On my own

Like every school in the world, my one too had three kinds of people in it. One, the toppers and nerds, the guys who permanently occupy the first benches. Second were the giants and the bullies, whose basic reason to go to school was to bully others. Third and last were the weaklings, these were the ones who acted as punch bag to the bullies.

And allow me to introduce myself as the president of the third kind. Claps claps!

But I fortunately didn't hold that position for long. This post is all about how I retired from coward-land. Once I was gifted an iron-man water flask by my mother's brother who brought it for me from Singapore. I was little and was very happy with my new possession. The very next day I went to school, with that flask hanging on my neck. I was smiling all morning. But the smile stayed only until the Tiffin break. Because it was when the bullies came and snatched away my new flask from me.

It was not the first time that they took something that was mine. From pencils, pen to food items, they had snatched a lot of things from me. And every time I had remained silent, for they had warned me that if I complain then they would break my nose. I was genuinely afraid of them. So I never told my parents or teachers about it. In home, if dad enquired about where my belonging were, I would lie to him that I lost them somewhere.

But this flask was too precious to me. I was angry. When I came home that day, I told my parents everything about how the bullies at school took away my new flask. My mom instantly became angry at them and promised me that she would accompany me to school the next day and retrieve my flask. But dad seemed angry at me.

'No, you will not go,' He told mom and turned to me. 'We cannot help you. You lost it, so you have to get it back yourself. Stop being a coward,'

I cried. 'But dad...?'

'And yes, you will not get a new flask until you get that one back.'

I was stunned with dad words. How could he do that? How could he expect his little son to fight some big guys? Later as the evening approached, my anger grew. I was angry at the bullies but I was more angry at dad.

Next day, I went to school with nothing hanging from my neck. I would get my flask back, I had determined. When I spotted them in the playground, I approached them.

'He...e...lo...lo' I said to them.

'Hello! Jay,' The biggest and the fattest bully, Raj smirked.

I grew weak at my knees. No way I could fight them. They would crush me. 'I want my flask,' I said

'What are you talking about? Which flask?'

'The one that you took yesterday,' I managed to say.

'Oh! That one. We threw it at the pond,' Raj replied and all of them laughed.

You lost it, so you have to get it back yourself. Stop being a coward. Dad words echoed in my mind

'Return me my flask,' I angrily said. 'Or I will complain it to the principal,'

All of them laughed loudly. Raj came forward and held me by my collar. The others cracked their knucles.

Stop being a coward! Dad shouted again

'Arrrggh!,' I kicked Raj at his groin with all my might. He let go of my collar and cupped his crotch with his hands and sat down on the ground.

It took exactly twenty five seconds for the others to realise what happen, and then turned at me with killer looks. I turned back and ran. They ran after me. It was the first time I realised the advantage of being skinny, I was way too fast for the fat pigs. I didn't stop until I reached the teachers common room door.

I looked back, they were some two meters away. But none of them had angry looks. Instead it looked
like their eyes were pleading me to not go inside. They didn't move and so didn't I. The moment was funny, because the bullies looked really afraid.

A few minutes later, Raj came towards us. In his hands was my iron-man flask. He approached me and I step a few steped closer to the door.

'Relax,' He said. 'Take your flask. Don't complain.'

I was surprised but I let him come near me. He handed over the flask to me and muttered a inaudible sorry inside his mouth.

When school was over, I went back home with my flask. Dad patted me on my back. 'See! You did it on your own,'

I was so angry at dad when he refused to help me. But I now think, it is because of him that I no longer belong to that third kind. If mom had accompanied me to school to get my flask back, I am sure I wouldn't have been writing this post. Instead I would have been hiding under the bed.
And I kept wondering about why Raj was so afraid of me complaining to the teachers. I later learned that a lot of students had complained before me and he was in the ultimate warning.

And then, I was smiling

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