The Other Side: What If?


There are two words that can change the meaning of any sentence: What if.

How? For example, and this is a fairly odd one – What if I fractured my hand in the midst of summer vacation. All activities would be canceled, plans delayed, and goals forgotten. Uselessness would boss me around; boredom would give me a headache. What then? Is there something I could do? What if I made this summer the best one yet?

What if, first thing in the morning, I wake with a positive mindset and a big heart, ready for anything that comes my way. And today’s the day I’ll scout my house for mysterious secrets and hidden treasures. And maybe, to my surprise, I’ll find old baby pictures of myself which are overloaded with extreme cuteness and love. But aren’t many to look at; I am still a kid after all 🙂

What if I use those photo albums as a ticket into a dangerous boardgame with my wise grandparents – they would love to see memories of my first steps! And after several intense, never ending rounds of Rummy, Ludo, and, Monopoly, I can collect the classic grandparent ‘GO prize’ package – 5000 rupees and a big hug. I’ll thank my grandparents for always being amazing and for working the double shift of loving and caring for family.

Now I can buy A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking with my prize money! Sadly, actually reading it would be a bit hard for me, considering my inconvenient hand that can’t even hold a book. So, I guess…I am….stuck. Again. But doesn’t Netflix have those awesome shows about the planet and its dynamic species? Oh, and there was another post on Instagram about the LGBTQ community and there were these exciting new coding apps which explain a lot about Artificial Intelligence! What if I use social media and technology to get updates and news so I can know a bit more about how our world works?

And let’s just say, with all the reading of long articles, what if I’ve landed on a website about the deadly effects of poaching and animal extinction. What can I do now? I can tell my friends, talk to them and use their help to spread the word that each animal, bird, or insect counts, and that our world cannot afford to hunt with so many species going extinct. And now I can spread awareness wherever I go, for it helps people understand what issues this world faces. With every step I take, and every word I say, I can feel my voice getting louder. I know so much, and I can teach much more. So, with what I’ve learned, I can do great things.

What if I start a foundation where families can donate old clothes and blankets to people living in a Sudanese refugee camp, or I create a group that communicates and helps misunderstood people? What if I can hand out smiles, give big hugs, and share some of my strength because making someone happy is something truly wonderful. So yes, this a weird example, a child with a fractured hand and a boring summer, and yes, it sounds like a very unrealistic day. But that’s because I put the words What if in front of most of the sentences.

The words What if are powerful, they can make people feel goals can be reached and that change is possible. It seems to remind us that the glass can either be half full or half empty. There are so many things you can do and learn this summer. And there are people who have more and bigger obstacles in their lives. They don’t have the chance to spend quality time with loved ones or to simply have fun. If you have aims, things that you want to improve on, you can always start now. And just imagine, how this article would sound without all the What ifs?!

Written by: Sofya Mehta, a freewheeling 7th-grade student of Woodstock School in Mussoorie. She is an enthusiastic community volunteer and social service participant.

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