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IDENTITY AS A MONITOR

ARATRIKA  CHAKRABORTY

The Aadhar Card is the primary identification document in India. I had an Aadhar card which specified my identity but when I first joined high school, I began to feel lost of my true identity. The question ‘Who am I?’ always bothered me and I always tried to create an identity of my own.
Throughout middle school I had always been a student who liked to mind her own business. I had a very selective group of friends and I could not interact with people who did not think like me. I was not popular like many others in my batch and when monitor voting took place in Class X, I did not secure a single vote. Monitors were chosen on the basis of votes given by the student. The students were allowed to cast one vote for the persons whom they thought were fit to be a monitor. I used to think that I am someone who has a personality everyone likes. I used to think that I did not have many friends because of my own choice and not that other girls did not want to become my friend. However, when I did not receive a single vote in the monitor elections, I began to question whether I am a person whom people cannot trust with leadership duties.
In class XI, everyone was shuffled according to their respective stream of subjects. I chose humanities and since I had not interacted with many other girls of my batch during my school life, I felt that I was in a totally different environment full of strangers. Monitor voting was supposed to take place once again in class XII and the most enterprising and popular student would be elected as the school captain. Everyone got busy in class XI to gain popularity for class XII. Some girls began to throw big parties and invited many students from the batch, others began to talk politely with everyone they saw, some started to assist teachers in various small chores and others did not do anything at all.
I decided that I am going to rectify my identity and become a monitor. I decided to earn popularity and display my skills as a good leader. There was one girl in my batch called Riddhima. She was a prolific debater and had won several accolades for the school throughout her career as a student from class VIII to X. Everyone looked up to her and wanted to be her friend. She was extremely outspoken and confident and had a charismatic personality. Many said that she would become our school captain.
I looked up to Riddhima as well and often I questioned that what was the trait that she had which I lacked? Riddhima used to tie a ponytail on the right side of her head and apply a rose flavoured perfume when she came to school. Seeing Riddhima, I stopped making a bun in my hair and began to tie a ponytail on the right side of my hair. I had spent about thirty minutes in a shop one day smelling different perfumes, but I could not find the fragrance Riddhima used. I thought that everyone would appreciate this change in me and more people would crave to become my friend but I was wrong. Riddhima spoke jovially to everyone and so, many liked to talk to her. I was an introvert by nature and did not know how to speak freely and exuberantly. However, I tried to talk with many of the girls in my batch I had never spoken to before. I tried to laugh and pat everyone’s shoulders while speaking but, I only created an awkward situation for myself and the person with whom I was speaking with. Perhaps the attempts to emulate Riddhima had deprived me of the ability to have a healthy conversation with someone. I did not gain popularity and I questioned myself that what was not there in my identity which could make me popular.
There was another girl in my batch called Avni. She had received the highest number of votes in the prefect voting in class X. The teachers praised her always saying that she had terrific leadership skills. I observed that Avni had a firm way of working with her peers that made everybody obey her. Whether it was a group assignment or a day of cleaning the classroom, Avni’s leadership skills always brought success. She never became agitated made her peers do a given task within a deadline set by her. I decided to emulate Avni’s leadership skills. All the time I would speak firmly with my classmates. We were once given an assignment by our teacher to decorate the soft boards in the class. I tried to allot various tasks to everyone and commanded them to decorate the class in the way I told them to. However nobody listened to me. Everyone formed little groups and did the work among themselves and my leadership was treated as dirt which had to be removed as soon as possible. Many of the friends I already had started distancing themselves from me saying that I always tried to be too smart and I was very rude. I did not gain popularity but I only gained haters in this attempt. It puzzled me to think that what was that in my identity which did not match with Avni.
I did not become a prefect in class XII. Avni became a prefect and Riddhima became the school captain. I realized that my identity turned out to be something which can only emulate others unsuccessfully. I often questioned myself thinking as to what was that one unique positive aspect that I had which would make me different from others and make others look up to me? I often question myself as to what is my identity but I have found no answer.


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