Joining a boarding school at 5 years of age was a painful experience. The language was new to me. I knew only Hindi and Odiya at that time. It looked like a whole new world. Life suddenly changed, and I was forced to adapt to it. The most painful part was when I went home for summer vacation after completing my first grade, I couldn’t recognise my mom! On the other hand, my sisters couldn’t remember me, and I couldn’t recognise them (my brother was studying in another school in Odisha then).
I remember I used to be afraid of a few teachers. No matter how much I loved their subject, their presence always sucked out every little excitement. Though I am not a timid person, they made me feel small, good for nothing and useless. They were the only reason I wanted to run away or bunk classes.
Despite all those bitter times, I had some of the most beautiful experiences too. During the quarterly and half yearly holidays, we visited places, went out for treks, learnt cycling and enjoyed good food.
In addition, there were teachers who won my heart. I liked all my first-grade teachers, whether they taught Hindi, Math, English or Art. There was one particular teacher who liked me. She was the one who taught me to dance. I am grateful to her. There were four others in my senior years: Hindi, Botany, Zoology and Physics teachers. I still remember the way they encouraged, taught, went an extra mile and showed me I could look up to them.
I also got many friends in the process. Most of us were together for more than ten years, while others stayed only for a year or two, but the friendship we share is beautiful. The memories of wake up calls (songs), Sunday evening walks, late-night talks, dance practices, having crushes, sports days, Christmas functions and feasts, etc. always make me happy.
Growing up in a boarding school, I did have bitter and sweet days; however, when I weigh them both, the sweet days outweigh the bitter ones. Thus, no matter how bitter or sad those few moments were, I don’t feel bitter anymore.
Our lives are like this. We experience both bitter and sweet moments. Some situations are not only bitter but also painful and overwhelming, but we cannot give up on life, can we? This pain will pass soon, and there will be time to laugh, love and live. However, for this, we need to choose what we hold on to.
Are we holding on to the painful and hurting experiences? Or are we willing to cherish the good memories and move on in life? When we choose to hold on to the good times and leave the sad and bitter times behind, we can live life to the fullest.
Let’s keep on the sunny side
And hold on to what’s good in life
For it will give us strength to stay
Hopeful every single day.