The other day, I was rushing out of the lecture room to grab lunch. I was dead starving. It felt like those hunger pang people get after a hangover; even though I don’t drink. A voracious feeling enveloped me and I could have devoured two large pizzas at that moment. Making my way to the school’s cafeteria for a semi-well-cooked lunch, I ran into a classmate who talked me into getting a sandwich instead. I have a huge crush for Panini and hot chicken wraps; the traditional sandwich does not really appeal to me in any way. Like most students, I cannot always resist the temptation of a mouth-watering deli, so we went to the deli. I didn’t need time to decide what I wanted to get. Panini of course! Nothing more, nothing less. As I watched the lady prepare my special, carefully picking out each of the fillings I requested and tucking them away between the Panini, I realised that I only wanted a Panini because of the fillings that came with it.
The student population can be slashed into 2 categories; the ones that make sure to have proper meals and take time to plan their meals and the other group that just don’t give a hoot about planning their meal. They live by the principle “all foods are equal”; if it looks like food and tastes like food, it must be food. Sandwiched between these broad groups is another group. Most students will fall into this class; they are food-runners. They really love good food, but won’t mind indulging every once in a while; a bit of junk won’t hurt. We all love some food on-the-go; something hot, fast and tasty to grab during rush hour. Most students can relate with the difficulty of planning out their weekly meals. Even the most organised of us sometimes succumb to the pressure of the world within and around us and jump on the foosd-on-the-go bandwagon. After all, every student wishes to spend less time thinking about and making their food, preferring to spend more time eating. Like the “foodsters”, I have a huge appetite for Panini; a crispy toasted Panini laced with sweet chili, some strips of plain chicken, and veggies (to make me feel not-so-guilty about indulging) and completely immersed in melted cheddar cheese. What keeps me looking forward to my Panini-days is not the bread or roll, it is the stuff that goes between the bread cheeks. They are the livewire of Panini. Take them away and I won’t look at the Panini, not even for a microsecond. The filling is the centrepiece, the portion that holds the juice. It is like the missing piece of the puzzle.
Life can be likened to my Panini. There are the forces of life and then there is you. Yes, the sun might be referred to as the centre of the solar system, but the universe is not complete without a touch of you. You are the missing piece of the universe. You complete the puzzle. College live can be daunting most, if not all the time. But you must constantly remind yourself that the system runs because you are in it. Think of it this way “you are the force in the automobile”; you keep it moving. If there were no students, the lecturers would have no one to teach. The reason life is dynamic is because everyone, like the fillings in a sandwich has different taste and flavour. It is the combination of these that gives college live the vibe it boasts of. In a class of fifty odd students, imagine the different personalities you meet, yet none is as unique as yours. There will be no sandwich if the bread and the fillings do not integrate; cling on and mix up. You are the glue that holds the forces in your life together, the centre of attraction. The world would be less beautiful without you.
However, even the best sandwich fillings often go unnoticed most of the time. They may not even make the top 10 on the list of most persons. We have a problem here! But you will discover that the problem is not you. It is not because you are not good enough. The problem is that you are too good for a world like ours. The people who consider you not-good-enough to be in their sandwich have not tasted your flavour. So, there you go! The problem is ignorance! Maybe, it is time to put yourself in the show glass in the deli, such that people cannot resist having you in their sandwich. This is not an act of desperation, it is a matter of knowing your onion. Knowing your worth and making sure to go for nothing but only those who want you in their lives as much as you want to be in theirs. Humans will love who and what they choose to love. We are entitled to love, but it is nobody’s obligation to love us. The duty to love yourself is yours alone. But if in time, you find someone who loves you and makes you their centrepiece, appreciate the sacrifice they make don’t let go if you can. Even when your best may not be good enough for the majority, it is still good enough for someone.
Every day, I am learning to embrace my flaws, appreciate my strengths and accept the fact that I don’t need everyone to love me or want me in their sandwich to be the best I can. The cucumber and mayo do not need to change their tastes for me to want them in my Panini. The amazing thing about life is this; I can be me even when I cannot be anyone or anything else. You may never really enjoy life if you do not realise that you are the filling in the sandwich. Because there are a thousand and one sandwich fillings in the deli and one could spend a lifetime tasting and trying to pick a favourite. Be the best you can, one day you will be to the world what the nectar in the flower is to the bee. When next you grab a sandwich, try to intimate with the fillings you pick.