Beginning 6th standard, I commuted to school with my brother on an old local bus. Our school was about ten kilometers away from home. We had no alternatives but the privately run transit for the public to get to the school.
The first day of the commute to school by this transit still has vivid memory. The hardship of this daily endeavor shells the excitement of a new journey. The greasy smoke stained my new shirt while adjusting to the collective loud decibels of fellow passengers in the overcrowded bus. Somehow I found a space for myself, crouching in leftover spaces. Unexpected conversations with strangers about politics and science intrigued me as a traveler.
As a child, I was interested, curious, and a sharp learner, and I always wanted to know about everything. I had a mouth full of questions about stars, galaxies, and oceans. I got to meet many people. Some used to be good and some bad. One particular day a small street boy tried to steal a lady’s purse until he got caught and beaten up badly. The same night I told my father about that boy, I asked him why some people are evil and do bad things. He answered me that no one in this world is bad or there is nothing like evil, but the bad thing is time and situation. Time can make anyone anything, and the situation forces us to do something good or bad. Then I realized and learned a lesson that no one is good or bad by birth. The thing which makes a person good or bad is time because the boy by his birth was not a thief, but the situation made him a thief, and in any case, it is better to persevere to achieve anything good and alter the situation. I learned to fight against my bias and not to analyze situations through societal biases.
Every day I learned about new things, met new people from different paths of life, met unique personalities, met new energy, and met new perspectives. It was inspiring because every day I was learning and a beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you and it inspired me and changed my perspective towards life. The bus taught me that life is all about learning and improvising in our daily activities.
The bus was a world itself because everyone was physically presented there, but no one was present there. Their soul, idea, thoughts, and minds searched for something outside the bus. I was one of them. I had profound thoughts about life, people, and nature. I enjoyed those last days of being a child.
I used to try to understand life and saw a big difference between people’s status, religion, intelligence, good, bad, rich, and poor. Watching someone wasting food for ridiculous reasons and seeing someone begging for just one bit was very gruesome. I was developing my cognitive skills, and I tried raising my voice towards any unpleasant activity, but as a shy child, it was very hard for me, but I knew that I had made a decision, and it helped me. I became fearless and strong and mostly found a path to truth. It helped me to be equally active and focused in my school.
My classes used to end up earlier than my brother’s, so I used to get inside the bus and start drawing. Whenever I sat to draw, I used to feel everything was unique on its own even a tiny butterfly seemed to be extra. I pulled the relationship between a child and their mother. How does she take care of her child? How does she bear all the pain and make her child happy? Like all other women, my mother must have faced many problems and obstacles in her life, but she never gave up on me, and it makes me feel special, and I see myself and my mother in every woman and her child. So drawing was always like therapy, which gave me a great new perspective.
Perspective is like a gear that should be shifted because only one perspective is not enough, but when you change the gear and get a new point of view, you can be successful, and from that, I started to see a different world. When I saw through a businessman’s perspective, then life was just about an opportunity to earn more. Still, when I saw through a beggar’s perspective, then life was just about begging and feeding the belly, not more than that while he has the chance to earn on his own, but he does not.
We can see that the business person searches for the opportunity and becomes successful. Still, the beggar does not search for any opportunity and constantly complains about their faith, and opportunity does not come and knock on our door. We need to search for it. If the beggar had searched for an opportunity, he does not have to feel wrong about his faith.
That lesson made me an opportunist, active, sophisticated student in my school and an optimistic person. It also made me realize life is an art. The more you become accomplished or skilled, the more life becomes fascinating, like a beautiful river flowing fearlessly, not knowing about its consequences or destination. I started to write, and the most beautiful thing about writing is that it’s just you and your thoughts. You can write anything you think about, and it made me creative, developed my prioritization skills, and made me focused on my studies and dreams. It inspired me and made me strong enough to choose my path, chase my dreams, and fulfill them. The change was not sudden, but the more time passed, the better I got.
The girl traveling from the local bus who was insecure, shy, and weak transformed into a strong, confident, brave, ambitious, and good learner. That girl learned to see through other’s perspectives, and I, as that girl, want to learn more, wants to explore the world, wants to be flawless, wants to achieve something, wants to change people’s thoughts, wants to chase her dreams and fulfill them, and mostly want to make everyone proud.
Anamika CM Sangroula is a high school graduate and an intern at The British College, Kathmandu, Nepal.