Standing alone, on my own

It started on the first day of fifth grade. I was happy since my class hadn’t changed, and all my old friends would be with me. I walked into school excited to start a new year of education. All I found was a cosmic shift. 

I should explain I am a kid who likes things like Science, Maths, History, Technology, English and mostly reading.

Walking into class, I went over to my best friends. Two of them were like me, Nandan and Shalini, who liked science and history. The third was a popular, sporty guy, Tanmay. We talked for a while, but Tanmay didn’t pay much attention. Before we took our seats, he said “Bye nerds” with a sneer. We were taken aback. No one had ever called us nerds, especially Tanmay. I found out why at lunch.

I went out to play a spy game with the rest of my class, which we had always played. When I found my peers, I saw them talking. “Stop being a nerd or a geek, this year we need style.” I saw Chandni telling all the kids who liked studying. “We are tweens now.”

“Yeah, right now we need to be popular.” Tanmay said. “Be sporty or other things.”

I went over to them and asked them with a horrifying look “What are you guys talking about?!”

“Hey nerd guy, glad you could join us. We were saying, get popular now, we are tweens in fifth grade!” They rolled their eyes.

“Not possible, none of us will stop studying or liking Science, Maths or reading etc.” I shouted back, I couldn’t believe what they were saying.

“Ummm… we are… following their lead.” said a nervous Shalini.

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, my anger rising  one of the first times in my life. “Fine. But I won’t.” I stormed off.

“Yeah, I bet by next week you will be begging us to let you join us!” someone called out and others laughed.

I stayed in class. No one was talking to me.

The next day the first prank was played. They put a bucket full of water on top of a windowsill in the boys bathroom and had attached a string to it, the other end on the floor. Seeing the string’s angle, and the bucket, I realised how I would slip on the string and the water would fall on me.

This went on for a month. I wanted to surrender. But I didn’t. I marched to a different drummer. And when you choose a path of learning, something better always comes out. When everyone failed the mid yearly and unit exams, I was the only one to pass with flying colours, while enjoying Table Tennis and  writing novels. The others still went on with popularity, but they stopped troubling me. And I, came out more courageous than ever. All because I went on with my own ideas and didn’t get influenced by the group.

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