“I ran away from home after I couldn’t get a government scholarship to college. As the youngest in my family, I was a happy and carefree kid. But as I grew up, I developed a feeling of inadequacy. I felt like I was the only one who wasn’t doing well in my family. Not doing well in class 12 further strengthened that fear. I ran away to Phuentsholing to go to Kolkata. I wanted to get into modelling or music, but those dreams were far to catch. I ended up working small jobs, without any intention of going back home. I saw the bigger world and learned a lot but there were countless problems that I faced. I knew that my parents were hurting. My siblings reached out and asked me to come back home. But I felt like I was too far gone now. Then one day, I met someone who shared her life’s problems with me. She had had a life whose struggles I couldn’t even imagine going through. I realised how small my troubles were. She told me that I was lucky to have a family that hadn’t given up on me. She told me about the importance of family and I knew she was right. Everyone, including myself, might have given up on me but my family hadn’t.

My parents accepted me when I came back home and continued to encourage me to pursue my studies. My mother died in 2019. I had wanted her to be proud of me for once, but before I could do anything for her, she left us. I was depressed, I had hurt her so much when I could have been with her. All I felt was regret. I went for counseling. There I learnt to accept the reality of my situation and to forgive myself because I was not that person anymore. I am 26 now and in college. My brother supports me with the expenses. My family tells me they’re proud of me and that if she were alive, my mother would be too. They don’t care about my grades, but about how I’ve grown as a person. I am so grateful for them. They love me for who I am, inclusive of all my shortcomings. As young people we struggle a lot with self-exploration. This was what caused me to run away too. I was trying to escape my reality. But if you have something to hold onto- especially your family- hold on. They are worth it.”

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