In our eighth standard our class teacher came up with an ingenious idea to promote interaction in our class. Until that point we were used to sitting with pre-decided mostly same gender people, girls were just used to sitting with other girls and guys with other guys. Those were the times when sports class used to look like guys doing their own thing and girls huddled under tree shade and talking(instead of playing something). Our teacher made us sit one guy paired with one girl on random basis. To me it was the worst announcement ever, full of discomfort because of the boy. Within first few weeks the guy who sat with me started doing lovey dovey caring gestures and to me it was just confusing because I didn’t fully understand what was going on. I wasn’t completely clueless either but puberty was yet to hit so I could understand partially.

I didn’t feel the same way at all and didn’t entertain him. When that didn’t work I just stopped talking to him. One day I was standing outside my house on a warm afternoon, I saw a classmate of mine ,who used to live nearby, walking towards me. He had something in his hands. He came and said, “[Name Hidden] has given this gift for you”. It felt like earth slipped from under my feel. My family was such that to them it would have been unthinkable. My mind raced “what would I tell at home? will they believe me? what the hell is even going on. God why did you do this to me”. It may sound absurd to some readers but in my family it was just unacceptable. we weren’t supposed to even talk to boys. I was not all that interested in talking to them either up until that point. 

Soon enough everyone got to know. I told them someone who is bothering me at school has given this and went upstairs to my room not knowing if anyone believed me. I started crying in my room having self talk that was mostly about being angry with God for punishing me without any reason. Next few days environment at home was different to say the least. My parents decided that the ‘environment of our school is just shameful.’ “We are not going to keep our children in such place”. “its just a bad influence”. They went to the class teacher in one of parent teacher meetings and pointed it out. Teacher tried telling that boy is also just a kid and she will make him understand but my mother wasn’t satisfied. Very next year they pulled me out of that school because of that small incident. To me it was traumatic as I lost all my friends without any fault of my own.

Parents really need to realize that at such tender age their words and behavior around the child if forming their character till later stage. In next two years I was so scared of them that in my new school I didn’t speak to any boy for the most part. I just didn’t want to face the same heat and became the quiet ,withdrawn girl. Before this incident I was far more outgoing and used to talk to people. I was still shy but I wasn’t scared of talking to people regardless of gender. I really feel that parents sometimes lack the basic parenting skills and end up doing lot of damage without realizing it.

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