The Guy in My Nightmare !!!
I had a nightmare yesterday. And it was triggered by a broken water bottle. Yes. It was a broken water bottle that my kid brought home from school. What is so nightmarish about a broken water bottle ? Kids routinely do such stuff. I wholeheartedly agree with that . But for my subconscious mind it was a trigger. Memories that had been long forgotten had suddenly come to life and did not allow me to sleep last night. And I woke up with the realization that I had never really forgiven the bully.
The actual incident had taken place a very long time back. I was still in school. I used to commute by a cycle rickshaw ( Nowadays it has become tough to spot one, how time flies !! ) as did most of the kids. Almost eight of us would be crammed into a rickshaw and there was always a tussle for the prized upper seat which was the actual seat and not the improvised pieces of wood that the rickshaw wallah (driver, if I can call him that) had added to ferry more kids. Sadly it could take three kids and no more. Most of the time we would take turns as instructed by the rickshaw wallah.
But there was this guy ( who was a year senior to me ) who always wanted the upper seat for himself and his sisters. As if the three siblings were not bad enough, his mother also interfered from time to time. The poor rickshaw wallah was mighty scared of her ( who needs a face-off with a quarrelsome lady anyways ) and he would comply with her instructions despite the protests from the other kids.
One day I had worn this lovely golden hairband to school. It was brand new and I was delighted with it. Those were the days before Suri Cruise and her ilk had made a mark on the fashion scene. We did not own matching accessories for every outfit and life was just so much simpler. Unfortunately on that day, I decided to stand my ground and refused to give up the upper seat the bully or his sister. He snatched away my hairband and threatened to bend it ( it was a metal one ). I can be pretty obstinate at times and this time I did not heed his warnings. And he did bend it. My lovely new hairband was beyond repair and tears flooded my eyes.
I remember narrating the incident to my parents who cajoled me with the promise of a new one. Thankfully, they are not the kind to pick up a fight with other parents over such issues. And I do happen to know some who belong to that category. Believe me one would not like to rub shoulders with them . Forget about touching them. Even with a selfie stick ( does anyone know what a barge-pole means ? The selfie stick seems much more relevant).
And I could never find a replica of that broken hairband. It took me more than a month to get over that incident. I thought that I had forgotten this incident long back. But it was just confined to some corner of my mind. And suddenly the full implications of bullying became clear to me.
The very nature of child abuse and bullying is such that it leaves an indelible scar on the psyche. That is what makes it so very damaging. I am scared that the nightmare may come back to haunt me tonight. I even considered the possibility of damning that guy on Facebook ( he has a profile ) but I don't think it would work.
Maybe the only way I can set this right is by protecting my son from having such an experience. Say no to bullying and please take a stand if you see something like this happening. That seems to be the only solution to stop these nightmares.