teeny tiny soda glasses wali Rani Lakshmibai threatening the British/classmates with a pencil. My teacher was happy with the way I was doing.

On the eve of the competition, my parents got my saree, jewelry, chandrabindi ready. They went out to buy me a gajra for my bun and a sword from balloon wala. They had to spend around 3 hours looking for a golden sword fit for a queen. Every balloon wala had a silver sword. I had to have a golden one. Finally they found one and came home. I was supremely happy and was so ready to rock the stage.

The next day, I got up early thoroughly excited. My mom made me wear the 9 yard saree, did my hair, put the pretty gajra. She put some compact on my face, the Chandra bindi typical of Mahrashtrians, fake nath, and lastly my soda glasses. Ah well. I went downstairs in full navvaari(9 yard) glory to wait for my school van with my bag and a little plastic bag of uniform to change into later.

My school van arrived and I sat inside. The 2-3 boys in the van who used to board before me were major bullies. They had made my time hell and made sure to torment me daily about any damn thing. They were surprised to see me dressed and asked me why. I told them I was participating in the Fancy Dress competition. They sniggered and told me that there was no competition and kept making fun of me. I got a little teary eyed but kept quiet. As we were reaching school, the other kids boarded and looked at me like I was an alien or something. As we reached, one girl asked me again what was I dressed for, and I repeated the same answer. I went to the assembly area and stood in the line for my class. We had to go inside the school building class by class monitored by high school captains, and that was our daily rule.

To my horror, I did not see anyone dressed up! Every single kid was in their uniform! Finally a friend told me that the competition was not that day, but 3 days later! I had totally messed up the dates. I had a very bad habit of leaving things to my memory and not writing instructions down in the school diary. URRGGHHHHH! The horror! I can’t remember now, if I had written the wrong date down or written nothing at all! But it was so embarrassing to say the least.

This part takes the cake. As we were let in inside the building, I was the ONLY kid not in a uniform. As I passed one captain while going up the stairs in the line, he looked at me all bewildered and said ‘ Happy Birthday!’ He thought I was in birthday dress! OMG! Worst. Thing. Ever! I just went to class and started crying till my teacher came and understood the situation. She calmed me down and took me to the girls’ restroom. Thank God that I had my change of uniform with me, otherwise I would have been so miserable and embarrassed.

After I reached home, I told my parents what happened, and my parents had the laugh of their lives after consoling the crying me. Till now, my mom tells how they roamed so much for the golden sword and what I did later. She has that taunt ready whenever I act cocky about the power of my memory and when I claim I can do no wrong. Aaaaah, the shame!

I did not participate in the competition that was held 3 days later.


Of rants and closures…

Aaaah, that has been a verrrryyyyy long absence. So much for my decision to update my blog frequently. Btw, is it just me who gets confused on how to spell decision?

I finally have been working. Yay for that! Since, September. And along with the full time job, managed to finish my thesis, so I am a Masters in Engineering with a good thesis against my name. Double yay for that! I will try not to think of the fact that the amount of research abuse I went through, and the work I did, I deserve a PHD. But alas, life is harsh and such.

I have been going through some really difficult things personally in my relationship with Mr. BF. He is the best guy possible. And it sucks when stupid things like future, marriage and moving to India come in between. Its even worse because neither of us are wrong. That deserves another post altogether and I am not sure how happy he will be about our story being made ploglic( blog+public, geddit? :D).

So, even when I was not posting anything on my blog, my blog reading hasn’t taken a backfoot. Blogs are blocked at work, but I am so glad to get the posts as emails. One such post that I read was this by Pepper.

It began a chain of thoughts about my behavior. Looking at me, it’s a classic case of spoilt, single child syndrome. I behave like a brat. I have the least amount of patience. I have horrible temper tantrums. I am very insecure. I resort to shouting very quickly. It is like, 0 to b*tch in 4.692 seconds.

But those who know me, also know that the diagnosis is not true. I am a single child, yes, but spoiled? Definitely not. I was pampered, and my parents adore me(obviously, duuh!) but they have never let me cross the limits.

I come from a not very affluent background. My dad worked hard always to give us the best possible. He spent maximum on education. He spent all his savings for my MS. I don’t remember ever crying for something in a “I want, I want” way. My dad has always credited me by saying that I look immature, but I am smarter than my parents. He is proud of me about the way I understand the responsibilities, my home situations and about what I have to do to give my family the best. That basically is the reason why I chose to do MS and decided to work in the US for atleast a couple of years. I earn good enough. But I send 50% of the money home to repay my education loans and will continue sending always to help out my parents and fulfill their life-long dream of having a home in Pune. This apparently ‘spoilt, pampered child’ amongst her friends, has had the least monthly expenses(in India and in US), minimum expenditure on thanksgiving shopping( people staying in US will know what I mean 😉 ), and practically no shopping budget every month.

Anyways, I realize I have written way too much about my upbringing. Getting into the reasons that I have thought are responsible for my crazy erratic behavior. I think there are two. The first one, again, deserves a separate post. The second. The second one, bullying.

My dad had a marketing job where he had to move from region to region. I have been to 7 schools, 1 junior college, 1 engg college, 1 US Grad school. I have lived in Ajmer(where I was born at my Nana-Nani’s place), Indore(my dad’s native place), New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Indore, Pune, Lonavala(Engg), San Diego, and now in OC. Way too many changes. Siggghhh! I have always been a meek chotu kid. I would always have incomplete classwork, bad grades, would get up in the middle of the class to walk to the blackboard, and annoy my teachers. When I moved to New Delhi, I was in the 1st std. First 6-7 months of school, any school till 6th std, I have eaten my lunch box alone. Sitting in the playground on a bench, pretending I am waiting for someone. Same thing in New Delhi. In the middle of the year, my teacher Mrs. Madhumita Chatterjee(loved her!) noticed my classwork, and my walking to the blackboard. She wrote a note to my parents to get my eyes tested, and I was diagnosed with -3, -3.5 in 1st std. No wonder my grades were bad, I could not see the questions written on the board, how would I answer them! So after that I was not just lone, but rather started getting made fun of because of my glasses. I do not kid when I say I looked exactly like Jassi! Haha! Then I met this girl Dimpi in class. Punjabi, loud, with a temper and an inability to take disagreement. I met her grown up(?) version as a roommate in my 1st year in San Diego(That year was a hell!). Dimpi would punch me on my back, pinch me, pull my plaits, make me jump from stairs for her amusement, make me climb jungle gyms even if I hated it. I put up with that just so that I had a ‘friend’ and did not have to eat alone. Then came a girl Kalpana who stood up to her and our friendship was promptly broken off.

In 3rd std, I moved to A’bad. By the time we moved, the admission season was over, so I had to go this really horrible school, Aroma, where English medium was also taught in Gujarati. It was an alien language for me. Even worse, cuz I was now a complete outsider. At the end of the 1st day of school, while walking out of class in a line, I accidently bumped against a girl in my front. She did not say anything then after I told her that I stumbled after getting pushed from behind due to the crowd. The wall at the gate was made of uneven bricks. I was standing there, when she came from behind and hit me on my head and pushed my head against that wall. I got tears in my eyes, but couldn’t utter a single word. The other bully I met was in the rickshaw. She was also in my class, and I was s uitable bakra for copying off the answers from in exams. I started messing up my rank in the class because helping with her math and science paper took up all my time. I still regret that I started stealing because of her so that I could buy her tamarinds, saunf, and such things. Luckily my parents found out soon and were very nice about it. So when I stopped, it made her really mad. I would not let her copy from my exam papers like before. I won a prize in school for painting and she could not take it anymore. When we met in rickshaw that day, Thwack! I was slapped. Once again, drank up my tears silently. I changed my school after that year. After the eating lunch alone period of 4 months, I found some nice people I could be friends with. They were all a mixture of personalities, but there were a couple who came to meet me and invited me back to their places on my last day in A’bad. I will remember their sweetness always.

It was much better in Indore. I went to St. Raphaels school, and made a couple of friends who I still talk to, and not just on Facebook.

The worst school I went to has been in Pune. Its very hard to become friends with teenage girls when their groups are set since childhood. 9th and 10th were hard. A new girl coming in and getting one of top three ranks of my class, quickly becoming her English teacher’s favorite, can lead to craziness! I had a breakdown after my prelims for 10th boards and I had done really bad. My parents spoke to me all night about it and then I buckled up. I did rather good in my boards and topped my class. The best feeling was to see my parents beaming. I don’t want to even talk about my 12th boards, cuz I have no idea what had gotten into me(*rolling eyes*). I did bad in boards and average in CET. Somehow managed to get into Engineering. After 2 years of hiccups, last 2 years were the most wonderful years of my life, where I made the best friends that I love even today. I shall write about those cartoons too some day.

With so many transfers, so many new schools, somewhere I became very lonely. The experiences that I had, made me an introvert. St. Raphaels helped me come out of my shell in many ways. I credit that school for my confidence now. Since I have no siblings, and barely had friends, my support was my parents. Whatever was happening in school, I could not stand up for myself. So all that frustration would come out at home. I would have tantrums, screaming fits, crying, falling sick. My dad is the sweetest, most pavam guy. I hate the way I get angry at him. I seriously do! L Also, it led to a lot of insecurities, a feeling of discontent, and overall lack of patience. That unfortunately leads to many fit of rages with the BF also. HE is still with me and wants to be with me forever(God bless his heart!). He tries to handle with me with utmost patience. But I seem to be testing it. I feel extremely bad about this behavior. I know I am wrong. I am trying to control it. But the situations that arose in San Diego after I got here and specially in my 2nd year here, are making it extremely hard. I wish I find a way to kill this demon inside me.

This has been a loooooong post. But I had to write it down at one point or the other. Maybe it will lead to a closure of all the issues in my childhood. I hope jotting it down will lead to a new me. An improved me.