I've never been a popular kid. Through school i was always on the fringes of the 'in' crowd. I couldn't break into the Debating teams because i truly understood where the other guy was coming from; the dramatics team was a mystery as it was impossible for me to be 'natural' while playing 'little bo peep' and the basketball team had a height criterion.
I struggled with the fact that i wasn't ever going to be the 'hot chick' in school, that guys would always think of me as the back-thumping-never-crying-best-buddy and beautiful would never be a term applied to me. One day, while going through my delayed entry into adolescent agony, i despairingly asked my professor, "What if i'm no good at anything?!" And she wisely said, "Sometimes it's enough to be a good person." She obviously hadn't lived in the Bombay media world.
In my contrary state of mind (telling the world to go to hell while begging for acceptance in the same breath), i found solace in my diary (my older brother did too apparently, when he read out bits of my self-loathing to his friends, but that's another story). It became a place where i could be completely honest about what really mattered to me - and where the slow realisation hit me that little really did. But more importantly, it became a place of habit.
And today, when that habit has led to intensely private navel-gazing on the hugely public forum of the internet, i find that i finally have a much-appreciated fan club (you know who you are). But really, if truth and a healthy disdain of how people perceive you is all it takes to 'win friends and influence people', i wish someone had told me and saved me years of heartache. Then again... maybe not.