Not all lives are patterned the same.

Not every breath grudged.

Not every effort rejected.

Not every attempt thwarted.

Stupid girl chanted this mantra every day of her life. Her special little prayer. Her little affirmation of faith. In anticipation of the deluge of change, she knew awaited her.

Stupid girl stood by the door, watching the others at play. They looked at each other. They smiled at each other. They called her.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Hide and Seek. Stupid girl hid with the others. Stupid girl was caught first. Bad at hiding, Stupid girl had no choice but to seek.

Easier said than done.

Stupid girl gave up after a few attempts and returned home sniveling.

Mother was too busy worrying about the evening meal to bother.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl wiped the tears off her grimy cheeks and settled down in a corner with her books. The film on her burning eyes made the letters all blurred and they swam, enticing her to dream. Dream? Stupid girl couldn’t for long. Mother came by, saw her with a faraway look in her eyes and glared. Feeling very stupid again and most insignificant, Stupid girl looked at her lesson. It didn’t make sense to her at all.

Father was at it again. This time Stupid girl knew dinner would be late. An hour later, Stupid girl crept into the kitchen for dinner. The vessels were scattered on the floor and Mother was sitting there, staring at nothing.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl looked at her and away.

Stupid girl gave up on Mother. Food. Where was food, now? Stupid girl foraged for food.

Telltale signs.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid girl felt really stupid this time.

Her brain would freeze for so long, Stupid girl couldn’t think anymore. Stupid girl couldn’t say a word either.

Stupid girl blinked at her reflection in the mirror and now suddenly thought of the beggar who sat in front of the temple. The stupid grin on his face. Stupid girl was like him. How grateful he looked when someone dropped a coin into his bowl! Stupid girl felt the same too.

For Stupid girl was a beggar sitting on the fringes of her home, and her school, starved for affection and maybe even attention.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

The only difference was, nobody noticed her.

No alms came her way. No words, no smiles, it was as though Stupid girl wasn’t even there.

Stupid girl looked at the group of girls chattering incessantly. The only time Stupid girl wished they would speak to her was the last. It was a slap on her stupid face.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

She felt their scorn bore into her soul.

She felt dumb again. Stupid really.

Stupid girl watched in incomprehension, as they turned away and laughed a little louder, their backs an impenetrable fortress.

Why did they then seek her when they were alone and reject her when together?

Why did they behave this way?

Stupid girl felt stupid again.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Story of her life.

Stupid girl.

Stupid girl grew up, despite life.

Stupid girl lived, despite dying a thousand deaths inside. You gotta hand it to her.

A thousand at least.

Stupid girl tried to believe, despite all her faith being crushed.

Stupid girl dared to love, hoping it would make her feel whole.

It split her soul to pieces mangled beyond recognition.

Stupid roadkill.

Stupid girl thought…What?

She still thought?

How stupid!

Really? Stupid couldn’t be that stupid now, could she?

Well she was. Stupid.

Father died.

Mother cried.

Stupid girl lied? Sighed? Tied? Flied? Gosh what would her teacher say!

Fried? Plied? Mied? Aied? Jied? Kied? Wied? Nied? Ried? Uied? Hied? Xied? Zied? Ried? Flied? Oh no! Said that already!

Vied? Aha! That made sense! No, that was too stupid a rhyme. Even Stupid girl knew that.

Died? Now that didn’t make sense at all. Even to Stupid.

Despite it all.

Stupid girl now made another attempt.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Stupid thought she could be happy. Stupid thought she could start afresh.

Stupid didn’t reckon that grownups were overgrown versions of the little bullies they had been.

Nothing changes. Nothing ever will.

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

So Stupid thought she could make a difference.

So she thought.

Stupid! Oh, so stupid!

Stupid girl chanted her prayer. Yes, you are right. A stupid prayer.

Shouldn’t her prayer have been a little different? If only she knew better.

She did.

Punctuation, her teacher had said, was oh-so-important.

Not all lives are patterned the same?

No breath grudged?

No effort rejected?

No attempt thwarted?

Questions in her prayers now. Answered the same.

Every single time.

Every single time.

So now Stupid girl lives her life as if she were not there.

No, the futility of it all- she cannot be invisible, now can she?

More of an eyesore really! Taking up so much space, really now!

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.

Look how gazes are hastily averted, and listen how conversation becomes suddenly animated.

She must be here.

Oh, for Heaven’s sake let there be no gap, do not allow her to loom large and clumsy, awkward, on our horizon!

Everybody who is stupid enough to look her way-

Just see them wince and cringe. Watch them visibly shrink away from her as she glides about her day,

Still stupid,

with a stupid smile on her face,

a stupid word on her lips,

as she waits for someone to get her.

Finally get her.

After all, she does believe in the power of her mantra.

Not all lives are patterned the same.

Not every breath grudged.

Not every effort rejected.

Not every attempt thwarted.

Stupid girl!

Who didn’t want attention? A wise person once said.


40 thoughts on “Stupid

  1. I have no other word that comes to mind other than ‘beautiful.’ You expressed every little thing in this post in an utterly enchanting way. This is a beautiful post. Stupid girl is not stupid but she is beautiful too; if others don’t see it, I believe she herself would.

    1. Thank you for reading my work and appreciating it with such wonderful and powerful words. You make me feel hopeful. If you could see the potential Stupid girl has, I can only pray she begins to believe in herself. 😀

  2. I likes the repetition of the stupid girl. Like the remonstrance of that PITA inner dialogue where we beat ourselves up ceaselessly.
    This story is on par with those I red in the International Writers Program 2016 Storied Women MOOC. You should enter it in some contest, Sailaja. Nice piece.

  3. ” who didn’t want attention? ” true , the stupid girl stands for many beautiful people who others treat as stupid ! The aches within, the discrimination, the cravings to be little loved n cared for ..a sort of universal failure of our times . A beautiful post Sailaja ! In any case , HE alone knows who is stupid ..the girl or the others . Peace.Love.

  4. Stupid girl and ain’t we that sometime, someday “who didn’t want attention”. Stupid girl maybe everyday, yet such as her live day to day. Kudos dear lady you weaved your poetic charm to bring a malaise that’s so present in our society. Thank you. 👍

          1. Well one simply can not spend two years with an amazing person and not get them.
            It was Shruti who did it .

  5. This is so damn beautiful…I have goosebumps! Just mind blowing. No words can define what I’m feeling after reading this.. It’s just so damn beautiful and relatable. The fear of becoming invisible and at last becoming invisible to people. Just being another face in the crowd. Most of all, wanting to be noticed, understood and loved. It’s so so so beautiful.

  6. This is astonishing–breath-taking…an utter surprise! I’ve never read anything like it and it is a marvel!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How powerful and profound and moving and haunting….you have such a wonderful gift….this is so relatable but uniquely beyond any thing I’ve read before….what a gift for evocative expression of the human condition you have….you are an amazing writer and person…what a beautiful soul…thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Stupid girl … yet so wise … ma’am its just sooo beautiful that i have no way of expressing it … everything you write resonates with me in some way or another … this stupid girl is so me …. i have been through many struggles and i have wished for someone to be by my side but no … either people didnt understand me or didnt care to see… y ? well i would be very grateful to them if they could just tell me … but just as stupid girl i sought beauty in being invisible … everything i do will only be seen by me and that is beauty in itself … it has not been clouded with others conceit …. so beautiful 🙂 …. there are some things in the world that cant be felt enough and this is one of them

    1. I understand what you feel. The need for detachment is real but we need a little appreciation and acknowledgement of our presence as well. Better stupid than dead inside I guess. Thank you for understanding her and relating to her angst.❤❤❤❤❤

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