A Superhero, Maybe

While coming back home yesterday after meeting with a friend, a little girl crossed my path who looked at me and smiled.  She then stopped me and told me that she had seen me before. I apologized to her telling that I couldn’t remember who she was. She smiled and told me, “A superhero like you can’t remember all the people you rescue right?”

I was confused. Why would she call me a superhero? I was pretty sure she had mistaken me for someone else but then she told me how is it she had met me and it all made sense.

Two months ago an incident had taken place below my building. I was looking after my brother in a play area built for children where I saw two girls occupying the only two swings that are there. One girl must be around 15 years old and the other one must be 14. My equation with the 15 year old has never been good as we clash a lot. Now you can’t expect me to be on good terms with someone who has a lot of ego and gets happiness from plotting against her own friends right?
I was looking after my brother when I heard a girl cry. I turned around to find that there was a little girl who was crying because she wanted to sit on the swing but those two girls weren’t allowing her. The 15 year old was screaming at this tiny little girl telling her that the swing is hers and she won’t give it to the girl. The little girl was bawling her eyes out and she walked away when the 15 year old stood up and told her, “Come here girly. You can have the swing.” I was so happy to see that this girl finally got some sense knocked into her head as the little girl came running back. But obviously I was wrong.
What this big girl did was sit back on the swing as soon as the little one came back. Upset, the little one walked away and the 15 year old stood up again and called her back. The little one came running back and what did the 15 year old do? She sat again. She repeated this routine of hers for around 3 times until the little one eventually had a breakdown. The 15 year old then was telling her friend, “Oh my God look at this kid man! At such a young age she’s acting so brilliantly. Look at the crocodile tears dude. Haha kid you can be a star!” Her friend just laughed with her.

I couldn’t bear it. My eyes were filled with tears as I saw those two girls torment and bully that kid. I walked up to them and screamt at them. This is what happened :

“Is this your swing? Who are you to tell me? I came here first!”

“This isn’t your swing either. You may have come first but you’ve played long enough. This kid is literally begging you and you are bullying her? Are you not human?”

“I’m the one sitting here. It’s my wish.”

“”Get up and let her play. You have to.”

“And what if I don’t?”

“I can’t do anything. But I can only hope that you have a little humanity in you. I know you are smart. Put your brain into use for something good – for once. I know you love bullying kids but I will not stand here and see you do that. She’s a kid and you are elder to her. Do you really want to set a bad image for yourself? I know you don’t care about anyone but yourself. I’m standing here screaming at you for this kid. At least respect my concern, if not me. Can’t I expect something good from you for once?”

Her friend finally decided to speak and this is what we spoke :

“It’s that kid’s fault! Can’t she see that we are playing here? We’ve been playing here for an hour. We are here elders. She can’t respect us?”

“How is it this kid’s fault just tell me? Because she wants to play on the swings that you and your friend have captured and are declaring your property? Let me remind you that these swings are made for kids to play not for teenagers like us. You want respect? Show some respect yourself. I’m elder to you and look at the way you treat me. Respect works two ways. You simply can’t just stand here and demand respect that too from a kid. Give respect and you’ll get respect. Simple as that.”

The 15 year old took her friend and walked away. I told them that if they want to talk behind my back then they don’t need to as they can talk whatever shit they want right in front of me. They just responded with “whatever” and went along.

All this time I din’t see the girl who was standing there all along. When I finally turned around, I saw her gleaming with joy. I made small talk with her as she was playing. When she told me that she was 4 years old, it broke my heart. I witnessed a 15 year old torture a 4 year old mentally just for a swing. What is our world coming to?

The day’s incident is crystal clear in my memory. That’s how I remember the conversations so well. I guess it’s because I don’t get to witness such incidents on a daily basis. And I so hope I never have to.

This girl called me a ‘superhero’ because that day I saved her from all that trash. She told me that now those two girls never trouble her in whatsoever way and I’m just so glad.

But me and a superhero? Really?

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A superhero would mean that I always do good. But honestly speaking, I see myself as a villain. You see, I’ve never liked those two girls. This was my opportunity to blast them off. Verbally of course but in my mind I visualize it something like this :

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And by this if someone else is benefited, then I’m going to consider this as a bonus!

It hurts me so much to think that a 4 year old could be bullied this badly by someone from the same generation as I am. What has happened to humanity? Can someone really get so much of happiness from bullying a kid?

That kid now believes that there is good out there in the world. Growing up her belief in that is most likely to get destroyed, just like how mine is. There are good people out there but the bad overshadows it. She’ll learn that not everything is right in the world, but I don’t want her to learn it now. At this age every kid feels that the world is full of rainbows and butterflies, that fairies are real and magic isn’t just an illusion. I don’t want her innocence to go away this soon. She’s a kid and I want her to enjoy her fairy-tale world – a world where superheroes exist. That phase is a wonderful one. She’ll learn what she has to when she grows up.

I can only hope that no one else will want to snatch her world away from her. From any kid for that matter. They’re just kids for God’s sake. They shouldn’t be subjected to bullying and mental torture especially when they don’t even know what it is they are going through. Let them be.

Languages

So its been quite some time that I’ve shifted to India from U.A.E. and I’m still having trouble settling in. Its not as easy as we thought it was and time by time my mom will say, “Let’s just go back to U.A.E. now. This place is getting out of my hands.” If my mom is saying that, then you can understand I guess how much difficulty we are having staying here!

There are the obvious things we are having trouble adapting to like the changed environment, lifestyle, mosquitoes etc. But one of my personal difficulty is language. So I thought that today might be a good day to elaborate on that. Let’s get to it now shall we?

When I was 8 months old my parents took me to this wonderful country called U.A.E. and well, I’ve spent my entire childhood there and also most of my teenage years. So I’m brought up in an environment with diverse cultures and different languages speaking people. So the language that was given most importance to me was English because it helps me to converse with any type of people. And then at home I was taught the language that comes from the place I belong. But in school I was taught India’s national language – Hindi. Somehow that last part is what people here forget.

Over there when I was to converse with anyone, it’d be English, with elderly people its Hindi and then sometimes at home the language of my state. So I know all the languages. But most of the people here think I don’t know Hindi. They think I can’t even understand it! I know I talk a lot in English, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know Hindi. I can very well talk so. And also understand.

Quite a while back one person cracked a joke in Hindi. It was funny and since everyone was laughing, they din’t hear me laughing. And then one person asked me, “You understood right? Want me to explain what was being said right now?” I got really furious because this happening way too much with me. I said, “You know what? I’ve learnt Hindi for 10 years. I’ve aced my Hindi exams and was the one who represented my class for Hindi speeches and reading competitions. Do you really think I don’t understand Hindi?” And she replied, “I thought you don’t know because you’re from Dubai!”

One of my neighbors likes to show off a lot. So whenever she speaks to me she speaks in English and her English isn’t very good. One day by mistake she spoke to me in Hindi and I replied in Hindi and she says to me, ” You know Hindi? Wow. I din’t know! Did you learn it now when you are here?” I replied, “No aunty. I know Hindi quite well. So can speak from a very long time.” She then said, “Oh my! You’re from Dubai right? So how can you know Hindi?”

This is exactly how I react to everyone with all these assumptions that I don’t know Hindi. Reaction in my mind at least….

Just because I don’t speak in Hindi more often, doesn’t mean I don’t KNOW Hindi. Just because I spent my growing years in a foreign country, doesn’t mean I don’t know my national language. Do you all really think that because my parents brought me up in a country other than my native one, I don’t know the language of my country and don’t know my traditions? (Yes, they think that too. They think I celebrate American traditions. How is America and U.A.E. related? They’re not even in the same continent!!) Its getting kind of offensive towards me, and I can’t tolerate that.

I wonder why these people don’t assume the same thing about my mom though….