It was my usual day to college and I had to catch my usual bus number eleven at 8.30. It was the time I thought of my future. It was the time I enjoyed the most, the bus ride to and fro to college and back. I watched the world scurry around and I seemed to be the most wealthy with lots of time on hand. I was a Grad student of English Literature in a Government college (in India except for a few premier institutes most of the Govt. colleges in tier two and three cities are impoverished in terms of facilities). I was one of the toppers in class and fairly had anything to worry about at all, except for the fact that my dad was almost broke and I could not afford to attend an elite institute. I did not mind as far as I got to study. I tutored school dropouts for my expenses and I was happy, as I dreamed a lot. I was a dreamer and was super confident about myself being a career woman some day. That was a day I will remember because that's when I understood that being educated, confident and beautiful with devil may care attitude can be killed with an inferiority complex. A minor dose of it is more than lethal.
I had this friend who would follow me wherever I went. She was from a trading community and always had enough pocket money to spend on whatever she fancied. Whereas I never had pockets to carry money( another issue altogether...dint need it either as I dint spend on cosmetics...my tom-boyishness considered it all silly) She would grab every chance to snub me and have her way. She would sneak away with her boyfriend and expect me to protect her for which er gratitude is still pending. One day she planned going to our classmate's wedding and asked me to join her. I told her that it was a school day and I dint want to miss classes. But she convinced me finally. You know girls...they start about the dress. So to encourage her I said we should wear something grand...out of sheer enthusiasm. At that point pat came the snub..."What do you have? You have nothing." All you got is a denim skirt with four or five tops to go with it and you have been wearing them for years. Tears stung my eyes and at that very moment the bus arrived before anyone could see my tears I had to clamor into the crowded bus with my friend.
I mean I knew that.... and I knew I could not afford a dress but I did not realize it was important. I thought going to a longtime friend's wedding and meeting some school friends was more significant. I had not ruminated on what people would think of what I wear. My friend's unruly comment shocked me and I felt destroyed. I told my mother about it and she promised me a dress as if that would make things better. I had to fight my own battles. Now I understood what peer pressure was. I suddenly understood why I did not have many friends. That was because I did not give into peer pressure. After many days of pondering the incident still had its effect but it helped me realize that I was different... unique. I was mature way beyond my years as I understood life's problems at its worst. Years later , I am now proud that I did things my way and have been instrumental in my family's well being . I also learnt a major lesson that day, to keep toxic people at an arm's length.
Guess what... I still have the denim skirt... and that friend of mine is still a friend(well she is a changed woman now). I think that's an achievement. So my young friends keep your head high no matter what, enjoy your student days and learn from your inconveniences.
So now I am all set out to send the denim skirt to that friend of mine for a Ya Ya Sisterhood of the traveling skirt 😉😉😉- style and would wait for its return.