You’re woken up by the galling sound of your alarm. It’s 7 a.m. Time to get ready for another day at school. You get out of bed hoping against hope that today would be a better day than yesterday, or well, pretty much any day.
After having a hearty breakfast cooked by your mom, you wait outside for your school bus. It arrives right at 7:45, as always and with it comes the chattering noise of every student in the neighbourhood. You drag yourself onto the bus and look up to notice your everyday view.
You see the kid who racially abused you yesterday for having a dark skin tone. You see the girl who made fun of you for having a peculiar accent. You see the group of friends who bruised you up pretty fine the day before. Did you want to tell on them? Of course you did. Did you want to abuse them back? Yes, absolutely. Did you want to drag their mangled carcasses down to hell and sell them to Satan himself? Well, not the exact same words but, yeah. Then why didn’t you?
Why didn’t you stand up for yourself? Why did you chicken out every time you felt like punching them in the face? Oh right, you were alone. You knew they wouldn’t spare you a moment’s peace if you told on them and you didn’t want to be the kid who tells on others! School was pretty much the same just with the added partiality of the teachers.
The only ray of happiness in your life is your mom. Your dad died during service years back and your family was forced to shift to an unsafe neighbourhood due to financial difficulties. Your mom works two jobs a day just so she can fill your stomach and pay the school tuition. She has always stuck by your side and you don’t want to trouble her with the whole school deal.
You are the first on the bus ride home, eagerly waiting for the conductor to call you forward to let you know your stop has arrived. Even though you know your mum is at work and you won’t see her until after dinner time, you just want to get away from school. You make a little lunch for yourself and sit down to finish your homework.
Since you still haven’t made any friends, all you did today afternoon was roam the streets. You will be asleep when your mom comes home. She puts a blanket around you like every other time and that will be the first time you smile that day.
They say that the teenage years are the best years of your life but that isn’t true for everyone. Children are discriminated against in schools by their peers. Some are pressurized at home to study a lot and become engineers or doctors even though they don’t want to. Some are lucky to have their talents recognized early which at least gives them a fighting chance in this competitive world. Some don’t even get an education and end up working in factories and mills to help their families. Some survive and grow because they have the will and the determination but most don’t and end up in coffins under the ground or flowing away with the currents.
We want to raise revolutionaries and game changers but all we’re doing is weeding out the weak ones and destroying the strong ones. Their lives aren’t as easy as it’s portrayed and with the enormous expectations that rest on the shoulders on this young generation, their lives have turned into a rat race. It might not be true for everyone but it is for the majority.
The thinking is changing. The mindset is evolving, but it’s a slow and gradual process in a fast paced world and honestly, do we have enough time?