My Longing To Belonging

Roses are red, violets are blue

A face like you, belongs in the zoo.

But don’t you worry, I’ll be there with you.

Not in a cage, but laughing at you.

Do you know how you looked when you were a baby?

You probably don’t remember yourself, but I’m sure your elders have told you.

It was the 29th July 1990. It was a glorious day, just like today.

My Grandma and I were sitting in our veradah watching the slight drizzle outside. We often sat here and I used to excitedly listen to her stories of the times gone by.

But that particular day Grandma sitting on the white cane chair said something that changed my life for ever.

“I remember the day when you were born. I was in the kitchen making tea when the phone rang. It was a call from the hospital and the news of you arriving.”, she said.

I smiled and gestured for her to continue.

“Yeah, it was raining so heavily I was wondering if I should go by the car or take a boat to the hospital.”

“I reached the hospital, and before I saw your face, as our rich family traditions have it, I gave your mother an envelope full of money. Her work was done. And why not, after four granddaughters, I had a grandson.!

Then, I asked the nurse to hand you to me. I held you in my arms for the first time and then I looked at you.

I still remember, you looked like a perfect ugly duckling!!!”

And she laughed like there was no tomorrow. In fact there wasn’t. For me. Because it might have been her weird sense of humor but that moment was one when I felt as if I didn’t belong to my own family. 

But then, I consoled myself: After all, it doesn’t matter what people think you look like. What matters is what you think you look like!

Well.., every day from that day onward, I would look at myself in the mirror and all I saw was an ugly duckling!

That’s how I became an ugly duckling wholeheartedly. Now, my dear fellow beautiful ducklings, do you know what this ugly duckling wanted?

All this ugly duckling ever wanted was to belong. 

And thus started my longing for belonging. I wanted to belong. To anyone. To anything.

In school, I did well. With great difficulty, I managed to make friends. We were three of us – Rahul, Mohit and Nitin.

Do you want to know the kind of bond we shared? Yes?

Rahul used to hate me. Nitin hated Rahul. I hated both of them!

The entire school life.

A little price to pay for belonging.

In college, I did even better. You see, the girls with the beauty and the brawn didn’t think I even existed. But I still made many girlfriends. Do you want to know how?

Well, I would fall head over heels for anyone who would care to smile at me.

After all, I wanted to belong. To anyone.

A little price to pay for belonging.

But none of those relationships ever lasted. Because all those girls were completely useless. After all, how could anyone with any grey matter ever fall in love with an ugly duckling?

Even here, haven’t you noticed me trying to please you? I pleased people all the way to become the President of the Toastmasters Club of West Delhi.

A little price to pay for belonging.

There is nothing wrong with trying to belong. Don’t we all want to be a part of something greater than ourselves?

But we often try to fit in to belong rather than, stand out to belong.

There is just one thing I have learnt from a lifetime of quack quacks.

[bctt tweet=”True belonging happens not by fitting in, but by standing out.” username=”mohitsawhney”]

Not by trying to be like them, but by being your authentic self.

Yes, It’s a little scary standing out here, but the view is breathtaking.

Well, I’m still trying to belong. Do you think I belong to you, the Toastmasters?


Okay, then I guess the ugly duckling was right.

I met it in the mirror this morning, it said:

Yes, roses are red Yes, violets are blue

Be you be true

Whether in the zoo Or in Honolulu

They have nothing else to do,

Those who laugh at you!

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