She ran away.


She always felt inadequate. Born into the typical Indian family, where accomplishments in academics were not an expectation but a necessity.  It was not that she was a bad student, she was second in class. The typical model child; obedient and confident, playful yet well behaved.

When saying goodnight, her mother casually asked her about her Maths result. The bile rising up her mouth kept her mute. “The teacher has not checked the answer sheets yet mumma”, she glibly lied. Entering her room, she rushed to the bag pack stowed away under her bed and checked whether the dratted answer sheet was there or not. It was.  55 marks out of 100. The lowest she had ever scored.

The next day after coming back from school she decided to buck up and tell her mother the marks truthfully. “One bad paper wasn’t exactly a career ruining move in class sixth, was it?”, she thought to herself. Boy, was she wrong!

Before the frown lines on her mother’s forehead could be formed completely she felt the resounding slap on her left cheek. The volley of insults that followed fell on deaf ears. She was already crying, confused and hurt. “One paper, ONE MATHS paper where I did not teach you and you get these marks? Disgraceful! Stupid girl!” her mother screamed.

The ranting went on for almost fifteen minutes. Fifteen agonizing and painful minutes. The answer sheet lay torn at her feet, her lunch cold on the table. The certificates and medals adorning the pin-board in her room seemed to be jeering at her. Maths, her one weakness, one enemy. She had had enough.

Her  eleven year old brain wanted to run away. It is said that a child’s thoughts turn into actions immediately. This time they definitely did. After coming back from school the next day, she packed her bag with her favorite clothes and an unread Famous Five and prepared to run. Remembering a scene from an old movie, she scribbled a note ” I love you mom and dad but i hate maths. Sorry!”  and ran away.


26 thoughts on “She ran away.

  1. implications of this struggle for parents to instil importance on education – an a young mind upset they couldnt make their parents proud in this instance. my heart lurched – I remember moments like this – always a good student – the downfall is that you can always be a better student – there comes a lot of pressure with perfection. This was very real. I enjoyed it.


  2. WOW! My heart breaks for this girl. If this was you growing up then I hope that things were healed between you and your parents. Every child is brilliant and beautiful and deserves to have the unconditional love and support of her parents. I LOVE the cartoon you have at the top of your post!


  3. Isn’t it amazing how our minds work at that age? We see things in such sharp contrast – the highs are soaring peaks and the lows are the deepest valleys. We understand the importance of even the smallest things but we focus so much on specific aspects of each event that we miss the fact that everything is tinged in shades of good and bad, and there is always time to turn things around.


    1. Very well put.
      Small incidents leave such deep imprints on young minds. As an adult, we can still put things aside, bury a thought, evade it; not so a child.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.


  4. I can really relate to this, and not just because I was bad at math. Disappointing our parents expectations has long-lasting effects, often negative.

    And I just have to know how this turned out! Will you do a follow up post?


  5. I see the children in my community at the library studying. Very high expectations. I also see how their parents are fiercely protective, attentive. Every parent wants so much for their child. Sometimes we forget failing is part of growing up. Well done.


  6. Everyone is a genius.

    I used that same graphic recently in a blog about my son. It has been on our refrigerator for years.

    While it seems things probably worked out OK for that little girl, I cant’ help but imagine how she might be a little different if she had not been made to feel that way. I work very hard to make sure my boys, especially my youngest, never feel ‘defective.’ Because everyone really is a genius. Even if they make a bad grade on a math test.


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