Childhood memories are very strong and potent – and not easy to forget; for they form the strongest associations in our mind, and are the strongest elements in our personality makeup. I am no different from the norm; and harbor a series of strong memories both good, bad as well as ugly. I can truthfully state that these were central to me becoming what I am today. While I bear no grudge today for the bad / ugly, it is important to point out that these memories remain etched the strongest. As to the good, I can honestly state that I remember them – almost as strongly
THE BAD & THE UGLY
Lets get this out of the way. My memories of my childhood, on the negative side, in this are of one thing, and one thing only. Being bullied, brutally bullied by self-styled Rambos, so-called machos who thought the world of themselves, and cared little for the feelings of others. The bullying was constant – not just of me – but of other students like me. I haven’t forgotten; neither will I ever forget. But that hasn’t affected my adult relationships; I now have a very strong bond with one such former bully.
I remember talking to one girl in the class – this happened twice in two schools. Now these were innocent discussions between two students around class and studies only. But I remember with clarity being razzed for it all year in both schools. I could not then understand, nor do I fathom now – what is the whole issue if a boy talks Physics notes with a Girl, or Math problems with a girl? Why does this world look at everything from a coloured, tinted and biased lens? Where did these kids pick up such dirty thoughts from – I wonder? I certainly didn’t think it otherwise if people from one sex had an innocent chat with people of the other sex – and I still don’t, by the way!
If you start assuming or even teasing boys just cause they talk to any girl, you are being stupid, and showing your own mentality. It is eminently feasible for a man and a woman to have a positive healthy and friendly relationship. I am now 40+, but still find this behaviour ridiculous. But that is the way our Indian Society is… is the lesson I learnt from it. This is what re-inforces societal stereotypes & mores. It also has long-term impact on the mental process of an individual – not just of the bullied person – but more so of the bully, who is further emboldened by his thoughtless words and deeds.
I recall an incident in school, which taught me the real face of humanity in all its magnificent ugliness. Two incidents, rather. The first was I had falled unconscious due to illness, and I noted – I still recall the intense feeling – that not one person from my so-called close friends came to help. The classmates who did help, remained close to me till we parted. That taught me the art of judging the real true friend. Another incident I recall was the inhuman act of setting bees into a class when girls and a few simple boys were present inside – some of the bullies in our class would do it regularly. That shows us the sick mentality of bullies, and what sickening abnormal amorality they called fun. I remember thinking of them as being mentally unstable and sick idiots – with crystal clarity.
The good, I can write pages and pages on; that will, however, be for my son’s eyes only, as I hand him over my diary of personal notes when I am no more. There isn’t anything a person can learn from the good as much as from the bad. And who to pick out and who to leave in a long list? But even in all these, I must mention the one who is no more, as per information available to me – Ashok. He was my first real friend, Ashok taught me what friendship really is. No one before him connected; not that he wouldn’t tease me, or I him – but he connected, despite lying to me!
There is a fine line between fun and harassment – he knew that line well. That taught me a lot; it is a lesson I still draw inspiration from – there is a fine line between fun/motivation/drive/follow-up & harassment. And when Gunjan Bisaria told me of his demise – I cried, despite not having met or heard of him for 30 years… that is true friendship. To the first friend in my life, first friend – Thanks, Ashok!
I have taken a negative approach; my objective isn’t to lay open my life. That is why, the Good need not enter into it at all. My objective is to draw attention to the smaller, tiny social mores, behaviours and attitudes that determine personality and mental make-up. The two or three examples given show what I can only call an evidence of a sick mentality – setting bees on classmates. How can that be attributed to fun? How is merely talking to a Girl, an evidence of a love affair? Are you mentally sick, a retard?
There is no way we can stop bullying; that is an unfortunate human trait that people with lesser mental capability adopt to vanquish an intellectually superior person is one way I like to counter it. One insult deserves another! I plan to share this in my school groups as well 😃. But what most people miss is the powerful longer term implications of this behaviour – not just for the bullied person, but also for the bully.
The bullied person actually develops a strong, rock-solid coping mechanism that prepares him for life, helps him maintain a balance in the ups and downs. But the bully has to learn the hard way – for the simple reason that for every bully the world has a stronger bully!! And it is this behaviour that translates into adult interactions; a person incapable of softer interactions & softer emotions will always be a bully!