Tuesday, March 29, 2016


By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, March 29, 2016

When I was in school, I was a geek of all orders. I took an active participation in crafts, poetry, science clubs, literary contests, and of course, my favourite - Philately, Library clubs. In spite of being a nimble kid and a participant in almost anything, I was still that weird, geeky and often the ugly South Indian kid from III (A). It did not matter much then. I mean, what would an eight year old know of labels and the baggage they come along with? Well, pretty much nothing.

As I grew older and moved to high school, not much has changed. I was still a good student. I was still fetching good grades. I was still taking part in myriad contests and stuff. But I was still the not so attractive high school girl. I was barely thirteen and this issue did seem to trouble me a great deal. My unruly curls were barely tamed and I had no absolute interest in anything but reading and sketching. I was painfully skinny but I could easily lose track of time, and forego dinner while immersing myself in a project that I thought was highly important. Sure, I did want to be the prettiest girl, but I also wanted to be one at my accord. You know, be a part of Philately club and still be seen as a girl who was gorgeous by all standards. Unfortunately, those standards weren't met. Being the poster child of anxiety, I fretted upon things like this and stayed up late several nights crying over my looks.

I don't know what transpires between primary school and high school, but in high school, everyone turns into delinquents, slowly adjusting to that abominable attitude. Trying to please the world by hurting themselves or trying to please themselves by hurting the world. In due time, I grew older. I transformed. And owing to the transformation, I was subjected to garbage like 'Wow! You look pretty now.' 'How did you change so much?' 'What a splendid transformation!' 'Are you the same girl?' Boys who thought I was a lost case in high school soon turned into men who tried to win my attention. The ball was finally in my court. However, this wasn't high school and I had a bad case of attention disorder. From 'Boys don't like nerds like you' to 'You cannot keep a man', I have been labelled more often than required. And sometimes, for no reason whatsoever. It troubles me even to this day, but hey, I've been developing some thick skin these days.

I label people too. Based on their actions. Based on how they deal with their fellow human beings. Hell, even with animals. I am not sure if it's alright to label people even on that but I am sure as hell that it's better than labeling people based on what they do not do.

On interacting with my younger cousins these days, I happen to realize that nothing much has changed. High school still does seem like a place where geeks remain to be treated as smart yet ugly people while the good looking ones are treated as the dumb ones. Labels, I tell you! Hard to change. Hard to pet. They come in all sizes, shapes, and colours. Right from you to the stranger sharing your seat in a local bus, we all have been labelled (often nastily) at several stages of our life.

Clearly, it's no fun.
We all still do it and go overboard with it.

What we don't realize is that they don't have to define us. We are not things that come in boxes with tags and labels. We could be a lot of things, but a mere label? Well, that's not what we are made for!


Anonymous said...

Lol! I completely agree. “Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody. I really like ur writing style and ur poems are amazing! I am ur new fan. Keep writing like this.

-A Random guy

Sunaina Patnaik on 8 Apr 2016, 10:49:00 said...

@Anonymous: Thank you!


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