Even by the lofty standards of teenage life, I was as rebellious and mischievous as one could possibly be. To put it bluntly, I was an out-and-out brat. Maybe I still am. As my mother would often say, I was like a raccoon: carefree, lazy and mischievous, yet remarkably smart and strong. I was terribly opinionated for my age, to the point that I barely listened to anyone. And that was not even the biggest issue with me.

I had no friends. And it was not because I did not have the gift of making friends, but because – unfortunately – I also had the knack of losing the ones I had. Growing up, it was the same old drama year after year. I would have a lot of friends at the beginning of each school session, but would end up feeling lonelier than ever as the session came to an end. All this brought me to the verge of a war – a war with myself. I felt that something was amiss with me, and that only fueled my desire to attain perfection in everything. As often happens with such unrealistic goals, I began to hate myself. In fact, it would be no understatement to say that I felt that I was going insane. The worst thing about it was that there seemed no solution in sight.

Yes, I was lonely to the point of going crazy. I was desperate to fill that void, and that is when I turned to what is regarded as a person’s best friend. No, I am not talking about a dog – do you think someone who had always been seen as a raccoon replica would ever be trusted with the responsibility of a whippet? Well, yes, it was a book!

Priyal Jain found an unlikely companion in books

I read one page after another for hours. It was the only way I could do away with that loneliness. Even so, I was still far from what you could call a bookworm. I was, at best, a casual reader who enjoyed reading the few things she did. The results, however, were miraculous and unexpected to say the least. Not only did I start feeling less forlorn, but even began to understand the reason why I had had no friends in the first place.

Yeah, you guessed it right this time! While I had always cherished being a strong and independent person, it had somehow started hindering my ability to make and, more importantly, retain friends. I was simply unwilling to accept others’ viewpoints and opinions. Books helped me understand and appreciate this simple yet increasingly uncommon fact that the world is full of different people with distinct personalities, viewpoints, thoughts, and upbringings. I realized that I needed to respect all of them and accept them with utmost sincerity. And so I did, and it worked wonders for me.

I am no more a desolate soul. I now have real friends – not friends for a session or two, but good, trustworthy friends; friends with whom I can share my joys and sorrows. The fun part is that I am still the most rebellious raccoon around, always up to some mischief or the other. The funnier part is that I now have my own gang to indulge in all those devilries with. And just in case you have been wondering, the war is still on, only it is no longer to become perfect but to become unique.


If you would like to be friends with Priyal, do make sure to follow her on Instagram.

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