I was a child who was bullied in high school years. I was body-shamed and called names, which weren’t very pleasant. This is the reason I never liked school. In fact, I hated it. I was never able to make friends at school due to this reason. The people that I thought were my friends were the ones to go behind my back and talk shit about me with others. I saw people crying on our farewell day about how school is coming to an end but all that I could think of was that this was finally going to get over. The most toxic years of my life were coming to an end. All that I hoped was for college to be different than my school. I hoped to make friends who will stay by my side. I hoped to not be afraid to go to college.
And then the day came, my first day at college. Thankfully, I was decent at academics so I managed to get into a good college at Delhi University – Maitreyi. I always had an interest in acting and drama but I wasn’t able to pursue it during my school time because I never gathered the courage to do something apart from studies due to the fear of being made fun of. So, I had already decided that I was going to join my college’s theatre society. I gave the auditions and I got through. I saw my name on the list of students who got selected and that was a day I can’t forget. I couldn’t be happier because I thought something is actually going my way. I easily gelled up with my batch mates and I thought I had found my family. The name of my drama society was Abhivyakti.
Being a part of a drama society means that you have to say goodbye to your classes. You need to practice day and night and to me that was never a problem because I was at a place where I thought I belonged. I was happy.
I made some close friends in the society and I thought to myself that yes, these were the people who were missing in my life and I finally had them. But my happiness didn’t last long. Everything was going well between us and all of a sudden, my friends or the people who I thought were my friends started giving me a cold behavior without explaining what was the problem. I kept on asking them about it and it turns out that due to some misunderstanding and miscommunication, they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. It was like school for me all over again. But at least no one was talking shit about me on my back, I thought to myself, but little did I know about the revelation that was going to happen to me in my final year of college where I got to know about the crap ‘my so called friends’ went around telling everybody in the society. Even though it was a story from two years back but it broke my heart.
Anyway, coming back to my first year of college. After the fight I had with my friends, I still tried to make new ones in the society. I tried and I tried but I wasn’t successful. Everybody talked to me but that was only because we had to work together. I couldn’t call any of them to be my friends. My first year in the dramatics society went extremely lonely. The exact same things were happening which I had feared. I had already decided that I would quit the society in my second year of college but then I met Aashish. It was 27th March, 2017, the last fest of the season at Keshav Mahavidyalaya where I first saw Aashish. Aashish was a member of CVS’ drama society. I found him to be extremely cute. I went back home and looked him up on Instagram. He followed me back within 10 minutes and we started talking. I started to feel happy again. He made me feel alive and we eventually started dating. He was the only friend that I had and that was enough for me. I decided to continue with my drama society as well because I thought it would keep me close to Aashish and we would be able to spend time together which wouldn’t have been possible if I had quit. 6 months of my second year also went in a similar way without having any friends in the society. I used to go to college, work and come back home. After 6 months, somehow I was able to bond with 2 of my batch mates and the rest of the year went well with them on my side. I started to think that yes, now it’s my time. I have an amazing boyfriend and 2 very good friends.
During these 2 years of my college, I had a lot of breakdowns and panic attacks. I didn’t know what they were then but later Aashish made me realize that I had been suffering from depression. I tried to contemplate over it a bit and I realized that I had been in depression for 5 years. It all started due to the bullying I faced in school and it just kept on increasing day by day. Aashish wanted me to see a therapist but I remained in denial thinking that I will be fine on my own. All I wanted was him to be by my side. But my situation didn’t improve, my mental health just kept deteriorating with more and more anxiety attacks. I made work my escape. I tried to work for long hours so that I don’t get occupied in my thoughts. It definitely helped but it was only a short term remedy.
Coming to my final year of college, work kept on increasing and my mental health kept worsening. We were just 6 batch mates by my third year and we all got really close till a point came where we got into a big fight with 2 of them due to workplace conflicts. So, by the end of my third year, 4 of us were close but I never thought I could be very close to them because the 3 of them had been friends since first year of college and I had barely been friends with them for 5 months. But there was one junior of mine whom I connected with and I loved her to the core. To my surprise, she loved me back. Her name is Ananya and she is my kid and I love her.
Finally I graduated, I graduated happily. I even won the all-rounder student award which is given to one person in the entire college. I was extremely happy and content. I had my share of ups and downs in college but at the end, good people were the ones who stayed by my side. College always was about Abhivyakti to me. Abhivyakti taught me to be confident, to take a stand for myself and to stand for the right. Because of all the confidence that Abhivyakti gave me and the talented person that I am of course, I was able to intern with an amazing organization named Meddowhere I joined as a full time employee post-graduation. Saurabh Kochhar, CEO-Meddo made my college life a teensy bit better by being the best boss and mentor and today after 2 years of knowing him, I can call him my best friend. He made me realize that corporates can be fun too if you’re at the right organization. I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have gotten the chance to work so closely with him at such an early stage of my career. He has taught me a lot, professionally and personally and the journey is never ending.
I can’t thank Abhivyakti enough for giving me the strength to stand-up on my feet and for blessing me with Aashish. And to my surprise, I did stay in touch with my batch mates post-graduation and we have grown so close in this COVID lockdown. Their names are Sharanya and Rashmi. I can’t live without them. They are my family.
So yes, my college story isn’t very conventional but isn’t it that what makes it great?
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