Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The bully

The final examination for class 12 was a few weeks away. It was lunch time. I was sitting alone in the prayer hall where the students assembled daily in the morning. I saw Durai coming towards me. He is a school bully, tall, muscular, unruly hair and a copper bracelet on the wrist. Except for his cronies, the boys and girls gave a wide berth to him. Short in temper he was given to picking quarrels for flimsy reasons and turning violent. A back bencher he fared poorly in studies. The teachers too, given the fact that his dad was a local politician, did not trouble him. But he was good in Karate and had some belt.
I knew why he was coming towards me. I had warned him two days back to stay away from Sumitra our class mate. Whenever she walked past him, he made some indirect or indecent comments or sang film songs with double meaning much to the amusement of his buddies and embarrassment to her. Sometime he will try to indulge in inane talks with her. When she could tolerate it no more, she confided in me.
I have been studying with Sumitra for the last four years and there was nothing special between us except as class mates till we came to class 12.It was the beginning of the academic year and as I am wont to I sought refuge during lunch time in this corner of the prayer hall. There were none in the large hall except for some students passing through the hall at the other end. I was sort of dozing with my eyes half closed when a whiff of jasmine fragrance wafted across me. I opened my eyes to see Sumitra standing before me with some books in her hand. I smiled at her and arched my brows as if to ask what brought her to me.
“I have some doubt in geometry and unable to solve a few riders. I was initially hesitant but decided to come to you as you are a topper in the class” she said softly
“Sit down and show me the questions” I replied.
She sat on the bench a little away and spread the notebook on her lap. She opened the page in the geometry book and showed me the problems.
They were simple and I took the note book from her and drew the diagrams. She came closer to me craning her neck to see what I wrote. Her hair with jasmine concealed in it almost brushed my face. The intoxicating smell, the close proximity of a feminine figure was something new to me triggering unexplained feelings in me. As I was explaining the diagram and the construction needed to solve the problem, her hand brushed against me. I stopped explaining momentarily and she looked at me quizzically.
“I hope you do not mind my troubling you now and then like this, Raju. Things are clearer to me” she said with a shy smile
“Not at all. It is a pleasure to be of help to you. You can always approach me”
“Did you say a pleasure?” she said as she flashed a smile and scurried away.
There was a song in my heart as I got up looking at the receding beautiful girl.
The next day she came and thrust a note book saying “I have to rush. I have the unsolved problems in calculus. I will collect it tomorrow. I hope you won’t mind”
I opened the note book after she was gone and a peacock feather fell down. I smiled to myself. I inwardly knew that her getting her doubts cleared was only a pretext to be with me.
The exchange of note books with rose petals, flowers and small notes with names written graphically became a routine though we had not mentioned that we were in love with each other. The day before she mentioned about Durai, she said she would be joining SSM engineering college and wished that I also did the same.”We can be together for four more years. Choose ECE.”
I asked her mischievously “What about after four years? Won’t you like to be together?”
She said “Chee, chee “and ran away.
I was woken up from my reverie when I found Durai lifting me by my collar and dragging me outside the prayer hall to the gate. There were his buddies and many students standing in a circle’
“You skinny cheapster, who the hell are you to warn me to stay away? What is she to you?” he shook my body violently.
When I did not reply partly shaken by fear, he flexed his muscles and punched me in my face. There were laughter from his buddies and horror in the looks of other students.
“Are you dumb? Open your mouth if you wish to save your life” thundered Durai in rage.
I smelt blood and looked around. Another blow landed on me like a sledge hammer. I fell down. Someone came running towards me.
”Don’t anyone dare to come near us. It is a private quarrel or shall I say duel? I have decided to end the issue once and for all” he roared
Turning towards me he asked “Is she your lover? How close are you to her, you rascal? Keep away from her. Do you understand?”
I knew I cannot fight with him and he only wanted me to resist him so he can hit me more. My silence infuriated him so much that he kept raining blows on me even as I lay on the ground cowered in fear. Things turned black and I felt going unconscious.
It was then I heard faintly Sumitra’s shrieking voice “Stop it, Durai.I had only asked him to tell you. I have nothing for him. Leave him alone”
“Why are you so concerned about him? Are you in love with him?”Durai shouted
“I told you I have no love for him. I feel bad because he gets beating for what I asked him to do. In fact I do not like him at all. He is a puny book worm and nothing more. I beg you to leave him alone”
Durai gave one final kick and went away laughing with his buddies in the knowledge that Sumitra did not love me. I lay there shattered not by the blows of Durai but by the hurt and disbelief caused by Sumitra’s words. Are all the exchanges and interactions since the beginning of the year a deception, I wondered?
Both avoided each other studiously and I could see a spring in Durai’s walk after that violent incident.
The day after the final examinations were over, Anusha a common friend came home and gave me an envelope.”Please read this and I will come in the evening to collect your reply.Sumi is such a nice girl. You will understand” said Anusha before leaving.
“My dear Raju,
You must be having a very low opinion of me and I understand that. I could not bear that brute hitting you like a murderer overcome by jealousy that I love you. He has seen us together many times and always talked derogatingly of you. The only way I thought I could save you from being killed was by proclaiming that I hated you and satisfy his ego.
Please understand and forgive me. These days of silence between us have been a torture. I am looking forward to spending four years at the college with you and who knows thereafter? Send me a line through Anusha that you have forgiven me and that I could always come to you with problems in mathematics, lol
Love, S”
As I jumped in joy and made a jig, my mom entered the room and asked me “Why are you dancing, Raju? Any good news?”
I hugged my mom and said nothing with a smile.



23 comments:

  1. Too good KP sir - I could guess the ending - but the simple and believable narration is excellent :) - Regards - Mahesh!

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  2. Your narration makes it real! Simple & nice!
    Good One KP.

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  3. That is a lovely story Sir.. I enjoyed reading it ..

    Bikram

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  4. Nice story! I had so many emotions as I was reading this story. Anger for Sumitra, pity for Raju, disgust at Durai. You weave the story so beautifully. Such a simple story told so beautifully. Very nicely written.

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  5. The ending is very soothing and encourages hope.

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  6. Excellent story Mr. KP. I liked it. However, I would like to analyze it. Hope you will excuse me.

    I personally do not approve of Sumitra telling Durai she does not love Raju. If she does not stand by her man, then what is the point. If the situation is reversed, Durai is harassing Sumitra, will Raju tell Durai he does not love Sumitra and run away from the scene? What kind of a man he is if he cannot protect his woman even at the cost of his life.

    Suppose in the future, after they both get married, and this bully comes and harass Raju, will Sumitra tell Durai she does not love her husband and run away from the scene? There are some situations where we have to stand up against certain things at all cost even at the cost of our life.

    But again, this is only a fiction. I understand Mr. KP.

    Would like to tell about a real incident that happened in USA recently about a school bully.
    A school boy was bullied by his class mate. The mother of the boy complained to the Principal in the parents’ meeting. The Principal said your son happens to be in front of the bully and there is nothing I can do about it. The mother gave a huge hard slap in the cheek to the Principal in front of all parents. She said: I am angry now and you happen to stand in front of me. There is nothing I can do about it.

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  7. Good narration made the story reading interesting, Partha Sir!

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  8. Nice story, KP. well written :)

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  9. The ending could have been different - doesn't have that usual surprise factor (doesn't have to, always!). The story is good and believable. Though I am not sure how many schools will allow bullies to indulge in violence in/near the school premises.

    Destination Infinity

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  10. I'm glad that it ended with a happy note but the bully should have been taught a lesson.

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  11. Nice story. I liked the pace though I was hoping for the bully to get some beating.

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  12. Gripping. A simple love story, that is dripping with emotions.

    After I enjoyed reading the story, I went through it again.When I reached the end, where Anusha hands over an envelope containing Sumi's letter, I wondered in which time period this story was set. Just curious. My first thought was that it was set in the pre-mobile phone, Whatsapp era. Because it was during those days that there was a third party coming in passing on chits and notes. Today's generation is more forthright with these emotions.

    But, there is an indication you have left in that letter, which tells me that these young ones are of this present generation. The clue is 'lol' at the end of the letter. Someone this day, writing with pen on paper 'lol', must be rare indeed.

    But, that's perfectly plausible. That bit of the story, I believe, reinforces the romanticism of the paper and envelope, and getting common friends to act as bridges when the going is tough.

    Good one. :-)

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    1. Yes,Sir, I should not have used lol.Thank you for pointing out.
      I wished to write to you and was looking for your emil ID in your blog.

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  13. Sweet little love story. :-)
    And I just read the previous comments and Pradeep Nair's comment above caught my attention. The 'lol' at the end of the letter caught my attention too. But I believe this generation somehow is unable to experience what we (the paper/pen generation) experiences through written letters and verbal phone calls. I somehow feel this entire texting business has ruined the emotional quotient.

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    1. Yes,Rekha,Mr Nair's point is well taken.Thanks for drawing my attention.

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  14. You master story teller have done it again,what a narration! I thought I was watching a Shashi kumar or Samudrakani movie :-))

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  15. Nice one. Glad to see you posting again.

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  16. She smartly saved her loved one.
    Do hope terrible bullies like Durai are not there in this world, Sir.
    Great story :)

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  17. Beautiful story with very realistic incidents and emotions!

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  18. i totally admire your narration skills :) though I felt sad when she lies to save him from Durai, it ended well though, on a happy note :)

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  19. Really nice story. Young love blossoming...!! But let me tell you that bullys are not all back benchers or big made fellows like Durai. Many bullys are decent students and might also be front benchers or teacher's pet. Their modus operandi is psychological bullying.

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  20. Loved the Story. The issue of Bullies is something which people have to know about.!

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  21. I am fascinated by the gripping narration as well as the different perspectives this story has brought out from your readers, this shows the ability of a master story teller to ignite the sentiments and emotions towards various characters. Lovely story but yes I tend to agree that the climax was a foregone conclusion.

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