A week ago I uploaded a photo of mine from school days.
It wasn't just another click-the-browse-button and upload kind of a photo. No. It wasn't.
I had uploaded scores of pics before. But this was one photo that I was shying away from, ever since it was taken. The one pic that made me so conscious of the way I look and the moment the photographer said "smile" I knew it. All that while, I was so dumb that I never ever realised why people were calling me fat. I was under the impression that, calling someone was fat was similar to giving bad names and foul mouthing him and it never ever occurred to me that it could be a mere fact that those kids were calling out.
Few days before that pic was taken, it was raining and while I was returning back from school, crossing the vegetable vendor strewn portion of the "maada veethi", I slipped in front of one such, illegal encroachment of a "shop" who had eaten up half the road starting from the pavement itself. They had thrown wasted vegetables in front of their shop, which was actually middle of the road and being slushy and slippery, I lost balance and fell. The shopkeeper laughed, imagining me to be a pumpkin on uniform slipping on another of its kind. (Now when I actually try to word it out..it does sound funny :D) His laugh echoed on my ears all the way home. That day I swore to myself, never to fall down. I stopped playing games. I avoided anything that might cause me to slip and whenever I did slipped it made me ultra conscious never to repeat it again. Till date whenever I pass by the place where I fell, I remind myself of that incident. The photo that I uploaded was taken for my school ID was always a reminder to me of how shapeless and hapless I was.
And that photo was the triggering point for many things. It was the first ever photo of mine that I could recollect as one for which I consciously posed. Prior to that it was all baby pics. And taking pics were so costly that I carried that same foto on my ID for the next five years. It became a source of such an embarrassment for me in classroom that, kids taller than me used to take the ID from me and place on top of the black board for the entire class to point and laugh. It was then did I realise that I was the fattest kid on the room. It was then did I realise how bulky and obese I was. I went into a shell that remained unbroken till I started my career. From my school days to college to my second job, I would've hardly been on a dozen photos. I avoided camera like plague and felt that it would be an insult to see me on a snap again. That one photo changed my life and I never ever wanted to take it out again and had it hidden all these days.
Last week while I was rummaging through my old box I stumbled on this pic. And all I could see now was a chubby kid staring at me with an angry pose, disguising hurt and silently begging the onlooker not to tease him. I knew I had come a long way from that pic and wanted to test myself by uploading this pic on FB where in I have all those kids from school (note ..I still did not say school friends) in my friends list. I felt like the proverbial lamb that volunteered into slaughterhouse to verify the sharpness of butcher's knife. Though I knew I can handle any comment for that pic, good or bad, the boy on the pic was still shivering inside the 4 walls of the frame.
And now that I've uploaded and people having commented on it, feels like I've climbed over a mountain, having left the slope behind. The impact caused by that pic might still take a while to recover from. Even today, when I fall down, the kid inside, hidden deep within me, resurfaces again. That one fall, taught me never to laugh at anyone, even for a joke when they fall.
Its one thing to dwell on the past and a totally different feel to move on. I am not sure where I am currently. But from here I can still see the path that I've crossed over.
Miles to go still...miles to go.