Now, you would have bunked college or office at some point in life.
Can you imagine bunking school at the young age of 12? Well, I was quite famous in my school for pulling off this stunt. (Bunking school in 6th Standard) What I’m about to share, I have never shared in a public domain.
The year 1996, two of my friends suggested an idea, lets bunk school and travel across Mumbai. When I heard this for the first time, I freaked out and said no. They kept persisting, and I finally said yes. My friends would come to my house, sharp at 7 am, we would walk till the nearest railway station and then take a train to Borivali.
We always entered the ladies’ compartment as we thought there would be no ticket collector(TC), and even if we get caught, lady TC wouldn’t find us, as we were kids. Then we would walk to the ‘Borivali National Park’ and spend the entire day there and come back home at the right time at 1.10 pm. (when we would reach home post-school). My teacher would ask for a leave note if I would be absent for consecutive days; otherwise, it wasn’t necessary. We started bunking school alternative days.
It was addictive, we were free, and we didn’t have to follow any rules. After months of following this alternative day bunking method, we were bored and thought, why to go alternative days? Let’s bunk school for consecutive days. By this time, we went to Juhu Beach, Marine Drive, and Chor Bazaar. We figured out that we can’t travel broke; we had to generate some funds to travel.
Master Plan: We created a form that showed we were to build a school, and we wanted to collect funds for the same.
We would go to the National park, ask couples to help us with building our school, and people would give us money. We would collect 50-60 Rs. in a day and spend all the money on food. Life was right; I was free and having fun. This was our routine daily, travel to the National park, generate money, and spend all money in a restaurant. We had not gone to school for more than 2 months. We were addicted to this journey.
One fine day, my librarian asked one of my friends to visit my house and get a book from me (I had borrowed one book). He visited my house and asked mom that he wants to talk to me.
“He has gone to school,” replied my mom.
“Aunty, he has not been to school past 2 months.”
Mom got angry and told him, “Looks like you are not going to school, my son goes to school every day.”
“No, Aunty, I’m not lying; he has not been to school for the past 2 months,” he parted with these words.
Now the funny part, I reached home at around 1.10 pm.
Mom asked, “So what did you learn today in school”?
“We were taught history, science, geography, and last class was PT,” I replied.
“Ok, go get your book, I want to see your notes,” said mom.
I wondered why mom is so eager to see my notes; she has never asked it before. I understood something is not right.I knew my stunt was about to get over. I got my science book, and the last notes were dated on Sep. (Nov was the actual month). Mom understood I was lying, and then the thrashing session began. Then Gabbar was back (Dad), and he bashed me too. I was not even given food and was kept in the darkroom for the entire day. I was the talk of the town; all my neighbors were discussing me. Mom called my friend’s parents and informed them about our stunt. My friend’s dad was working abroad, so both didn’t get any thrashings. I was cursing my luck, why they have not been hit, and I had to go through such a harsh punishment.
The next day it was decided that our parents will meet teachers and inform them about our activities. Now my class teacher decided she will involve the principal. The principal called us, and we were asked to kneel in the corridor. The principal spoke with the parents and issued a warning letter for all three. Kevin was in 8th and the eldest among us three, so most of the blame went towards him. After this, other students feared me because of the reputation I carried in the school. This went on for a year. People were carrying negative opinions about me.
My parents faced a lot of taunts from people. My uncle told me that I have no future, and I will fail in life.
I could see how my behavior had bought a lot of shame to my family. As a 12-year-old, it gets challenging to deal with all this. You have a lot of self-doubt about yourself. You start believing that you are not good enough. I wanted to make my parents feel proud of myself. I wanted to be the reason behind their smile.
When I look back after 24 years, I have come a long way. Most of the people who said terrible things about me have vanished. Now they want to be around me. Today I’m an example among my relatives on how to shape one’s life. I’m still on the journey of getting better every day.
One thing I have realised is people will have opinions for you based on your success level. It will keep in changing; if you achieve good things, they will praise you. If something goes wrong, they will talk bad things about you. They will form an opinion based on your success level. Rarely a source that you can rely on. But there are some pillars which are constant like parents, siblings, and wife. They will stand with you, no matter how much you achieve or if you fail in life.
Focus all your energy on building the pillars, and ignore other people’s opinions about you. This will give you freedom from other people. Family is the ultimate support system that will let you fly to achieve your dreams.
This is Shekar signing off; I will see you in the next one.ciao.