My School Life was Tough, but…

My School Life was Tough, but…

This is the worst part- going back to that hostel. It’s uncomfortable.

You see, I’m 11 years old and live in a remote village. There aren’t any good schools nearby, so my father enrolled me in one in the nearest town. It’s 13 km away, and there are no school buses from my village. That’s why I have to stay in a hostel there.

Going to school is easy now, but everything else is tough. Turns out hostel life is hard. The food is dull, the rules are strict, and the instructors are scary, always ready to punish for any mistake.

If that’s not bad enough, we hostellers aren’t allowed to step outside the hostel. And there’s no one to take care of me. I have to do tasks like washing my dishes, cleaning my clothes and shoes, and brooming and mopping the floor in my room.

It is harsh. Like an army camp. The only difference is we aren’t preparing for any battle but exams.

I miss the comfort of my home. My father. My mother. My grandma. The tasty food. The freedom to wake up late, go to bed late, shout out loud, go anywhere, do anything. I miss all of that when I’m at the hostel.

But there’s one good thing – Sundays at home. That’s why I eagerly wait for Sundays. It’s the best. But guess what? It’s also the worst. Because the next day, early in the morning, I have to go back to the hostel.

And that transition from heaven to hell isn’t good. And although I try to avoid thinking about the hostel and school on Sundays, my mind doesn’t help. It makes me miserable. As if it’s the last day of my life.

And today is one of those days. It’s Sunday, I’m at home, and I’ll be going to the hostel tomorrow. And right now, the whole world seems gloomy. Life is uncomfortable.

“Saurav, come downstairs!” That’s my grandma calling. She’s in her seventies. I love her because she makes tasty food for me.

I go to her, and she says in her weak voice, “I won’t live after you go to the hostel tomorrow.”

“What?” I don’t get her.

“My time is up. I’ve got to go back to where I came from,” she says, gathering all her energy.

Then, the scene dissolves. I don’t know how. As if I’m watching a movie.

Now I’m in another place, the sky is pink here. And I begin to feel extra bad that I’m seeing grandma for the last time. As if the thought of going to the hostel tomorrow isn’t enough.

It’s difficult to breathe; the surroundings suddenly become black and white. I struggle to stand straight as if someone has placed a 50 kg boulder on my shoulder. Why it has to be so tough? So uncomfortable?

And why the hell is this surrounding dissolving. And this harsh noise… I woke up with a start. The noise came from my alarm clock.

The gloomy feeling hadn’t worn off. I still felt bad, as if I had to go to the hostel. Thank God it was a dream. But everything I saw was true. I felt like that when I was in the hostel 12 years ago.

However, the only thing that didn’t happen was the grandma incident. She didn’t say anything like that in reality. And she is still alive, healthy. And it has been 7 years since I got out of that hostel.

Whatever, I left my bed, went downstairs, carrying that gloomy feeling. It was 4 am, the sky still dark and star-lit. It was cold, everyone asleep. So silent I could hear my footsteps. I came back from the washroom and something hit me.

And I stood still in the courtyard.

It was a thought. An answer.

It seemed someone had just switched off time. Everything stood still.

Then, my face lit up with a broad smile. My heart started racing.

I got it! I’ve been looking for this answer for a long time.

Discomfort. Facing my fears. Doing tough things. That’s the answer.

This is what made me strong in those hostel days. It is why I not only survived those 6 years in that hostel but began to enjoy it. It is why, in the last 2 years there, I had some of the best moments of my life.

The last 2 years were epic. I was already good at academics. But now, I turned myself from a nerd to a backbencher. Who enjoyed breaking the rules. And I became popular among my friends, everyone began to know me in school.

I did things I never thought I could, like delivering a speech at the morning assembly. The school principal began to praise me, and teachers who didn’t even know me came to tell me how great I was. I took part in competitions, went on school trips, and represented my school in events. I wasn’t that scared kid anymore. I became a badass.

That’s not the end. I had incredibly fun moments with my best friends, and thinking about them makes me want to go back and relive those days. It was adventurous. I was living my life. I was alive.

But now, standing in the courtyard under the dark sky, I am far from alive. And this has been my story for the last 2 years. Not achieving my goals, not happy with my lifestyle. Compromising, wasting time, getting distracted, procrastinating. Too comfortable. It’s like I lost that spark.

The answer? I need to be okay with discomfort again. I need to do things I am scared of, that are tough, that sucks. Just like old times. That’s the only thing I can bet on. Because I have lived that.

Hey, I’m Saurav, a freelance copywriter!

Saurav Mandal

I write research-based website copy for solopreneurs and D2C brands. This brings more website visitors and converts them into loyal customers.

I’ve been doing it for 2.5 years, so you can bet I know my stuff. If you also want to grow your brand, here’s how I can help you.

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