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Another Brick in the Wall

Red brick wall, courtesy of http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/stryjekk/

When I was in school, I remember a red brick wall there. It was massive and had thousands of bricks in it. My school was a very special place for me, simply because I felt I belonged to it. I loved to look at the red wall and visualize my name written across it. I secretly knew it was my wall and I was incomplete without it. Soon, school ended and I entered a bigger world – college.

Red brick wall, courtesy of http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/stryjekk/

College, too, had a red brick wall. Except that it was much bigger than the wall in school. There were all kinds of people I met in college, but since I was bad at remembering all their names at first, my head was often clouded with hundreds of faces. Nameless faces, all of them, and I was one of them. I was just another brick in this mammoth wall. A brick with little recognition, one that not many acknowledged or cared for. A truly unhappy brick.

Sometimes I try to picture the entire world as if it were a wall where each person is a brick. Those are times when I realize why so many people suffer from identity crisis. So many red bricks, each trying so hard to conceal its idiosyncrasies and be like the others. No brick dare break the trend for fear of what the other bricks might say.

Only once in a while, we come across one brick that dares to be of a different shape, size or colour. Have you noticed how quick we are to ostracize it and immediately rectify the inconsistency before it gathers too much attention? We force our world to stick to convention and slowly watch it fade away — because a brick is a brick is a brick and we’re only just ‘living in a world of fools, breaking us down’.

Robert Frost begun ‘Mending Wall’ with the lines, “Something there is that does not love a wall” and yet we believe that “good fences make good neighbours”. The poet disregards all that he believes in for a ritual that was passed onto him – a way of the world he can’t understand. “So throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are committed for the sake of those whom we most despise” (Dickens). Simply because both you and I were unable to read through the sense of strange traditions that we are blindly following for generations. That’s why we build barriers in relationships and measure the distance between us, brick by brick.

The other day, I saw the most beautiful purple flower growing in my garden. It had exactly five small petals in it and I wondered if they too were like bricks. On plucking one of the petals, all my doubts were instantly confirmed. The flower looked ugly as ever. That one petal made all the difference. That’s when I understood the essence of being ‘another brick in the wall’.

I went back to college the next day and looked at the huge wall. I started looking for myself in it. I started at the very top of the wall, on an ambitious note, but my eyes kept moving lower and lower. Finally, the search for me ended in the second last row middle column – an insignificant little brick in the corner was where I was.

It was then that I thought about the flower once again. I imagined my brick being scooped out and with it suddenly, the entire wall came crashing down in my mind’s eye!

At that moment I realized that the wall was indeed incomplete without me. Every drop makes up an ocean. From that day, I no longer felt like just another brick.

Neha Kirpal
Neha Kirpal has been working in the Indian media for the past five years – as a television reporter, newspaper correspondent, and web writer. She has a degree in economics and is a qualified broadcast journalist. Her writings have appeared in Asia Writes, Pulp Metal magazine, Unboxed Writers, Muse India, Pens on Fire, The Legendary, All Things Girl, Compass Culture, Wave Journey, Bootsnall, and Real Travel Adventures. She divides her time between work, reading, and exercising.

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