(An article dedicated to Drea Weiss who requested this article and brought out the creativity in me)
He grabbed me by the collar. His grip was really tight. I could feel the shirt tightening around my neck.
Soon my shirt became a noose that would soon leave marks around my 16 year old skin. But this was not about the dangers of a school shirt would cause my skin. It was about the harm this guy would leave on my young ego and my pride. In front of the whole commerce class he had pinned me against the wall. I wanted to hit back and I was about to…
But deep down with the fear in the pit of my stomach I knew, I just couldn’t. I knew even after all the exercise I secretly did in the four walls of my house – that too for months. All the so called super secretive Schwarzenegger exercises I was doing day and night, I was no match for this nine extra kgs of pure muscle who stood a couple of feet taller than me with 2 years ahead of my age.
And then the popular head boy of our school and the class monitor Nishad told me in the most sincere tone - Loy, don’t. You know that he will smash you if you even try to fight him….
In a split second I thought about it. For some reason ... This was one of those rare moments where my brain would process information really fast and yes, for my better ment…..I realized, what was told me was in fact the truth. I was clearly never going to beat him. At least in the muscle man fighter game….
I loosened my grip over his hand. I relaxed my shoulders. And he with a sense of pride and achievement of being the Alpha male, let go of my collar with a victorious sarcastic grin written all over him. And a victory walk and a big fan group admiring, his triumph over another loser in the class room.
I hated myself. Simply hated myself.
I wanted to be the man…But here I was….. A poo poo
Couldn’t I stand up against him? Couldn’t I just do something? Couldn’t I do anything?
Suku Sudhakaran - my childhood school mate - one of the biggest influences of my life was also my Achilles heel throughout my school life. At every single moment, I would have a scuffles with him and he coming out victorious. He made no secret of his utter dislike for me. And I guess I too didn’t leave anything to chance
An all time well rounded athlete, he was the true bred alpha male. And I was his part time entertainment. He did all sorts of stuff…
He had kept away my school shirt once secretly while we all had gone for playing football. He had whacked me on the back of my head once. He pushed me around frequently….And he did it very well I must add….
I guess the only revenge I ever took against him was when he once smashed eggs on my back, while playing football, and then out of anger I came back to the empty class room angry. I dug into his backpack, found a nice new pair of sun glasses (which even today I found out of taste actually) and I scratched his sun glasses thoroughly by rubbing them on the ground. And when he returned back and found them damaged, he looked around and asked….
He knew it was me. And I wanted him to know it was me…
He tried complaining to the teacher of the following class, Mrs. Pereria our English teacher, who for the most odd reasons openly stated that I was at fault..not him. He even came home to complain to my step-father who for once in his life supported me and threatened to call the police if he even came to the house to complain against me.
So he withdrew and left me along….
With one small score he could never settle.. And victory I would cherish for a long time….So that was it…
My school life ended…and so did the bully in my life….
That was me... many years ago. Many many many years ago
That was me 49 kgs ago. 14 years later…..
Body building, excessive eating and consistent physical activity of muscle building made me grow into a 110 kgs over sized guy. By sheer chance I managed to get hold of a school friend who gave me Suku’s number. I called him up
Trust me I was nervous…though I was 30 year old…
With joy and tears, I called up Suku. And even before he could swallow what was happening, I told that poor confused buddy of mine, what an impact he had on my life. And how he bullying me changed me for the better. I am sure he found my call weird.
But boy….was I dying to talk to him…And I said it all…
But deep down..I still wanted to meet him…A wish that did get fulfilled….A few more months later I bumped into Suku. Not face to face…but rather a bit afar….near a cinema hall as I was going up the escalator, and he was going down. I saw him, I recognized him….I shouted his name out.
He saw me, I saw him. I told him hi. This is loy….
He said hi….
We didn’t say much
Just hi…..and bye
Though when I looked at him he was in a hurry for his movie….but man….he was also so skinny, snd I was like…Wasn’t he supposed to be bigger? Larger? More massive?
I looked at him. He was…I mean…..skinny!!! My bully was so…er….normal!
And I asked myself….This guy used to beat me???
I wanted to meet him. Not to harm him or fight him….
Please….I am too gentle for all that….He was my school buddy…And I loved him for the memories we shared….But yeah…I just wanted to meet him…
But I guess he was in a mood for a movie. He moved off…
To be honest, it did feel good to know that yes I was the victim and now I was super strong and big…. I walked feeling a wee bit superior…But that was short lived….
One day on Facebook again….
I bumped into a guy named Ravi Challa over the addictive face book. Another school friend of mine. A few years my junior. And this is where he shocked me. He reminded me how I used to bully him, beat him and bruise him. Not only him, but him and all his friends. This was way way way back when I was in my 3rd or 4th standard. Much before Suku became my bully….
And for a split second that seemed to last forever. I was shocked. I was like….me???
I was a bully? A guy who always thought he was a nice guy? Me?
And when I dug deep, I realized yes, Bloody hell…..I too was a bully! I did beat up these boys for no reason. I did hit others for no reason. I did push my weight around……
And for the strangest time in my life I honestly felt ashamed. I mean, I used to think I was always a good guy. Now here was a friend of mine who reminded me, that no, I was the bully in his life….
I most sincerely apologized to him. I really did…
While he just laughed it off and told me I was a special memory in his life…. I reflected and thought….How many times are we the victim knowingly?
And even more so how many times do we victimize others unknowingly? Who are the people we bully in our lives while we do nothing but sympathize with ourselves that yes, we are being bullied?
I thought about Suku and realized with he being my bully, he actually blessed my life, make me stronger, sharper and smarter. Made me realize life was not all that great and I had to be competitive. He made me better and pushed me to be even more better.
And as far as my role as a bully goes, I guess I got what I deserved in my latter years …..a bully even better, bolder and badder.
For the times I bullied others, I was ashamed. And for the times I got bullied, I guess I was blessed….
So as far as my bully goes, I am glad I had one.
I think at times we all need one. Because knowingly or unknowingly we are all at times…..at some point in our lives ...
Either bullied…or ourselves…..A bully.