I Don’t Know | Memoir | Nitya Dalmia

Chapter 1




Hi. I am Nitya Dalmia, just another 15-year old girl trying to make her place in this world. You know if you asked me two years back whether I’d be writing a book about myself I would have most likely given a snarky reply like, ‘People like me don’t write a book, they are written about,’ but since then I have come a long way. I found my comfort and strength in writing and nobody can tell my story better than me. So let me start by saying just as much as you think you don’t know who you are, you do. You are the only person who knows yourself and sometimes it can be a struggle to answer that question for ourselves. Who are we? 


For me it took a long time to get where I am and you may be thinking, how does a 15-year-old know who they are? They are too young to understand anything and for some of us that may be true but that’s what teenagers are meant to do. We want to find our way and discover ourselves along the way. It’s never really easy to know who you are but after a long search, I think I know who I am and I have no doubt that along the way I may change but that’s fine too because I know whoever I am and whoever I’ll be is and will be the best version of myself. So whoever you are, I hope this book helps you in some way because it has already helped me. 


For most of you, you may be thinking why would you want to read a book written by an amateur and you are not wrong. Why should you read a book written by a 15-year-old when you could be making better use of your time and here’s why. One of the main misconceptions adults have about kids is that we don’t know anything, that we are stupid but we’re not and it would be great if we weren’t treated like that anymore. You have no idea how many times I have heard, ‘kids don’t know anything about love, or ‘kids don’t know anything about life,’ but you couldn’t be more wrong. We may not know everything I named my book, I Don’t Know for a reason, being there are so many things I don’t know, there are so many things we don’t know, well that and the fact that I couldn’t come up with a better title. But my point is that every single one of us doesn’t know something but we also know so many other things and so do kids. We know so much, about love, life, joy, happiness. We all have different ideas of what they might be and we are all right. So next time when you say something about teenagers not knowing things just remember, we know.


Teenagers. Do you know we face difficulties and have our struggles? I should know I have had my fair share of things. One thing I am sick of is the fact that people don’t think our problems matter because we are young and because our problems aren’t big enough but what most people miss is the fact that for us our problems are big and we are still young. When we are going through things in our life we don’t want to feel like our problems aren’t problems. Of course, it may just be a small part of life but for us, it is still big and we are still learning. We are growing in our own space and time. A teenager faces many adversities in their years. Bullying is one of the main ones. I was bullied and that should be the first thing you should know about me because that story plays a very important role in my life. It is what got me where I am and if I could take it all back I wouldn’t. 


You see like adults we go through many problems and for us that is difficult and being a teenager myself I know what to feel. I bet we all do because we have been there at a certain point in time. This is my story but there are so thousands of people who will relate to this because our stories may not be so different after all. I am not famous. I am not a celebrity. I am not an actor but that’s exactly it. I am a commoner and I hope somewhere along the line you can relate to me and maybe this could help out the both of us and if you haven’t that’s fine too because in a way you’ll learn a thing or two about relationships and how much you can impact somebody else’s world and their life. I am just me, Nitya Dalmia, and I hope that’s enough. 


On that note let me tell you who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. I love the yellow color, my favorite animal is a giraffe. Suddenly I should be silly to you don’t I? But a color, an animal, and small things such as that can really tell the kind of person you are. Though my personality is a bit more dark red I prefer yellow. Since I was a young girl I always adored the color yellow. It was just something about the color that would light up my face and it wasn’t until I was old enough to know why I liked yellow and that is because yellow represented happiness. It was so bright and happy. It made me hope for something better even if I didn’t know it yet. It would be like I wanted to feel the color yellow. At this point in life, I would represent myself with dark red, almost as if the darkness was coming in or going out but then I’d think my future would be yellow. One of the reasons I love giraffes is because of the color and a stupid riddle we used to ask but somehow it sticks. I liked the giraffe because of how unique it was. Don’t get me wrong all animals are, but giraffes were something different and I wanted to be like that, unordinary, different, unique, except for the whole ear licking with your tongue part, that definitely ruined my image of them but I still love them. I also love how tall they are, something I’m not. 


I love to have two things, maggie, and pizza. I can have that at any time of the day. I can have that every day. Maggie is like the easiest thing to cook and it tastes good and pizza is well pizza, I mean how do you not like pizza, right? And don’t worry there isn’t some deep meaning behind the food I like. I just want you to know the small parts of me before I tell you the story of my life. It’s always the small details that make up the big. My current favorite book has to be Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner. It was his very first book but it would awe-inspire. I stopped reading for a while and that book helped me get back on track but that’s just one of the many reasons I love that book. I got to learn so much from it and there wasn’t a single second when I wasn’t into reading the book. It was heartbreaking but that was the best part about it. Khaled Hosseini has a way with words, all his books are inspirational and remind me of the harsh reality of the world. My favorite movie is…there are way too many, The Notebook, The Fault in Our Stars, To all the boys I’ve loved before, Love Rosie, and I can keep going but by this list, you already know my favorite genre. Romance? You guessed it right. Don’t ask why I guess I just do. My favorite TV show right now, at this exact moment, has to be One Tree Hill. It was a good show, enough to finish the whole show in about 2 or 2 1/2 weeks, and I mean all 9 seasons. I love the song If The world was ending by JP Saxe and Julia Michaels. I have been playing it on repeat. I felt a load of emotions and feelings when I first heard this song and then it stuck. If it weren’t for TikTok I may not have been introduced to this song. Yes, I watch TikTok, don’t judge me, it’s fun. 


I have written a book, Stuck-Up. This book was written by some of my experience in my old school which I will be talking more about and in detail in this book. I previously studied in Dehradun/ Mussoorie and it’s been about a year since I moved back home to Surat. For now, this is all I need. It’s good to be back home living with my parents after spending 5 years away from home. I was in fourth grade when I went to live in a boarding school and in 8th grade, by the end of the school year, I called it quits because of serious bullying problems I had to face. I spent 2 years, grades 4 and 5 in Unison World School in Dehradun after which I shifted to Woodstock School where I studied for the next 3 years. I haven’t had a stable school. The school I’m studying is my 6th or 7th school. It’s not like my parents move a lot but it’s just because under the circumstances or life decisions I have to move from one school to another. And that is my past. 


Then comes my future, there is absolutely no certainty that my dreams will come true or I’ll be who I want to be but between you and me, I want to be an actress, director, and screenplay writer. There is something about the film industry that takes my breath away. I feel the most alive when I watch a movie or a TV show and acting, directing, and writing is my passion. I can do it all day long and sometimes I fear that I didn’t find my career choice sooner because even though I know what I want to do I can’t help but feel helpless. It’s like I terribly want to do these things but I can’t get opportunities and if I don’t get these opportunities I don’t know whether I’ll be able to make my dreams come true. But I know I’ll do whatever it takes because nothing in life comes easy. My dad once asked me whether I’d be a doctor and I said I wouldn’t because it was too much work, he looked down at me and said, ‘Don’t ever say something like that, everything in life is going to be hard and you will have to do work. If you want to be somebody you will have to work. So don’t say it’s too much work because there will always be a lot of work,’ and I don’t think I’ve ever used those words again because he is right. I can’t give up because there is a lot of work, I gotta do it and I will. It wasn’t very long ago that I discovered my talent. My career choices used to change like my clothes but when I found what I really wanted to do, what I think I’m meant to do nothing could or nothing can change my views about it. 


Do you know what I hate? I hate exams, grades, and homework. I don’t have any problem with studying, I don’t but I hate exams. It’s not because I suck at them but I hate exams for valid reasons. The stress and anxiety and to top it all off we get grades based on an unfair system but I will talk more about it, but for now, just know I loathe exams. I also don’t like chocolates, well at least not all. There are a selected few chocolates that I like but that’s it. Talking about things I hate, I hate losing. Since birth, I have always been a competitive person. I’ll always have the urge to win or even if I lose I still have to be the center of the attention while doing so. I’ll give you an example, one day our class was divided into two halves and we were given a topic which we had to debate about, and unsurprisingly I had the worst people in my group only because they had no clue about the topic after research for 40 whole minutes. We were supposed to talk for 10 minutes as a group and 8 of them combined talked for just 4 minutes, literally while the other team had points one after the other. Then I took over from my team and I had to just keep talking for 6 minutes straight. Now, ultimately we ended up losing but I was still impressive but if I hadn’t been I would have been furious. Anything to do with losing, I can’t handle it, that’s why I prefer being solo in any project. 


Do you have any phobias? That was a silly question, of course, you do. For me it’s claustrophobia but it’s not so bad. I just don’t like small closed places and I don’t like a small place crowded with many people, I feel like I’m losing my breath. I also fear holes. Yes, I just said holes. Trypophobia it’s not a real phobia but whenever I see too many holes together it makes me skirmish but the one I fear the most is being forgotten. It’s not my age to think about such stuff but I can’t help but wonder if people will remember me if I’m gone. At this point in my life, I feel irrelevant, not because the world doesn’t know me but because the people who did don’t anymore. I just wonder sometimes if I disappeared would anybody care? I mean I know a few people from my family would but how about other people, people who I considered friends, would they? 


By now you probably know the kind of person I am, my likes, my likes, phobias, who I want to be, and who I am but everything you know is pretty much me I let the whole world see. This is me people know but you’ll soon see who I am, truly who I am. You must be thinking why I am writing a book or not, I’m not a psychic but I guess I’m writing this book for me just as much as I’m writing it for you. I think we all face problems, some bigger than the other but they are still problems and just like me so have you and I think I’d like to share mine with you because it helps me let out my emotions that have been cramped up in me for days and because maybe this may help you with your problems. In many ways, you will probably relate to me because I am every other girl on this planet and just like me you must have gone through similar things in your life and you may not have been able to get past it. So by sharing my story and my memories I will not only be helping you but I’d also be helping myself. Writing has always been such a huge part of my life and it gave me comfort and strength. I’m not going to lie but sometimes I just can’t pick up my laptop and start writing, either because I’m too lazy or because I just don’t feel like it but when I do it feels good. 


I’ve had many important chapters of my life and I have many more to go but this journey I have had has been extraordinary. There has been a good time to the absolute worst times. I have some good emerges which have been ruined by memories I have had later and after all this time I still feel some load on my shoulders and remove that load I would like to share with you. It all started when I spent two years of my life in a girls boarding school. It was a good school but I didn’t feel like I belonged there but that is when I first left home and started living in a boarding school. Then there was the summer camp in Switzerland which was as wonderful as it could get. I had a blast but more importantly, I learned so much which is why it is one of the important chapters of my life. Then I switched schools again and the change in the schools one after the other itself makes it a very important part of my life. That’s when it all changed. That one school changed me. I was a butterfly, completely transformed into someone else. I remember there was a time in my second year there where I was accused of wrongful cyberbullying which I got punishment for. One year later I was the one being bullied. The bullying got to a point where I couldn’t control it anymore and had to leave school, again. That is when I wrote my first book. The book was a pure work of fiction but in a way, I told my story. I went to another school but only spent two weeks there and then left because something in my life started getting harder and harder by time. The right group of friends, the loneliness, finding your group of people to hand out with, it all seemed so difficult. Then I finally came back home after 5 years living away and home hasn’t been all too bad. At first, it was not good. I didn’t have any friends and I couldn’t relate to anybody. I felt like an outsider. Sitting alone during lunch, walking the hallways fearing people will judge you, looking down and walking, they had all become a part of my personality. Throughout this thing, my family has been there for me which makes them one of the most important parts of my life. Even today there are many problems I face which I’d much rather not talk about but I will. My opinions about society have also played a very important role in the person I am today, so I’d like to share that with you too.


Stay tuned for chapter 2 next week.

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