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The Day That Changed my Life Forever
Yes, I Was An ABCD
I could hear snickering, as usual, as I passed through the hallways of my high school. Someone whispered, ‘there goes the weird ABCD’.
Ever since I can remember, that has been my nickname. Why? I asked myself for the millionth time. Why is it so bad to be different? Why is my culture different from others? Why wasn’t I born American like the rest of my schoolmates? Why do I speak two languages? Why? Why? Why?
There were no answers, only questions. Once the nickname was given, it stuck until that miraculous day when I was no longer called an American Born Confused Desi (ABCD). BTW, Desi means born to Indian parents.
People say America is a melting pot and people from different cultures are welcomed warmly. They couldn’t be more wrong. I have two American best friends, Jane and Abby, who don’t care that I’m an ABCD. But sadly they don’t belong to any popularity club as they are considered weird too. Here is why they are considered weird; they love studying (nerdy!!), have pimples galore (gross!!!), don’t wear any make-up (seriously!!!!), have no boyfriends (so uncool), don’t watch any of the popular TV shows (OMG what’s wrong with them), and don’t even have a cell phone (huh????? Like really?).
My peers think I am weird because, I love studying (another nerd), have no boyfriend (way uncool), am a vegetarian (NO BURGERS!!!!!), bring my own lunch to school (how boring), put coconut oil in my hair (yuck, the smell), wear Indian clothes (doesn’t she have any fashion sense?), listen to Bollywood songs (what’s that?), and the worst is that I am a teacher’s pet (crazeeee!!!).
I hated that nickname and wanted to get rid of it so badly that I tried to change everything about me. I decided to take matters in my own hands and stopped studying, started eating meat, stopped using oil in my hair, and started wearing jeans, skirts, and shorts.
This only accomplished more name calling and snickering. I once overheard someone say, ‘no wonder she has that nickname, she is so confused she doesn’t know if she is an American or an Indian.’ What was I to do? I felt like screaming, shouting, cursing, crying, dying…….
Nothing could change my life! I was going to be an ABCD forever and ever.
Little did I know that fate was smiling down on me that day and my life was soon going to change forever and ever………..
It was a typical day and I was walking home from school, just like I did every day since I started going to middle school. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a car came speeding round the corner and hit me as it tried to turn. I felt like I was flying slowly through the air, my mind screamed, I felt weightless but I heard my bones breaking as I landed harshly on the road. The pain was excruciating, I could barely breathe, I wanted to cry but every part of me hurt and crying would have increased the pain. Thankfully, I lost consciousness and could feel no more pain.
When I woke up I saw an ambulance, paramedics, and lots of people crowding around. I heard one man say, ‘Poor girl, I saw the whole thing. It was horrible. I hope they can save her.’ Who were they talking about? ME? But I was awake and I tried telling the man I was okay but he couldn’t hear me. What was going on? I looked around and realized they were all looking at the ground and I was looking down at them. I was floating, not standing. Oh no! Was I dead? I was too young to die. One of the paramedics said, ‘I can feel a very faint pulse. Her condition is critical. We must get her to a hospital right away.’ This was strange, if I wasn’t dead, then why was I a ghost?
They took me to the hospital and the doctors did everything to keep me alive. One of the doctors was Indian, Dr. Jain, and he told my parents that I was out of danger and would wake up soon. Two days went by and I still didn’t wake up. I tried entering my body but it kept rejecting me. What was going on? The doctors couldn’t understand why I was in a coma-like state. My parents asked Dr. Jain what was going on and he told them that, ‘sometimes our subconscious has some unfinished business it needs to take care of and until that is done, the body stays in a comatose state.’ Now it all made sense, I was out of my body for a reason. This was my chance to get rid of my nickname, once and for all. I was so excited I floated up and down the hospital room and hatched a plan. I knew what I had to do.
I went to school the next morning and waited for Shannon, the most popular girl in our school. She was a cheerleader and all the girls copied her hairstyle and her clothes. They even listened to the same music she listened to. If she did it, it was fashion. She was the one who gave me my nickname and I knew if she started liking Indian culture then everyone would follow her.
As soon as I saw her, I entered her body. It was so easy I couldn’t believe it. I thought of my favorite Indian restaurant and all the spicy food they served. My mouth, or Shannon’s mouth, watered. I could read her mind now. Shannon had a strong craving for Indian food and after school she asked her friends to go with her for some Indian food. Her best friend, Lisa’s mouth hung open unattractively, ‘Are you serious Shannon? But you hate Indian food’. ‘Don’t be silly Lisa’, laughed Shannon, ‘ it’s the latest trend. Come on, let’s go.’ So they all went to the Indian restaurant and to their surprise they loved the food. It was so different from the bland food they were used to.
The next morning, Shannon had a strong urge to wear Indian jewelry and clothes. She knew there was a store that sold Indian clothes and went there to buy a new outfit. Everyone stared at her as she walked down the school hallway. They didn’t dare make fun of her or whisper behind her back.
As soon as her friends saw her, they pounced on her and pulled her to a corner. Lisa shouted, ‘Are you out of your mind? What are you wearing? What’s wrong with you?’
Shannon looked at her pityingly before she said, ‘It’s fun to try out new things. What’s wrong with that? In fact listen to the new music I downloaded. It’s awesome.’
They couldn’t believe it, she was listening to Bollywood songs. Now they knew what Bollywood music was and once again, to their surprise, it was really good. Their feet started moving to the music and before they knew it, they were dancing to the tune. They couldn’t wait to download it on their Ipod.
I lived in Shannon’s body for a week and in that week everything Indian became the latest craze. I knew it was time to leave her and enter my own body. I went back to the hospital and entered my body. This time my body accepted me and I opened my eyes. My parents were thrilled to see me come out of my coma. I never told a soul what I had done. Who would believe me? I could hardly believe it myself.
I didn’t know what to expect when I went to school. As I walked down the hallways I saw everyone listening to Bollywood music and wearing Indian clothes. No one looked at me, no one whispered, no one snickered. I was just one of them. That was the miraculous day I was no longer an ABCD.