It was a day of anticipation being the last working day of the term. Laughter and chatter of happy people reverberated around me; people who could not wait to board a plane with prepacked luggage to reach their holiday destinations with boyfriends/girlfriends or family members or to laze and relax in the comfort of their homes. Christmas lunch laid out on the tables, waiting to be served, stirred pangs of hunger in me as the aroma tingled my nostrils. On such occasions I preferred to sit by myself, which I did on that eventful day, like a loner you could say, and was lost in my thoughts when I was compelled to return to reality as I heard someone speak to me. I recognized the speaker alright, but what I had failed to predict was the scathing remark that would follow, the harshness of which would be sandwiched between smiles and enthusiasm. The speaker said, “No one likes you,” and had the audacity to walk past my table and return with a loaded plate of food to give me company. This is where context comes into play; a third party would be content in the knowledge that it was humour. However, recent developments and occurrences had given me reasons to think otherwise. For those who had taught programs on bullying or visited anti-bullying websites, it would not have been difficult to identify this line as an example for verbal bullying.
Disinterestedly, I nodded pretentiously to the chit chat that occured at my table and if questions were directed at me I responded only to avoid being ungracious. Later on, between belches, I ruminated upon the catalyst that triggered such acerbic comments and my speculations lingered on insecurity. Consciously or unconsciously, I had become a threat to their complacent or clandestine ways and an obstacle in their path towards whatever they deemed as progress. Realization dawned on me that it was not a a rare phenomenon for the different to be harassed and for the deprived or disadvantaged to feel envious of the blessed. On a personal level, the ambiguous isolation or alienation that I was subjected to made me feel all the more important and served as a boost to my spirited personality with its unquenchable thirst for success.