Perhaps I am guilty of the crime of “nostalgia-esque”. Nostalgia-esque is not exactly looking at some areas of one’s past through rose-tinted glasses, but looking at areas through a kind of warped vision and drawing inferences that somehow never struck you then.
I was in a long discussion with Ashwin about the various places we’ve lived in in Noida. How life seemed so much simpler then. Of course, a read through my blog posts written at that tine will show that life never was that simple. Or carefree and beautiful. The good ol’ days, weren’t so good. Back in the good ‘ol days, we looked back to the better, ol’er days, which will of course start us off on a path of infinite regression justifying DNA’s statement that the creation of the universe was a very bad move.
Since then, my thoughts have been wandering to my days at Bethany High. The few rare times I get back in touch with anyone from my school is during my birthday, when I receive a birthday wish and reply with a “Thank You. And how are you? Long time no see; etc etc”. I have since found out that amongst all the people in my school and especially my fellows of the batch of 2004 (class 10, that is) are not quite as annoying as I originally perceived. I guess, at the time, I just didn’t want any part of the massive friends phenomenon that was prevalent in school-life throughout the country. I probably still don’t. Bethany High School had a very “un-cool” motto. Uncool because it wasn’t long and poignant and it wasn’t in Latin (unlike the posher, older schools of Bangalore such as Bishop Cottons – estd. 1854). The motto was simple: Trust and Obey. Orwellian? Perhaps. The school song went Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Basically, the school was built on the principle of unquestioning faith and devotion to that venerable Mexican-named, Arab carpenter who the western world loves so much. And perhaps this ethic permeated throughout the school. There was loyalty to one’s gang of friends. Loyalty that went above reason. Thus, if your friend said that David Beckham is a better footballer than Zinedine Zidane and in fact, Zidane couldn’t hit the side of the boat on which his parents emigrated from Algeria and immigrated to France; you agreed. Only your’s truly somehow never was imbibed with such a sense of loyalty. As a consequence, I was left bereft of trust. A condition that lasts until this day.
Insecurity is a terrible feeling, really. It gnaws at your soul, like a rat biting your shoe. I ought to know. Rats have bitten my shoes and I am comprised of many vapid, insecure individuals. I expect people to stab me in the back all too often. I look at things with a level of negativity that borders on a sadist desire for things to be that painful and interpret the worst potential outcome as the implication in any part of a thing I do not understand. The girls of Bethany High School had a very annoying habit of forming a membrane of sorts around the door to the classroom. And everyday, as I walked along a corridor, these groups of girls would giggle. I wondered about what could be the cause of this giggling. If ever I stopped and looked around, trying to figure out why they were making that incredibly irritating sound, they would merely increase their frequency and amplitude. Within no time, I got into the habit of not making eye contact with anyone and walking down the corridor as quickly as I could. I still heard the giggles, but paid no attention to them. Staring at the ground, at the ceiling, in the opposite direction, anything to avoid them.
When I look at my social awkwardness today, I see signs of the 8th-standard boy almost running down the corridor because he thought that everybody was laughing at him. I am known for causing uncomfortable silences. I try to break them myself, but that just prolongs them. I have since tried to master the art of blending into the background, hoping to be ignored. Not very smart, seeing that I am usually the tallest, fattest and even darkest person in the group. (In Delhi, the colour of one’s skin plays a more important role than it should)
This is just a rambling rant. It’s like one of the shaggy dog stories an old man with demetia would tell you.
The summary, I guess, would be this: Bethany High School was a place where I was sent to be educated. I didn’t end up receiving too much. But what I neglected the most were the social skills I was supposed to learn. I am someone who genuinely believes the world is out to get him. Who thinks that the closer someone will come to him, the more brutal their eventual betrayal. If only I could imbibe my alma mater’s slogan, perhaps, I would be a better person. But I guess, even 5 years after my graduation from the green and black corridors of Bethany High, I still think people are laughing at me. I still think people do horrible things to me, without me even being aware of it.
The worst part is, if I do find a single instance of such an event, I guess I will not only be vindicated for being paranoid… I will… Chuck it.