Short Story : Acclimatize

Nipun and his sister were the introverted new comers in the colony. They had come down from one of those north eastern states where even availability of new brands of ice creams (which appeared each night as advertisements on the sole state television channel after the daily dose of abysmal news telecast) was a luxury to say the least.

Father had a transferable job, so every 3-5 years they were forced to leave their best friends back and move on to a new, strange place, with new rules, a new weather, a new school uniform and it's curriculum. Sports had always interested him as it channelized his nervous energies, all his internal conversations into some form of energy. 

Sometimes spending energy on the ground helps you not have the energy to think about a haphazard life with no control over your surroundings.

Sports made him switch off his social brain and just execute tasks to the best of his ability. He was not strategic about sports, it was not really the team work or the fights as kids would normally do; It was all individual performance and detaching himself from the people around.

He had the urge to play well, not the energy to socially mingle in light of his past fragmented experiences. Or maybe it was the fastest way of getting credibly accepted in the new group; personal brilliance.

By now, Nipun had had so many best friends that he had left behind that he began to question the very necessity of going through the painful cycle of getting to know someone form the scratch and slowly & gradually building up on the trust, codes of friendship, while internally moving on from comparing your new friend with your immediate old one, eventually letting go of those old feelings, expectations & eventually memories.

It was always like reading a new book, a new genre every single time.

Learning to get familiarized with the lingo, the names, to then internalize the plot, go through all the emotions & in the end finish the book, keep it back in your book-shelf; move around your internal thoughts, irritations, happiness, all the emotions aside in your head related to the book, along with the characters and then move on to a new plot. 

Just that a new place in reality had a ring much stronger than merely a plot. The people had a louder thunder, the ripples they created in your life were far more visible and the wounds were real and deeper.
The plot was real, personal and so were the lessons, etched in your psyche. It was life not fiction. Well he would rather make imaginary friends than real ones any day.

Nipun now had entered a phase in life which was far more predatory, impressionable and some might recall, not at rest. The moment he thought he had a fair understanding of his surroundings and how he would go about handling them, Boom ! Came the next new scene and leave his seemingly shaky level of understanding back in the dust.

His instincts were always against the run of play he felt. If the world felt like going left, he would most likely feel like going right. So much so, that he started gauging popular opinion by evaluating his personal choices and assuming the opposite of it.

He was sort of looked down upon for he rarely mingled, shared stuff, spoke up. The herd mentality, the mob culture fails to realize that social groups are not a zero sum game. If you are not in tune with an opinion, does not mean you object to it. If you are not part of a group, does not show you are the rival faction.

One fine day while coming back from school, he got rounded up by a group of rowdies. This was a new low. He kept having brawls with the folks around but kept at it. Kept fighting hard to fit in.
He had to make his way out of it, make himself heard, in his own way.

A string of events followed which made the whole stay sour, the entire short episode of few months, abysmal.

Well life moved on for another year and Nipun sort of started settling in. He made friends. Made his compromises and started to fit in.

He also started liking this girl in his class and things started looking up. He had now settled in his new life and never had he made peace with his surroundings so quickly after holding the wrong end of the stick. He started living the regular life of a teenager, partying, playing and enjoying life for  a change.

And just then when things were all falling into place, his father got his next transfer order and that was it ! Boom ! Came the next new scene, leaving his seemingly peaceful, happy life back in the dust. A New start all over again ! Chaos and peace, two sides of the same coin


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