Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Sting and the Slap

This is one incident which will never fade away from my memory...I was told about this by a friend of mine. This was her experience. She verbalised it and contextualised it. But I remained troubled by it. Many a time in the past couple of years, I had to prevent myself from writing about it. But somehow, the pain of the child and the mother felt very real to me. The best way I could deal with it was by writing about it. I often wondered however - what was preventing me from doing so? Is it because, we never acknowledge this? Do we choose to look the other way? Or, do we dress it up in words that dismiss the true significance of such things? A child running towards a kite was stopped by a famous person. He had felt slighted that the child had not responded to his hugs and wanted to 'discipline' him. My friend could not reach immediately because this was a family gathering. But before she realised, things had happened. Whatever, in the midst of an otherwise mundane day, with me achieving practically nothing of value, I found my release.

His tiny mind,
Only five and a half,
Had never felt ever,
A stinging slap.

So, he was surprised
For a split second,
Coz he hadn't seen
That slap coming.

His eyes started filling,
As one tear trickled down.
But the boy in him,
Stood his ground.

Fighting back the tears he
Searched as far as he could see.
Only to notice his mother
As stunned as he'd been.

He felt the slap,
She felt the sting,
How, he didn't know but
They were both crying.

He could feel himself,
Being picked up by his mother.
And heard an angry retort,
Being given to that famous doctor.

He had seen a kite
And wanted to see it fly,
So he'd been running
Towards the terrace all excited.

But this man so famous,
Had held him back,
Had wanted to hug him
To show him he was the boss.

He had resisted,
And wanted to break free.
But the man had felt insulted
And slapped him on his cheek.

Was it wrong to run,
Behind a kite, he wondered
Why wouldn't his aunt
Or his grandmother tell?

The man had indeed slapped.
But more devastating,
Was the silence of the people,
Continuing with their 'pretending'.

The mother held the child
And silently exited the place.
Suffering all the while
The hurt they had to face.

Almost two years hence
The child forgot the slap.
But the mother remembers
The sting of that hostile act.

That day she lost
Her trust in her family
That day she started
Distrusting everybody.