It's said that food on others' plates always seems tastier...and I learnt this through experience. I have a lot of memories from college, but there was one particular incident that changed my life forever.
There was a girl in my class, Samiksha. She was seemingly almost perfect - a topper in academics, an athlete (state level badminton player) and an active debater and quiz contestant. To add to her immense talent were her flawless looks, a wonderful family, the most good looking and popular (and rich) boyfriend. My goodness! I used to wonder how can God be so partial in giving so much to one person and leaving others (I mean me, of course) in despair. It wasn't that I was good for nothing! I was okay in academics and had a crazy passion for writing; however, I never tried to take it any further. I had a few admirers as well, but I never received extravagant compliments even when I thought I was at my best that day. Samiksha, on the other hand, was effortlessly beautiful and would be overloaded with compliments from every corner of the world. My secret crush on her boyfriend Anshuman made it even worse. Before I knew, this inferiority complex turned into jealousy.
She was never my close friend, but we would exchange greetings for sure. But gradually I just cut off all connection from her and blocked her on Facebook and WhatsApp - out of my growing jealousy. I tried hard to get higher marks than her, but somehow that never worked. I copied her hairstyle and dressing sense, but something that would flawless on her would look just about okay on me. I even tried to message her boyfriend on Facebook every now and then and joined the same committee as him, just to be more noticeable for him. I hated her even though she was as sweet to me as she was to all others.
I thought I would hate her forever until one day, after class hours, I found her in the department washroom, sobbing uncontrollably. I was the only one present there and could easily recognise her voice. I was hesitant at first, but decided to knock on the door. She stopped crying and opened the door after sometime. After she calmed down a bit she began narrating her story. What I heard that day turned my life around 180 degree.
She told me that her parents were going to get divorced soon. They had never been a happy couple and she had grown up watching them fight like cats and dogs. Moreover, her boyfriend (who was supposedly a dream boy and Mr Right ) had also been cheating on her for a long time. She had chosen to stay silent hoping he would change someday, but that had turned out to be an entirely false hope. He took her for granted and abused her mentally and even physically.
She shocked me more with every word she spoke. She told me that she had no close friends. It was hard to believe that this seemingly perfect girl had no close friends, but probably the reason behind that was people like me who’d hated her for being smart and nice.
How wrong I had been all this time! I had wasted so many wonderful years of my life demoralising myself for no reason. I never realised how blessed I actually was. And I felt bad for being so mean to her and I promised her that she could come to me whenever she needed a friend and also advised her to dump that jerk right away.
Since then, I started focusing on my life rather than hers. I enrolled my name in the editorial committee of the college magazine and also won awards for outstanding work. I got a call from a writing agency which my college was associated with and got my first income for writing a bestselling article for that agency's magazine. I was congratulated by all my classmates, seniors, juniors and professors as well.
I stopped copying Samiksha’s style too. I was comfortable in my old clothes and frizzy, curly hair and didn't crave her silky straight locks any longer. I was myself again - this time, a better me. I learnt that confidence is the best makeup a girl can wear and being imperfect is not bad at all.
Many years have been passed since then. Samiksha is still a close friend and I am a successful, content and happier person. Not perfect, but myself all the same. :-)
*Names changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Mar 22, 2016