On a hot sunny day, as the crisp breeze of wind hits me, I notice I am out from the game. Everyone in my team give me a dead stare as I walk back to the side. I start observing things, everyone playing in the ground, teachers yelling at students, students trying their best to refresh themselves from three straight hours of studying. Teacher yells her name, “Shreya, it’s your turn now! Jasmeen got out”. Feelings of jealousy and insecurity start filling my mind. She was a perfect kid. Perfect in everything, starting from studies to extracurriculars. She hands me her watch and identity card and goes to play. I never found myself so disturbed.
Kho-Kho is my favorite sport and I and my friend used to play it in physical education class. It is a popular tag sport from India. It is played by teams of twelve nominated players out of fifteen, of which nine enter the field, who try to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team. It is one of the two most popular traditional tag games of the South Asia, the other being Kabaddi. We were playing Kho-Kho that day, I remember, with our teacher being the referee. Everyone starts appreciating her game. I start to divert my mind. I start convincing myself that I play better than her by telling myself that our team is still in the lead. Our team was leading by 4 points. As I move my focus from my insecurities to the game, I see her team is in the lead now. It is leading by 2 points, because of her. Bitterness fill my mind and in anger I throw her watch in the bushes. I knew her watch was really important to her. Her mom gifted her that watch on her recent birthday.
I just replied with a “I don’t know” to all her questions after that. She shared this incident with her mom and I didn’t. When my mother got to know about it from my teacher, she was hurt and didn’t say anything to me. That incident changed my life.
It was my eighteenth birthday on which I realized I did wrong five years back. It was last year of my high school and she was still in my class. My boyfriend gifted me a watch on my eighteenth. That watch always reminded me of that bad memory. I was always the kind of girl who never cared about objects. Objects never mattered to me. What mattered to me the most were relationships. But that watch became important to me, my mother first time spoke to me about that watch incident seeing that watch. She told me she was so hurt by what I did. And that is how I realized my mistake. I learned a new thing that day. No one can be perfect and everyone has flaws which make them beautiful. I learned that one should never compare their lives with others. It was the last day of our high school, and as I talked to Shreya, I told her everything and gifted her the watch that was most important object to me. I told her its importance to me and told her what I did few years back. Ironically, she knew everything and wanted to sort out the misunderstandings too. She bought me a watch too which is still with me. She forgave me and I got back home with a light heart. As my mom talked to me about it she was glad and proud of me.
“It is ten days to my flight,” I though to myself packing that watch with me. Leaving home for college is a huge step, but leaving your home country can be more terrifying. America was my greatest fear and greatest adventure at the same time. Having never travelled to America before, I was fascinated about the culture, people and the country itself. I had a lot of questions in my mind like whether I’ll be able to adjust or not, if I’ll make friends, or what it will be like.
Feelings of loneliness and misery fill up my mind on the day of orientation. I stare at my watch as a tear drops down from the corner of my eye. Being naturally an introvert, I was finding it difficult to make friends. 30th August, 2017, New Students Orientation day, was the hardest for me. 30th August, being my birth date, it was so frustrating to be alone in a country on your birthday. I started recalling the watch incident and how I got over it. That watch always gives me strength to overcome obstacles in my life. Looking at it I realized that a change in attitude was needed again. This was a turning point in my life. I decided to change, and for the better.
I come from India, a country where families are close knit together. Coming from a background like India, where children are always spoon fed and pampered to living and fending for yourself was extremely hard. I learned importance of time and balance in life. During the first weeks, I used to stare at my watch and think a lot about how my life has changed drastically.
Adolescence has pass by me a long time ago. The passage of time was overlooked. For my family, I was still a little girl taking her tentative steps. If you fall, someone is always there to pick you up. Being in that shelter you can never grow up. When that shelter is withdrawn, adulthood happens.