Sunday, September 23, 2012

To mock a helpless bird..

I’d been the youngest in my maternal family for at least half a decade until another made his entry and those were the years I treasure; not just for the happy moments. The part wherein  a gross mischief committed exclusively by me was pardoned in a blink was definitely good. Those memories in which the older kids and sibling were blamed based on the degree of mischief and the fact that I always got away unscathed still makes me so happy! However it wasn’t a cakewalk, because I had to deal with the misery of never being taken seriously. A tooth pain, a random complaint, a blunder – instead of people consoling me, everybody considered those as jokes. I was laughed upon in those years I desperately needed moral support.

Unfortunately those were also the years I tried to speak in English, as insisted by my school management and I tried to combine words to make broken sentences. The relatives found my futile attempts so funny that I dreaded to speak in English at home. Just for your information I would like to mention that the so called relatives in question were not Oxford alumni themselves.

Once upon a time when I was approximately five years old, on a cold unfortunate Christmas Eve, the maternal house was jam packed with every other relative one can possibly think of - except one who was abroad and couldn’t join the festivities. An ISD call was made and each one was waiting in queue to wish him a merry Christmas. The fact that once the telephone bill for that month arrives none of these people waiting patiently for their turns in the queue would be available in the vicinity- and that is the key to all the extended wishes, small talk and local gossip that went on endlessly across continents. I was the last one in the queue and everyone was sitting around the black telephone like wolves on the prowl when my turn came. Then started the conversation, which was so faked that I responded with ‘mmm’ and ‘ok’ to whatever was said to me. I should admit that this was child abuse of the worse kind. The relatives were not pleased with my monosyllables. Finally the person at the other end wished me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. To this, I exclaimed ‘Same!’ as the proficiency to say ‘wish you the same’ had not occurred to me and the fiercely anticipating relatives broke into a chorus of uncontrollable laughter. Quoting this incident became the prime hobby of certain morons that every time I visited, I was made a laughing stock citing this incident. I am not exaggerating this part, but it came as a surprise that once when I was doing my engineering and I visited my grandma, this same set of people repeated the ‘Same’ incident much to my horror and disbelief. Well was it so much of a joke that it should be remembered after fifteen years? Fifteen years ?!

Don’t get me wrong here; I am a light hearted person, who forgets the past quickly. I understand jokes and never take them seriously. However after all these years I cannot come to a logical reason as to why the ‘same’ episode needs to be revived every time I visit my grandma’s place. Not just revived it was remixed as well.

Yes I did retaliate in the best known way to make my point that I am not a fan of these jokes, especially the ‘same’ recitals. The illogical reasoning that followed was more appalling than that. It was said that I was a ‘small’ child, and my voice was ‘funny’ and that they ‘adored’ me, and hence the torture. I read that as 'We have no one else to humiliate, but you'.

 I went on to love English, read whatever Papa or my sister gave me, wrote articles in school and college magazines, started a blog, won prizes at my workplace and online competitions, and here I am. Whether the prolonged mockery helped me is not the point. The point is the importance of moral support and encouragement to a child. The levels of self confidence lost by a child once we mock them. I vowed never to laugh at a mistake or blunder made by my niece or my son, not only in English – but in whatever they come across in their academics or the world around them.

P.S: I did not borrow the above theme from Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. However I wonder whether someone stole my thoughts to make 'English Vinglish' :-|



25 comments:

  1. Anita,

    I can well understand this as I too have been butt of many jokes of what happened in childhood. But I look at it as fun and fond memories by those who felt close to me. So RELAX. However I do agree that we should not mock or ridicule children. We should support them and guide them.

    Take care

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    1. Yeah. It depends on who ridiculed me. They weren't very close. Blood relation does not define emotional bonding.

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    1. Correct. There is a sea difference between teasing and torturing.

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  3. I used to be that guy... the one who gets constantly ridiculed.. the fact was that my Malayalam was/is really bad. So you had all these relatives and neighbours taking free potshots at every chance- at times it was like a party game for them "say neindra pazham! say .." etc

    Just used to smile and oblige... in hindsight, should have rebelled back then itself.

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    1. Yes thats what...should have rebelled then..! Che missed the chance!

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  4. You said it.

    In my house hold when all maternal or paternal side get to be together. One needs to think twice before even expressing something, given that one is not strong mind/heart to take all the sarcasm/rubbish ready to flow in return.

    :), even children are now have seasoned for this. :)

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    1. in fact you can have fun in mistakes of my comments. No worries. :)

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    2. :-) It is good to know that this happens everywhere :-P

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  5. Anita this post has touched chord somewhere. When I was younger, people made fun of my color(I was and am dark), so much that I stopped going out to any relatives house. Most of the times, it is our 'own' set of relatives who enjoy inflicting this torture onto our minds. and you have not forgotten, even I have not! I remember the incidents the people everything, and yes that did bring a lot of inferiority complex in me, which I should say still exists for a small percentage. I dont think I would do that to any child.
    We think kids are immature and what do they know. But it is what we say at that age matters the most! Very well written!

    PS: I love that profile pic of yours!

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    1. Jenny, yes when relatives mock, it hurts. So imagine the hurt inflicted on me when my own mother once told me that I was ugly as compared to my cousins. I love my mother, but that is one thing I will never forget in all my life. I clearly remember where I sat, what she wore, and what time of the day it was when she said that. I was 14 years old then. If a relative can make u feel inferior, imagine the level of insecurity and inferiority that haunted me all my teenage and early youth...From this I know that one should never hurt kids...never!

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  6. You know one of the best things about blogging is that you realise you are not alone in your screw ups! We all have relatives who ridicule us based on what we did 10 or 15 years back. . They think it is just cute or funny to say such obsolete stuff. .

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    1. Seriously Rohan...I now can conclude that everyone has bad relatives! And I am happy to know that not just me , nooone forgot what they were teased for!

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  7. After reading this post, I realized even I was made fun of, during childhood.. But I dont remember what was it regarding.. :D

    Anyways, as you rightly mentioned, the point is to react to jokes in a better way. I use sarcasm as and when needed ;-) You have already out-qualified those childhood jokes and you have making a conscious effort not to induce it to the next generation :)

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    1. Haha so you have forgotten...but I have encountered some grave remarks which is difficult to forget :-( And yes, as you said, it gave me a valuable lessons - to treat children better, and not to ridicule them ever.

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  8. ohhh!!! I'm the youngest in my family too and I can write a book on what all I have been through!

    Some remarks remain forever in the mind. The only thing adults fail to understand then is that what happens during childhood is what an adult remembers the most.

    Life is funny at times.

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    1. Oh yes...mebbe I can contribute some instances from my life to that book ! LOL!

      Yeah some adults behave like they know nothing of children...as if they were born as adults.

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  9. Terrible I tell u these people are....Swayam nannavathumilla, matulavare nannavaam samadicathumilla;-S.
    I have been at the receiving end tooo....I even remember getting so desperate & calling one of them a bloody fool. I got thrashed for that but it was worth it;-D.

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    1. Oh I'd have got a feel of attaining salvation if I could call him that !

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  10. They did go overboard with that, I remember. N you are right with the self-confidence part.Only those who have experienced it, know the extent to which comments like this affect you. I am happy that none of this brought you down. Keep writing!

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    1. YEah you know best ! Thank you :-) I am proud of myself atleast on that!

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  11. Just the word 'SAME' ruined it all no? I cant even begin what all I am made fun of even now!!

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    1. Sometimes its funny..sometimes its plain irritating! Dont u think?

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