Right from my childhood days, I have noticed that kids were/are the cruelest. No, I am not saying kids are evil or any such unforgivable thing... Am referring to how they can really hurt someone with their words/actions... During my junior school days, I would walk on the road or be in school and have random kids on the street and my classmates/schoolmates make fun of me… They wouldn’t hesitate to call me names and invariably it was associated with an animal or a vegetable.
Big Brinjal [gundu kathirikai]
were the ones commonly used. Infact, I used to shy away and walk fast when crossing a certain section of the road or when I see a bully in the vicinity. I guess it also hit my self-confidence during those growing years. Above it all, I always thought it was because of the small town we lived in that people behaved this way and this wasn’t how it was in big cities.
Oh, how wrong was I. To my dismay I found kids in Chennai as bad if not worse than those in smaller towns. Here not only would they smirk and make fun, but they also would outlaw you. They would not include you in their gang or even let you sit with them on the same table during lunch. It is exactly like what we see in Foreign TV shows and movies.
Not only kids, but I found adults too had a way of making you feel conscious. They would meet you at home/outside and the first thing they would point out is your weight. “Oh, you look like you have piled on some eh…. Been busy gorging on those sweets over the holidays is it?” – ha if only, then i would atleast have a reason for the extra pounds, am the kind whose body will add em just by looking at the word "food" printed on a magazine... or “The dress is tad tight no, wear something else, something loose”- yea more like a pillow case… or “oho, still not married ah, I guess if you lose a few kilos it would make a difference and you would be married in no time”- ya right, the world is full of guys with stars in their eyes dreaming of a skimpy sexy babe. And then there are those pesky family members who make sure to find you, make a beeline towards you, and pass a comment about your weight. It is almost like they have a special radar that goes "beep beep beep" the minute you walk into the venue/home/function.
It is one of the reasons why I hated and avoided going for family functions. Did I mention I am tall as well? Yes, am nearly 6ft tall, so am quite hard to miss!! :D
But one thing that has stuck with me is that I never ever poke[d] fun at anyone- be it someone big or small, tall or short, fair or dark, etc etc… And I dint care, nor do I care now about a person’s appearance, what they wear, where they live, how much money they make or what kind of skin they have…. It seriously doesn’t matter. To me, all that matters is if I get along with the person or not. If I do, super, I strike up a conversation and all that jazz, else I smile and walk away.
Over the years when I grew up, learnt how to turn a deaf ear to anyone who mocked/teased a big thing I have noticed with kids is that they imitate what their parents/adults around them do. They follow them to the T.. If you don’t believe me, try slipping in a swear word or something stupid and see how fast they pick it up, not only that they will also remember and use it as often as possible, much to your embarrassment….
Just as with everything else, this too begins at home. Children do/imitate what they see around them. If someone older than them is doing something, then it must be right, therefore it gets copied instantly. But what kids don’t realise [well that is why they are kids] is that their actions have impact on others. Yes, till the age of 5/6 they don’t really think or know what they are doing. But beyond that, they continue doing what they did cos their mom/dad/uncle/aunt/cousin/someone else around them did it and got away with it or all it did was made them laugh.
When I walk on the road, I see school girls point, smirk, giggle, pull their friends, share the joy and it becomes like a chain.. just doesn’t stop, not until you don’t see them anymore! In supermarkets ad other places kids poke fun, shout out a comment or whisper something to their mom and the duo look at you and laugh. I have actually gone up to the parent and asked them what was funny, if I had jam on my face or had grown an extra pair of ears. They don’t know what to say or do, they quickly walk away.
So, how about teaching your kids what is right and wrong, teach them about correct touch and bad touch.. Do not imbibe in them the concept of making fun of someone just cos they look different. Do not scare them saying “if you keep eating ice cream, you will become fat like that aunty, or if you don’t watch what you eat, you will become ugly like that uncle”…
If you are to argue saying the parents whose kids mock are likely to be uneducated, I just might slap you. Most times, I find educated is a word we use to hide behind. It is invariably parents/kids from “educated” background who mock others. They seem to think they are King/queen of the world and others are all weird or queer.
Damn, did not realize I have written so much. All am trying to say is “Parents, teach your kids to be strong, smart, learn how to deal with the world and be nice to everyone [maybe you should also learn these in the process and change]!!