Stand up, fight back; #Bullying seems common, but what is it?

Stand up, fight back was the topic of an article appeared in The Hindu of March 5, 2018 (EDGE page 3). Written by Ananthalakshmi Sekhar.

Bullies exist everywhere; nip their advances in the bud says the highlight of this article.

Bullying seems common, but what is it?

It is verbal or physical abuse with aliases being “intimidate”, harass. It is the sadistic feeling of joy one enjoys when victimizing the vulnerable target.

Who is bullied more- men or women? Bullying knows no gender; although women are easy targets, sometimes, men have no escape either.

It happens everywhere.

Reasons for bullying range from bigoted attitudes, poor upbringing, insecurity, aesthetic appeal, employment, earnings and more. Irrespective of the fitting reason behind this vilifying act, not all emerge stronger.

It is so strong that sometimes many have altered their circadian clock to end themselves. So how you handle bullying?

Say no to self-pity. Writer goes on to describe her own experiences and her attempts to overcome all that.

Those suffering bullying, remember, seeking assistance helps. Talk to your close friend or confidante, else to a professional. If bullied, speak out boldly to let your trauma known. Do not despair; with mental strength, you can fight back. Becoming vulnerable victims is not an effective solution.

Article ends there.

Since childhood I had been victim of bullying. Till recently, I did not know how to term that feeling now I know I was being bullied. Earlier in some writing that I have read that was equated as something due to peer pressure.

Since very beginning I started liking to dance. I don’t remember when for the first time I danced. But I do remember one incident when in Ganeshgunj, Lucknow we used to stay at ancestral home with a joint family. One song came on radio, Hawa me udta jai mera lal dupatta malmal ka. I still hear those voices in my ears.  Few people started calling loudly dance kamles dance and started clapping. I remember I was dancing on this song. Whenever this song came on radio I was encouraged to dance. I don’t know if dancing (making movements with music) came to me naturally?

Later as I grew up and started attending school at IITKanpur campus, one sport teacher spotted my talent. He used to encourage me to dance. In physical education period that was known to us as PT period, he would ask me and few others to show their talents. I used to sing and dance. Many times my PT sir praised me and my talent. So I felt special within myself. But on the other side all the class mates, more so all boys started bullying me. They used to comment on me. Few equated me with dancing girls. I was called The nauch girl, randi, tawaif, nachnewali. Few were more kind they called me hizra(eunuch) . Few friends called me a “girl”. All this happened because I used to dance.

In school few songs of mine were very famous. Nazar Lagi raja tore bangle par, inhi logon ne le lina dupatta mora and thare rahiyo banke yaar re from film pakeezah. I started iconizing Meena Kumari ji. Thus boys used to say “Thare Rahio” or “nazar lagi raja”.

I was nick named as gaurayia. It is common name of sparrow.

Later when I reached class VII or so while playing kabaddi, the boys tried to gag me and few tried to see whether I have male sex organs or not? When I went to other side on my turn, few elder boys caught me and pushed me down on ground. I heard them telling to younger boys that I am holding his hands and legs you just see in his pants whether he has that organ etc.

Meanwhile as I was growing up such miss adventures also were growing around me. So much was apprehension inside me, that while going out to buy something from market, if I saw those boys in the street, I had to change my direction. Or I had to stay back and wait for some time till they go away. There was a house of Agn….ri .and Du…e. Most of terrorists used to live those houses. I mean we were so much terrorized due to boys of those house.

Later we shifted to type two and came into high school. Then my classmates grew more mischievous. Few called me Bulbul, “nach meri bulbul paisa milega”. One gang sang “tauba eh matwali chaal”.

I grew up amidst such group of boys. Few boys didn’t take me seriously at all. I mean I didn’t have any say in that group or gathering. But I didn’t left my passion for dance.

Being born in a family that lived within a society, I cannot imagine that my family could have broken norms of society. I still feel that my father was very brave. I can’t imagine how much pressure he would have gone through accepting me and my passion for dance. Many times he voiced his anger and concerns on my habit of dancing. I really feel how great he was. His peer group might have commented or laughed at him while targeting me. He is most courageous man. He never directly stopped me, but few times alerted me.

Had we got some kind of facility of learning dance or music nearby our house, we would have got enrolled and could have learnt many things. It was beyond imagination of our family that a boy travelling few kilometres away from home just to learn dance. Such things were not considered good even in 1970s.

But yes, our family never desist or restricted me or my sisters from taking part in co-curriculum activities in school.

One neighbour with whom we used to leave keys of our house also commented once. We had so much trust on him and his family, as I said we used to leave keys of our house with them. He said “your father will have difficulty in arranging your marriage”. He said this due to the fact that I used to dance and I was famous as “A boy who dance”? Whatever were his thoughts about me, it didn’t really matter to me back then nor today.

Most of my peer group might have had some perceived thoughts about me. One classmate used to take my notebooks to complete his works. Once I went to house to talk to him, as our exams were very near. As I crossed one window, I overheard something, His mother whom I addressed as Aunty (with respect, as we were always taught to address other elders respectfully) she said he is not home. That was the last day I talked to him. Now he lives in USA, his daughters are learning Bharatnatyam. He daily used to comment on me. I have not made him friend on Facebook.

Few others are also living in USA and their daughters are doing dance. But when those girls were in my class they laughed at me. Now they are proud mothers of girls who dance Bharatnatyam.

One Marathi professor was there. He seemed to be on forefront in all cultural activities in campus, mostly classical music. But once I saw he strictly stopped his daughter from taking part in one program on stage. He was class conscious.

When I had to attend Degree College in Kanpur, I had to take bus to go to city. Many boys together went to college. On the way they commented on me. I could do nothing as I was one and alone among all those boys.

When I was student of IIT then also on few occasions I felt such bullying. The only cause was that I used to dance. I loved to dance. There was a group of ladies, they organized cultural activities in campus. I remembered once there was a dance drama “Chitrangada” of RabindraNath Tagore. One day I was asked to take part in dance sequence, there were few more boys. But I was chosen to dance on “Mohini maya elo” and I was told to choreograph few movements for the group. After few rehearsals, suddenly one day i was told that dance sequence will not be staged (or that sequence will not be part of this ballet). I think they tried to rope in my sisters and as a lollipop they might have thought to play this dirty game with me. I am at liberty to apply my mind and my perception to things happened with me.

Thus I imagined, what might have been the cause behind this bullying?

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