By Suhani Chandhok:
I’ve always been driven towards fashion, whether on TV, magazines or fashion shows. I also believe that fashion comes from within, and with that thought, I started an Instagram profile in 2014 – a place where I could express myself through fashion. I started putting out content related to fashion – sometimes pictures of myself and my pals sporting unique styles. Sometimes, little nuggets on actors and movies because I am passionate about acting and plan to pursue it professionally after I finish school.
A photo posted by suhani chandhok/rs? (@suhanichandhok) on
My Instagram profile was a hit. People started responding positively, and I would post new updates regularly. My followers increased to 27,000 and I was enjoying the whole experience, when things started going wrong.
One day someone tampered with one of my pictures and posted it on a thread of ongoing comments. They basically zoomed into my stomach, probably thinking it was a great way to embarrass me. A couple of months later, someone posted a video of a girl posing and pouting. Pretty soon, I realised it was a parody of me posing in my Instagram pictures, and had my initials on the thread of comments. My had friends alerted me of the video which had been posted online. It went viral and before I knew it, everyone in school was talking about it. I got so sick of the gossip and looks, that one fine day I decided to talk about it on social media. It was time to end the hate.
What was amazing, was the support I received after expressing myself. I even received messages from guys and girls I’ve never spoken to before.
I guess many people connected with the message and felt a kind of solidarity with me, as no one deserved to be shamed like this. I also got to know that the video was made by a bunch of girls from a neighbouring school. And that’s really sad because everyone is beautiful in their own way. Eventually though, the girls apologised and all the negative comments, and the video, were deleted. This for me, was a win and even though I was upset for a while, I believe that having a good support system really helped. My family and friends were really there for me in this crazy time.
As for cyber bullying, I want to say that it can really bring a person down. You need to work hard to stay strong and confident in your own life and space. You can’t necessarily shut down the negativity, but what you can do, is gather support from those closest to you and not let it keep you down.
As for those who bully, clearly they lack confidence in themselves and find pleasure in bringing others down. However, this pleasure is short-lived. It can never bring true satisfaction. So, please think twice before you post negative stuff about someone else. Someday it could be you.
Suhani is a student at the Shri Ram School, Moulsari in Gurgaon. She loves fashion and acting, and plans to take up acting professionally, after finishing school. You can follow her Instagram account here.