I sat at my desk, sighing as I removed my back pack from my shoulder. I tied back my hair and took out my books waiting for the first class to start. It had been a month since college had started and the lessons were as boring as ever. It didn’t help that my best friend and partner was absent. I would’ve snoozed in all the lectures like usual, if something interesting hadn’t happened.
That’s when she walked in. All eyes were riveted on her as she walked through the door. I gasped when I saw that she was completely bald. The teacher introduced her as the new girl. Many boys snickered unkindly when they saw her. I heard “Baldy” being whispered throughout the class and felt sorry for the new entry.
She seemed totally oblivious to the fact. She sat beside me without a word. Then, the teacher called for the nominees who wanted to become class representatives. All the kids shrunk in their seats, because most of us knew that the CRs were only bullied and picked on by the back benchers. I was shocked when she decided to raise her hand and registered herself as a nominee. I didn’t say a word.
The next day, there was a debate between the nominees where each tried to prove that he or she was the best for the post. The girl, who had already been christened as “Baldy” by the whole class, soon got her chance. She ignored the cat calls and derisive laughs which followed her on to the Dias. Confidence seemed to be emanating in waves from her. She soundly beat each and every one of the other nominees in a battle of wits. The snickers and chuckles slowly turned into gasps of admiration as they realized the true talent which this girl possessed. She was indeed an unusually quick and fast debater, who could think on her feet and snap questions at the other candidates which they could hardly answer.
After a hands down surrender from the other candidates she took up the post of CR and retired gracefully, as an undefeated champion, amidst a burst of applause. She became my close friend because I admired her for her self belief. She never thought that she was substandard and incompetent. That’s where the secret of her self esteem lay. I learnt that she had got cancer and lost most of her hair due to intensive chemotherapy. She thought that she was lucky to get another chance at life and intended to use it to the full.
Till date, people call her Baldy, especially the people she met during college life, but it is more out of reverence and respect that the name stuck. I learnt a very valuable lesson that day. Either you can be a prey to your flaws or your flaws can be your prey. That’s the choice which determines the difference between chicken and champion. If you pounce on your flaws at the right time, they cease to be your flaws and become your identity, one you can be proud of. The world will perceive you as you perceive yourself. Most people hear this statement. She took it to the next level by actually implementing it. To this day, I salute those who can make their flaws so beautiful that they become a significant part of their personality and their strength, instead of a weakness. Like Baldy told me- “you can’t change what you are. You can change how you think about it” A statement never sounded so true.