“They called me “Chhakka” and disregarded me as my waist was too thin or should I say not manly enough. I have been skinny all my life and I tried my best to fit in. I was always body shamed and I was made to feel inadequate. As a teenager it affected me a lot. I used to laugh it off earlier but it stopped being funny quickly.
I loved watching “Dance India Dance” and dreamt to be on that stage. Eventually I left dancing because I thought I may not be fit for it.
In 2012, I had an accident and I got detained in 7th standard. I was unaware about mental health at that time and how I was affected. I was mostly sad on those days. I had lost all my friends as I had to repeat another class. I was depressed. During those days I started to write as an escape, although getting started was very daunting. I was appreciated by some but at the same time trolled, made fun because my grammar was weak. There were days when I did nothing and slept for hours wasting time online.
I picked myself up after I completed 10th standard and started off fresh in a new school. I took up humanities and coming from a Marwari family, taking humanities was a taboo. But as I met like-minded people, I started to find myself. I started writing more on mental health and didn’t care what people said. People started supporting me because somewhere writing about my personal experience, they got their story spoken in my poems. One of my friend pushed me to participate in debates and MUNs and that built a lot of confidence in me.
Sometimes the fear of facing another failure still haunts me and I’m still mocked and body shamed. People still pass remarks but now I don’t retaliate. I either ignore them or retort in a sarcastic or witty manner. I am like this and they have to accept me.” said Harshit Jalan