The Building Blocks of Life

“I think there should be a rule that everyone should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

It’s a simple line, really, isn’t it? They are neither the sensational words that make your mind wonder who actually wrote that. Nor are they any particular  literary devices that make you awestruck. It’s just a sentence from a book. Yet, it has imprinted itself on my mind for the past four years.

A sentence is never ‘just’ a sentence; a book is never ‘just’ a book. Likewise a person is never ‘just’ a person. There’s so much more to even the littlest of things that I, as a person, can never stop getting overwhelmed by it all.At the same time I find that one part of my mind stay discontent at the fact that I will in no way ever have the complete knowledge. My mother introduced me to the word ‘sonder’, and that word is something I mull over every day.

In my opinion – and I strongly believe this – a ‘life-changing’ moment is never a single one. It’s a series of events that build up, block by block, and finally give rise to a huge mansion – the apotheosis of it all. From my own point of view, my life has yet to have that climax. But I think I have the first few foundational building blocks in my line of sight.

As far as I can remember, the first Oprah Moment I had was when I finished reading the novel ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio. To me, it was the first book that touched my heart – which is quite obvious bearing in mind that I’ve read it thrice. The simple quote above is from this simple book.

The novel, as I said, takes in the perspective of people around a ten-year old with facial deformity. How ‘sonder’! I admire the teacher in the novel who challenged the students around the ten year old to choose being kind when given the choice between being right, or being kind. Did it leave a lasting impression on my young heart? Yes, it did. An imprint that will never fade away. Perhaps that’s why Summer, the girl who choose to be the best friend to a boy with facial deformity, fascinates me. Charlotte, another girl at the school who chose to  be good but not a friend, fascinates me as much.

The realization that different people go through different things and those situations make them act in different ways, is the  prime life lesson I have  learned, and I still have faith in that. Wonder helped me trudge my way into adolescence with a positive outlook and an open mind. I feel like I would’ve had a very different mindset had I not stumbled upon the blue covered paperback in my neighbourhood’s library.

I’d like to leave you with a few lines from my favourite book: “Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed. .” Why I love that line, that concept, is because it reminds me of the fact that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness.

Written by : Nandita Krishnan Class X-D

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