Growing Up! written by jaita sen
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
I was born into a middle-class family where happiness is sought from little things, yet society and relatives matter the most. However, I was brought up to become an exception. This was made possible through my parent’s support and guidance. It has made me what I am today. Growing up brought its own challenges but I was taught to come out of it and create my own identity. Whenever I was confused in my mind, I collected all my thoughts and resorted to writing. Writing gives me solace and solutions to my problems. I write for myself but never thought of writing a blog post until my friend inspired me to do so. So, here I am sharing my story of growing up. Hope some of you will find similarities or will be able to connect and share your story too.
What exactly does growing up mean? Is it just expanding in size from an infant, to a toddler, to a child and finally an adult? Or are there other interpretations of it too? To me, apart from increasing in size, growing up, also has other connotations, such as being financially independent and behaving as my parents would say ‘like an adult’. Amidst these contexts, inadequate attention is paid to equate growing up with attaining well-being, more specifically mental well-being. As much as everything else, I feel receiving and attaining this in large amounts is important in the process of growing up.
I recall being in class five when my science teacher taught us about sowing a seed that will eventually germinate into a small healthy plant. I don’t recollect her exact words but it went something like this - ‘When a seed is sown, first the roots grow, then the shoot and then slowly and steadily it germinates into a plant. It needs proper sunlight, water and air to grow. If the seed does not get any of these three adequately it will die in the mud’. Like most teachers, my teacher also extended this science lesson to one of life’s lessons - ‘if a child is not cared, loved or looked after properly, they too will not be able to germinate into healthy adults’. The incident reminds me that being loved, supported, encouraged and cared for is an important part of growing up with a healthy mind. As, I reflect on my childhood, I remember an unkind incident which took a toll on my mental well-being.
I am born in a family where studying in an English medium school was decided as unfeasible for me by my extended family. They thought that it would be better for me to take admission in a Bengali medium school. However, my parents did not agree, went against them and admitted me to a well reputed English medium school. This did not stop them from passing harsh comments and remarks. These scarred my childhood and continue to play on my mind till date. Here, I will take a moment to thank my parents who were headstrong in sticking to their decision at that time and continue to support me in whatever way they can and in whatever I want to do. My parent’s resistance to their decision inspired me amidst their persistent disapproval of me studying in an English medium school. Like my parents, I too decided to continue to break out of the box that others were trying to fit me into.
After I passed out from school, I secured admission in a reputed English medium college. This surprised the members of my extended family. They tried to calculate how I managed to receive admission there. I knew no number of attempts would get them the right answer because it was my merit, fed by my consistent hard work that got me there. I even remember them discouraging me to take admission there by saying, ‘Ki hobe okhane admission niye. Survive korte parbina ota just school er moton. College life bole kichu thakbena.’ (Why are you taking admission there? You won’t be able to survive. It’s just like a school. You won’t enjoy your college life). Little did they know, that by saying that, they made me more determined to take the admission.
Today I do not regret my decision. I thank my stars for not listening to them on that day. Had I listened to them, I would have missed the ‘golden days’ of my life in College.
On graduating with fairly good marks, I know my extended family members have been bound to accept that whatever I am today is completely on account of my hard work and my parent’s encouragement. Nobody can challenge me on that.
Through this incident in my life, I realized that people may set their level of satisfaction at packing you in a box, only to watch you sit there and not try getting out of it. My advice – break the box and get out because these are their limits of you. So, do not change yourself according to others. Rather be your own self and let the world accept you. In spite of all the negativity, I have stood up to serve them my 'andaaz ki chai'.
If you believe in yourself and trust on your capabilities even with the harsh predictions of those around you, you can still become what you dream to be.
Jaita is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration in Human Resources at the Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management (IISWBM), Kolkata. She can be contacted at email@example.com.