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How Many Of Us Were Treated Equally At School? Should Nepotism In Bollywood Surprise Us?

Posted: June 19, 2020

It was towards the end of my first year, I decided to give up trying to please my teachers. I realised I would always be an outsider in my department.

Trigger warning: Contains details of depression and bullying which may be triggering to survivors.

Over the past few days, I have desperately been trying to keep myself away from social media. But, it is hard to switch off a mind that constantly keeps playing ‘Ikk vaari aa’ and ‘char kadam’ with occasional glimpses of an infectious smile and spontaneity.

Sushant Singh Rajput’s unexpected demise feels like a personal loss for many of the film industry’s self-made artists and talents of the industry. But, the challenging part is distracting my mind from the issues, that trigger my anxiety and relapses.

Do you think you were all ‘equals’ in class?

Suddenly social media is flooded with far too many mental health enthusiasts and psychologists, trying to communicate with patients and make them feel better. But, honestly, is it worth to interact with any of them?

Nepotism, favouritism, and groupism are in our blood. Forget exploitation and power politics, that jeopardises our professional lives! Let’s start with our schools, colleges – the fundamental foundations of our belief system.

Honestly, how many of us have been treated ‘equally’ in the classes? Weren’t there always some favourites? You know, the ones we called the ‘teacher’s pet’? Wasn’t there always a Professor Snape? The one who somehow managed to make you feel undeserving and unworthy?

Unfortunately, we never had the option of kicking any of their subjects (or apparatuses) like Hermione Granger and walking out of classes. We had to sit there every single day and be tormented.

Favouritism is a thing even in school!

I remember there was an English teacher who asked us to perform in her class. She used to paint a new object every day on the student’s wrist if she liked their performances. And she frequently chose my bench-mate, whom I admired a lot. My bench-mate was like a pretty doll, no wonder she was my teacher’s favourite! However, I couldn’t help wonder if our teacher purposely avoided picking the students with darker tones.

I remember myself practicing hard to sing the song, “My heart will go on…” until I was near perfect. My best friend (who had a darker skin tone and was never picked up to perform in the class) said I was brilliant!

Luckily, the day came soon, and the teacher picked me and I gave it my best shot. I wanted to convince her that I felt every word of the Celine Dion song, and it came straight from my heart.

Finally, she asked to stop with a chuckle and said that she thought it was cute. She merely patted me on the back and smiled at me, and that was it – no wrist painting for me. I wondered if it was because I wasn’t pretty enough. Or because I didn’t smell as fresh, compared to my beautiful dreamy friend who came to school in her father’s fashionable vehicle. My best friend whispered to me, “Someday you might be a famous singer.”

Wasn’t college supposed to be different?

I thought college would be different. At least, I was where I always wanted to be. I am good at this, and they chose me based on my capability. Here, no one was going to think I was dumb or unworthy of taking up the science stream. Writing came naturally to me, and even if the college seemed nothing like Karan Johar’s films, I expected it to be somewhat better!

And then I bumped straight into reality. Oh! I didn’t come from a convent school! How on Earth could I be a well-read person? If I had a question in the class, I had to prove myself worthy of even asking questions. I settled down as a small piece of trash in the corner, no longer trying to convince people that I even existed.

“Harry Potter, Sydney Sheldon? You are worse than I thought. Our standards are going down every year!” In my mind, I silently replied, ‘But I have read other stuff too. And not only English literature, but other languages too. Whatever I could access at home or after exchanging with my friend. I was in the science stream, and was barely allowed to take any time for literature. But, I always loved to read and write, even when I had a Maths exam coming up the next day…’

“Go back home, and try to read some romantic literature from the library, if you want to be here by the end of the year. What you read is all trash literature!”

And no matter how much I read up, or how many hours I spent in the three libraries, I was always ‘nearly perfect.’ It was towards the end of my first year, I decided to give up trying to please my teachers. I realised I would always be an outsider in my department, and so attending classes was a waste of time and my spirit.

Shouldn’t we reflect upon ourselves first?

With a long genetic history of depression and mood disorders, I started skipping classes and spending more time at the library. Fortunately, I came across a professor who knew how to bring out the best in me. It was another English teacher, but he noticed something in me, which others didn’t. And here I am, very much alive, writing my own story!

So, I feel, before pointing fingers at Bollywood, it is probably the time to take a look at ourselves. Stop the blame game when we are yet to free our minds from the social evils and stigmas.

I hope the death of a young star brings in some sensitivity and helps people understand that mental health is real and doesn’t just exist in our minds. The attacks are very real, the pain unbearable, and the condition can relapse anytime, anywhere. Unless a person can control the factors that trigger their problem, they can relapse.

It is vital to understand and respect the differences. If you can’t understand them, the least you can do is, withdraw yourself from judging them or jumping to conclusions. This will only hurt them in the long process!

Instead of boycotting the films of an already suffering industry, it is better if we spare some time every day to clear up the filth in our brains. This will especially help if we don’t want to see more innocent deaths!

Picture credits: Pexels

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