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Design Culture Jun 08 . 3 Min Read

By. Jenil Chavda

“Mummyyy, I’m getting late...” I shouted as I quickly tied laces of my new shoes. It was already 7:15am, and I didn’t want to be late on the first day. I grabbed my school bag, without waiting for mom to put in the lunchbox, and ran outside.

I didn’t bother to close the door. Perhaps, those were simpler times. You didn’t have to give an OTP to confirm you’re a human; and the only password you had to remember was your parents’ names. It was one of those days. It was the first day of my new class.

The day had an aura of freshness. New uniforms, new books, and new stationery. We were a group of 5 kids living in the same neighbourhood. Arpan, Omkar, Pratik, Raj, and I; we used to stroll together everywhere we went.

That day when we opened our compass boxes, the smell of fresh erasers and new pencils elated us. Remember those gorgeous Apsara pencils? We all loved it. Except Pratik. Pratik always liked Nataraj. It was the only pencil he used. Did we exclude him from our little group for preferring Nataraj over Apsara? That’d be silly. Everyone has their own choices. We understood that without anyone telling us. As I said, those were simpler times.

With time, life starts losing simplicity. Shoes become sneakers, loafers, and flip flops; and innocent kids become complex adults. In our collective aim to grow up, we all grow apart. How did we end up at a situation where we have to be explicitly told that it’s okay to have different choices? That we have to be reminded that we all have different preferences that make us unique?

I don’t know. I, too, have treated transgenders rudely. I have subconsciously avoided normal physical contact with my gay friends. I have laughed at jokes made at the expense of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Pondering upon it, I realise how wrong I was. I had no reason to treat them differently, and I am making sure I don’t repeat any of it. How can I be at peace when millions of people around me are living with a constant feeling of panic and unwelcomeness for no fault of theirs?

A tap on my shoulder brought me out of my train of thoughts. I got up, and noticed my jumbled shoelaces. I scribbled in my notes, “At SandCup, we are going to ensure everyone is treated as a human- nothing more, nothing less.” I stared at my Apsara pencil, and randomly Googled about them; only to find out that Apsara and Nataraj both are made by the same organization. For some reason, it made me so happy. While returning home, I bought a box of Nataraj.

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