March 17, 2017

Trying to fit in..


It was the year 93-94. I was in my Tenth Standard. Our school used to take kids on an excursion once a year. Most of them were one-day trips which were more like a picnic than a tour in itself. The day trips cost around Rs.30-Rs.35. It might look like a meager amount now but back then that was expensive for my family. Every year I begged my mom and she would say we will send you next year. Year after year, I kept waiting for the next one to arrive. Finally, I was in my 10th grade and that was the last year of school. That year the school was taking us to Hyderabad for a couple of days and the cost was Rs.100. I was quite keen on going but very apprehensive in asking mom as the cost was triple the usual price. However, I let my intentions and she agreed to send me that year.

The trip was nothing fancy. No first class train or hi-tech buses. Our school had around five school buses and all the students were loaded into a bus with 2-3 teachers to accompany. The bus would start around 10.00 pm at one central point and drop us back at the same place a couple of days later. So, why am I telling all this? Ah!! Parents were dropping their kids off on two wheelers mostly and the affluent in cars which were a few in number in those days. 

Coming to me, mom was single then. Mom couldn't come to drop me because she had to close her tailoring shop and had to go home late. I think she didn't come as it would be hard to find a rickshaw back home at that hour. She arranged a guy who worked with her to drop me at the location. So, how was he to drop me there? On his bicycle.  And I so didn't want this to happen but I didn't have any option either.

I didn't want my friends to see him nor wanted him to come anywhere near the bus.
I asked him to stop at quite a distance and kept saying, " Anna, I can go. you please leave.. you please leave". We know how responsible this brotherly clan is! Though I insisted I could take care of myself, he deemed that it was his responsibility to not leave me alone and made sure I was with my school people. For some reason, I could never forget that incident. I believe mom gave me an earful later. She must have.

I spent a lot of my childhood not fitting in, in a lot of different ways. 
                                                                                                   ~Wil Wheaton

As a teen, we are not comfortable with things in general at many levels. I believe it is because we want to fit in. Fit in comfortably in the friends' circles, in the society. It feels awkward to be the odd man out. I was already an odd man out for various reasons. For being loud, for not being pretty, for wearing glasses, for being a Tomboy, for being bold, for standing up for myself. For my father coming and meeting us at school which was odd; for fathers came and saw kids at school only for PTI meetings. I didn't fit in for many reasons I cannot fathom.

What reminds me of this trivial incident after 23 years? My son. Another teen in the making. He is embarrassed if I am standing in the queue to drop him off at the movie theater. The other day he said, "Amma no offense but can you stop babying me?"
Perplexed, I asked: "Babying you? Seriously?" He is embarrassed if I play devotional songs while dropping him off at school. He is embarrassed for everything under the sun. Why? Because he is trying to fit in. No matter which year of the century it is, teens are the same. The circumstances could be different, but the Trying To Fit In is the same. Not just teens, don't we all try to fit in in every phase of life?

Fitting in is boring. But it takes you nearly your whole life to work that out.  
                                                                                                                           ~ Clare Balding
Image Courtesy: Clipartfox.com
Quotes: BrainQuotes

22 comments:

  1. SO true!Very well written!:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Soooo True.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved this post, Latha. Thanks for sharing a snapshot of your life. Oh yes, as teens we have so many things we are queasy about including how our parents behave. Luckily the teen in the house hasn't given me this treatment till now but I am sure that day is not far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, dear. That coming from you means a lot :) There are few small things like these that have been like a weight in my heart. Getting them out slowly is a sigh of relief and with these kids it seems like life comes in full circles. :) Am really glad Sid isn't replying back yet. This one sometimes says behaves so coolly and treats me that way too.but again, there are times the teen in his head pops out ..haha

      Delete
  4. Well written Prudhvi 👌.It seems to be a forever affair trying to fit-in and the real problem is Neither can we fit-in nor can we stand out :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Avunu akka...adi aite nijame. We are always hanging in between. Afraid that we won't fit in, and afraid that we won't stand out properly. :)

      Delete
  5. Teenage is a time of uncertainty and trepidation at every step, so this anxiety is understandable. But when adults try to fit in social and even political milieu, it is amusing and sometimes even sad to watch. We have to be confident of who we are, hai na?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree but like the last quote said it takes almost a life time to get that confidence. Now, I don't try very hard to do the fitting in thing :)

      Delete
  6. Straight from the heart.Really Latha so many of us can see shades of our own teenage in your post.We often short-change our own personality and background.Many of our insecurities are ill founded.
    And yes,we all try to fit in.As you say,it carries on generation after generation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You put it in so well, Indu ji. True, it carries on from generation to generation. I know, right? We all want to do better, look better and not feel embarrassed for anything at all.

      Delete
  7. I could relate to this heartfelt post on so many levels. I was just the same as a teenager like you. And after reading your post, I can actually see so many things I did back then in a different light. Indeed, in teenage the anxiety to 'fit in' does make the teens act weirder than they would under the influence of hormones alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happy everyone who read could relate to this post in some way or the other :)I also feel silly at most of the stuff I did back then. True that hormones also play a role in addition to all the other stuff going on. Welcome here and thanks for reading.

      Delete
  8. I guess teenage is the time we actually begin this herculean task of fitting in and that continues throughout our lives

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right, Jaish. Except that we don't really care so much when we are adults. We still do many things with peer pressure which is nothing but trying to fit in again.

      Delete
  9. That made an interesting read, Latha! Good to come back here after ages'
    Teenagers are at a vulnerable age. They are asked to act maturely on one hand but get treated like a kid at home and everywhere! So, I would put down the blame conveniently on possesive parenting. Smiles.
    Thanks for your visit on my space. Loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehehe...I won't deny your thought, di. We as parents put much pressure on the kids as well. We expect them to meet our expectations at all levels and they try to fit in both at home and school. :) Glad having you here as well.

      Delete
  10. brought some memories.. I always thought of myself as a MISFIT..

    plus because i was never good in studies and always going for my sport i had problems making good friends ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) I think most of us feel that way. That we were a misfit in some or the other place. But I thought people who played sports made lot of friends, no?

      Delete