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How have I bullied many...

Athul Mohan T M

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          "He started going to the school with an iron pipe. Paid back all the emotional debt with that. Equal shares to the neighbours as well."

          Life is a process that needs education and unlearning. Growing up as a bad example is difficult. I am such an example.

 

          I have been thinking about Akhil Unni ever since I understood my life became weird, I have ruined a great chunk of it with my usual- delayed decisions. I have even started feeling these difficulties as repercussions of the things I have done in the past. Maybe I need some good time to think and sort it out.

          All of us have bullied him; in different manners. We used to call him 'Koththaalunni" (tadpole) Even his family was not concerned much. His father- a supplier at a busy toddy bar and mother, a mentally challenged person from the time of  her father's demise. Their home was a haunting photograph for many of us. We always met him in dirty clothes without any sign of the definition of hygiene. We met him in the morning trying to roam around the front yard of our houses or below our tamarind tree. We have had a team, most of us from the neighbourhood and never wanted to include him with us because we found him different. He followed us everywhere with a request to include him in the team. One afternoon he saw us preparing to go to the stream where we used to go for a swim. He ran to his home and returned with a towel and all set to swim. We were passing comments, making fun of him with dirty references and all. We met one of our neighbors passing by with his air gun. He was famous among young chaps with his bike stunting skills and notorious deeds among the locality. We requested him to do a fake gunshot on Akhil.  Akhil was crying and begging to all of us not to do so. The trigger moved and everyone was bursting out in laughter. There was a gunshot without a pellet. Akhil was in total paranoia. He screamed and we made him believe that there are drops of blood on his cheat and the pellet can be found inside. The story didn't end there.  Someone from us ripped off his towel and made that 15-year-old boy run all the way to his home stark naked.

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          Once my father took the initiative to get him a consultation with a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist claimed that this young boy is normal but his mental development was almost similar to that of a 10-year-old child.

          The gap between him and us grew wider day by day. We heard stories from the neighbours that he started eating raw fish and continuously peeping through the bathroom door when his young sister was inside. He started to take revenge on his classmates by the time he was in 10th class. All those who were

mocking were on his list. He went to the school with an iron pipe. paid back all the emotional debt with that. Later, he started hurting small kids by throwing stones and gradually created his identity into a social threat. His father was under pressure and which made him to shift his son to hospitals and rehabilitation centers. None of us were not broadminded to understand the situation. However, we made an attempt to be friendly to him for a while. then he attacked me. My father went to his house and made a total mess. On the next day, Akhil came and met my father on the road and apologized to him. That didn't work. The last time I saw him was when I was attending his mother's funeral. He looked so strange. The medicines and treatments made transformed him into something else.

          I am equally responsible for the loss of someone's life. As a part of a society with the least awareness, I couldn't do anything else. Later I understood that his psychological condition was more like ADHD. Most of the members from our neighborhood team shifted to other places. I am not sure any of them remember him except his family.   

What was the problem here? We all were teenage boys with least of a maturity. Our parents were not bothered to teach us the things in its proper dimensions.  The normalization was a forbidden fruit. None was ready to invest time in educating children about these elements. The elders were commonly saying "his dad was a Xerox when he was a child". With that the villagers were trying to say this child was also supposed to behave so or is behaving so. The social change is such a complex one which has limited the lives of many.   

 

"This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this article are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental."