School has been the most eventful part of life till now. From the beginning of school I was never very good at studies, was always late in submitting my assignments and sometimes I would fail in exams. It was not so bad, but over the years the situation in my home worsened and had a direct impact on not only my studies but my interaction with friends, teachers and family. I found myself getting lost. I felt powerless and the more I tried, the more I felt I was slowly fading into oblivion. It seemed that nobody really cared anymore.
I was in class 7 at the time, around 12 or 13 still very young and immature. Many things that happened were way beyond my understanding. When I look back there were so many things that could have been handled differently; but what was I supposed to do, I was a little boy hurled into a world I couldn’t understand.
I should have been asking questions like where are we going to go for the next family vacation; not asking my mother, “where is dad,” or “why are you crying? Why are you not telling me anything? Why are you sending me to all our relatives right now? Is it your fault? Is it my fault? If he loved me, then he wouldn’t have left, right?” Well I had to figure it out for myself and it was hard, all that time spent crying and reflecting and dying a little every day, every minute and every second.
Back to class 7, I was used to my parents fighting and my dad leaving, but he always came back. This time he left when my final exams were around the corner. Of course, he would be back, I kept reassuring myself. He’s my dad and he promised me he would help me prepare. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My mom knew he was not coming back but how could she break a little boy’s already shattered heart? She assured me that whatever was happening would not affect my relationship with my dad. I believed her, because, I wanted it to be true.
So I waited. One day, two days, three weeks, one month and he didn’t show up. I waited like a dog, running to the door whenever the bell rings, almost mad with anxiety, fear, anger, love, faith and all these emotions fighting each other. Most days were either spent with some friend or relative, crying or trying my best to console my mom. I lost what little confidence I had. And finally the exam results came and they didn’t shock anyone. What can you expect?
I have never been the same since that year. I built walls around me so thick it felt like a maze. I became the judge, the warden and the inmate. Yeah it felt good at first because I felt safe and strong. But it was an illusion that came crashing down. I had so much anger building up it became difficult to control. I was getting into multiple fights in school. When I would not be able to take it out in school, it would come out on my mother. I was becoming like my father continuing the cycle of violence.
By now the school had become very worried that I couldn’t control my impulses and sent me for counseling. I hated it but it helped. This cycle continued for about five years. Fights, nervous breakdowns, substance abuse, etc, etc. As I grew older I understood, I learnt from my mistakes and it came down.
Then when I entered class 12, I was a changed person. I don’t really know how but I made my peace. I joined tuition near my school and found a person who supported me in a way I looked for my whole life. My teacher, he told me I mattered and that I could be somebody. He not only told me but showed me the path. He never gave up and most importantly he never let me give up. This is what I needed in my life, a little kick you know. I had been told all my life you have so much potential and you can do well but I had stopped believing.
This time was different, this time I was going to show them. Looking back I can say with confidence that I have shown them! It’s a good feeling to see the smile on my mother’s face and it’s nice to be able to smile again. It might seem like a little thing, but for me it isn’t because I had literally forgotten how to laugh. Over the years I’ve learnt to hide the pain but it comes back every night like it waits the whole day in anticipation of devouring me, building its strength like a parasite.
I never thought I would be happy or get something in life that would make me smile again but that’s the thing about life. It surprises you. Sometimes it’s a good surprise and sometimes it isn’t, but it teaches you a lot and makes you strong. Yes, I can finally say – I feel strong.