I stood outside the principal's office waiting room, leaning on the wall, softly humming to myself.

Students and teachers passed me, giving looks of contempt and curiosity as to what happened. It was an unusual sight in my school to find a student outside the principals office, for my school had the reputation of perfectly disciplined student epitomes ,where hundreds competed to join. Only the best were taken in.

I took a look at the clock in the opposite staff room. It was past twenty minutes since my dad went into my principal's office.He had got permission from his office to be late for work that morning. I was not allowed into class until any of my parent met the principal. I wasn't left with much choice. He frowned, yelled, blamed my poor academic performance and cursed me.

I reluctantly took a peep from the wall I was leaning on, there was a big tinted glass window in the principals office. Even through the tint I could see my principal's anger and disdain for me, I could see my class teacher adding further complaints about me, I could sense my dad's tension and silence as he sat, head slightly bent down.

I have never seen my dad like that...but it didn't kindle a emotion in me,all I could feel was a void as I kept humming to myself. I couldn't figure out what went wrong.

After that day I felt burdened to attend classes. I either slept through the days or stayed wide awake through the nights on the pretense of studying. Not a word entered my head.I failed to recollect and comprehend even the simplest things. I started to panic. I was suddenly afraid of going back to school and facing my teachers. My classmates avoided me, my friends stopped talking to me one by one and murmured mean things behind my back. I stopped vocalizing with everyone.

I felt weak. My body felt sore and ached at various places.Getting up from bed suddenly required a lot of effort. I stayed without eating for days.Chocolates,cakes and ice creams I hogged on later. My grades took a plummet. I was due for the higher secondary board exams in another 2 months.

I heard bits of the conversation as my dad conveyed the messages of his meeting to my anxious mom. Seems likes the school wanted to dispel me as they wanted cent percent results at the end of the board examinations and she was afraid that I would be a blotch mark on the school's name. My dad somehow made them agree to keep me, promising that he would make me improve.

It seemed too late to me for improvisations. Time was slipping fast, All the time as I kept wondering where I went wrong. My parents thought I was going through a "phase of that age". They told me "time will heal" but time only seemed to mock me.

It was the time my board practicals started. I was "the poorest performer of the year" the title my teachers gave me. My physics teacher was eagerly anticipating my helplessness during the practicals. I think I spoiled her enthusiasm as I finished and my external complimented me for "the perfect readings".

As I walked out the room, I saw surprise and something like guilt on her face. I felt something bubble up in my heavy void. I felt good after ages, the heaviness still lingered but it seemed to be lightened. I had managed to study and comprehend what I studied, all because of the dire need to get through the examinations.

The entire next weak, during my examinations I struggled hard to study against the complete refusal of my mind and through feelings of fear and definite failure. It all went in a blur. Till date I can't recollect how I wrote my exams and managed to learn or what I learned. It seems like a gaping hole in my memory.

Next month results were announced. I had scored 75%. I felt secured as my parents brooded over the loss of my medical seat. My family seemed to be driven crazy by my unusual calmness. I didn't care about any college seat at that moment, I was dwelling in the delight that I made it, this was for everyone who thought I wouldn't make it.

I learnt a lot of things that year of my life. That year was a test for my mettle and I made a decent job of it. The ghastly marks on my wrists stand as a testimony for it. Two years down the lane, now I know what went wrong. They had a name for the invisible entity that I was battling within myself.

Depression is what they called my demons and I know they are not just "my demons" in this fast paced and demanding society. I say,Do not listen to them. You are beautiful just the way you are. Do not forget your self-worth amidst all the chaos. Only your self image matters. Let your negatives bring out the strength and productiveness in you. Let the scars be a memory of your many victorious battles. Drown out all the voices and listen to the tranquil music of your inner self.

To win a race, you firstly need to be a part of it. Next time ,when you fall from grace...remember this girls anecdote to the broken heart. I still have to figure out whether "time heals" whatever it may be, I know one thing for sure: you will surpass it.

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