Musing: Bullying, Silent Grudges and Thanking God for Real Friends!

Warning: This piece is deeply personal. If you don't like reading personal blog posts, I'll suggest you skip this one. 

"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." ~ Anne Lamott

So today, I'm going to tell you a story. A story that started apparently even before I was born. I cannot really be sure because I've heard about that, but as years passed...things have just gotten out of hand. One thing I've learned over the years - you are how you are. Never apologize for it. If people want you to change to suit their needs, they're not you well wishes. And if you dare change from being a doormat to a strong person, God forbid, all hell will break lose! 

Image Courtesy: Google Images 
When I was in school, I wasn't the brightest button. In fact - for the longest time I believed myself to be pretty dumb. I would be frustrated at how poorly I performed in class. It didn't help that my sister and the cousin I grew up with were really good in studies. For the longest time, the only thought I remember haunting my very young brain was how would I outshine them. 

I am the youngest in my family, the easiest target for the other two. Because some of my earliest recollection from my not so colourful childhood is the phrase, "You're loved so much by everyone, you've become a spoiled brat." Till date, I've not been able to figure out what I'd done to earn their wrath. My mother had tried her level best to make me tell her what was wrong. Why I was so conscious when we went to family functions. I thought she'd scold them and their bullying would be even more intolerable. If someone believes they're not good enough, and gets bullied by their siblings, it won't take long for the child to withdraw into his/her own shell and refuse to come out from there. Perhaps, this is the reason, when I meet people younger than me, an elder sisterly kind of feeling begins to work towards them. I feel oddly protective of them. And try to be as invincible as I always believe my mummy to be. 

Image Courtesy: Google Images
I still remember something so clearly even today. My sister and my cousin shared the same Maths tutor. My mum had bought me a balloon from the local fair. It was nothing much, but I was so filled with joy with the balloon. Although he claimed it was an accident, my cousin thought it would be a laugh to hit the balloon, while a pencil was still lodged between his fingers. You can imagine what happened next: the burst, I was too shocked and then I burst into tears. After the elders scolded him, I got another dose of his bullying. 

One of his favorite forms of punishment was to tell me, "Don't come into our room." When I look back and think, I cannot imagine for the life of me why I couldn't be more strong. Strangle him, perhaps, when no one was looking. 

Image Courtesy: Google Images
My mother likes to believe everyone has some deep rooted problem, and this cousin's is the fact that his mother loves me more. And apparently blind beliefs do make people do nasty things. I honestly recommend shock therapy. Or talk it out with his mummy. I always do that. When in doubt, just have a heart to heart with my mother dearest.

As I write this, memories I've locked away are flooding back to me. It's like some dam has broken, and I don't know what has been worse - being quiet about being bullied or the subtle bullying I kept facing till they finally moved out, when I was thirteen. 

I will never be ashamed to admit the fact that I'm glad he moved out. I still remember thinking, "Good! Now maybe my elder sister would learn to stop bullying me." She didn't immediately. I don't really know when we stopped jumping down each other's throats and became friends. I think it's when she shifted to Singapore...distance does make the heart grow fonder. Besides, we had nothing to talk about before, thanks to our age difference. I'm not very comfortable letting my family into my life, anyway. The fear of being judged has never really gone away. 

Image Courtesy: Google Images 

Ugly fights with the cousin continued. And I learned with time, the best way to survive is to pretend he doesn't exist. So I ignore him mostly. When they were shifting into the new house, I remember something else from the day before the housewarming party. He was annoying me, and I asked me a number of times to stop. In our struggle, I ended up hurting the heels of my feet. He said sorry that day. But I believe it's more from the fact he was worried about what would happen if I told on him. Well, I never did. But now you do the rest of the people who read my blog. 

So what happened yesterday was a reaction to something that happened after almost twenty freaking years. The last time I snapped at him was just a few days back. I told him to not touch my hair, when he pulled my braid. And yesterday - going back to his old days - when he thought he and sister were the dynamic duo, he tried to keep me away from their cozy little group. My sister's husband was there too. The conversation before dinner went mostly like this: 

Cousin: You go away. Come with the parents. 
Me: Why? 
Cousin: No, go. We need to pick up Jeet Singh (my uncle)

Of course my sister came and intervened. (Like I said, she's changed. So sometimes I'm dragged with her to places, even if I don't wish to go's her way of trying to make me more social.) I am socially awkward...I know loads of people my age and older than me, who are!

He tried to make the same joke again after dinner and that's when I retaliated. And told him, I'd slap him. So then he turned the tables on me and said, "Don't overreact about everything! You did the last day too." And a few other things which I honestly, do not care to remember. My brother-in-law tried to make the peace, but that ended with all my grudges coming out...but before I could even say a word, he shouted, like the "theatrics" person he is...and suddenly everything was my fault. And that if I would overreact like this, I shouldn't talk to him. I should be on my own.

The stupid cat got my tongue. I so wanted to tell him to go to Hell and he was the last person on Earth I ever wanted to talk to in the first place! And I love being on my own. At least I'm not lonely as him. I know how to be my own friend. I feel sorry for him, actually. 

And what did my sister do? She told me to apologize. My brother-in-law told me to not take every joke to heart. But I'm like that - I'm emotional. I'm touchy, and I will not apologize for it. I've had a harder time in the world, but I've survived so far. 

Image Courtesy: Google Images
I've come a long way from being the timid, bullied school girl, who did not understand science and had nightmares about failing the subjects in her Board exams. 

But I found myself from a place I'd thought I was totally lost in. 

I realized my dream of being an author when I was 21-22 years of age. And I'll have another book published sometime in this year. 

Me, the shirk, ended up getting through the MPhil program of Comparative Literature in my university. And guess what? 

All this cousin could speak about was how my book hasn't garnered enough sales. And how people won't buy it for the juvenile cover and how it's basically a loss in the business. For him, money matters. For me, it doesn't. Because it was and still is the joy I get from writing, that drives me to it. 

As for higher studies - he believes I'm wasting my time. I should get a job and start looking after my family. He missed the key point. It is my family. Even though my mum and sister tried to calm me down, I was still being haunted my the brilliant shouting in the car. What annoyed me the most was the most being unable to scream back what I'd longed too. I really do need to work on my confrontational skills. 

Image Courtesy: Google Images
What calmed me down and made me smile in the end, were my friends. Just telling them I'm upset wasn't enough....they needed to know the whole story. And their reactions have been priceless.
Friend 1# - Dude! He needs therapy!! 

Friend 2# - Why did you shout? Should've said, "that's cute", gone and sat in the car. 

Friend 3# - What's his problem? Ah, well...maybe he's insecure, Aniesha. Because no matter what happens, we'll be here for you. 

Friend 2# - Hey, go read my blog. New post is up :D
Me - Meet me tomorrow, please. Let's go to the new bookstore? 

Friend 2# - Absolutely! 

Friend 4# - Awww...if you retaliate, you become the villain. That always happens. 

And out of nowhere, everything suddenly fell into place. Family doesn't always have to end in blood ties. Sometimes, you can actually choose your own family. My mum thinks friendships come with no strings, so it's easier. But she has no idea, the friends I've made in the past one year, are actually closer to me than most of my family. 

Someone once right said, "I think after awhile, the Bloggers love being in each other's company." I agree wholeheartedly with her. 

So to the people who helped me get over a really nerve wrecking fight, I LOVE YOU! 

My Friends (the ones who heard the story) - and they know much I can screw up.
It doesn't stop them from loving me! 

And the friends I should've turned to... :-)
But now you all know. I love you, guys ^_^


  1. I love you. Loads.

    PS. That photograph needs some Photoshop done. I look super fat. I am not that fat. :p

    1. You don't look fat. And you are not fat. You're my Diptee di <3 And I love you too. LOADS! :-*

  2. This post almost brought tears to my eyes, Aniesha. Yes, when things get bottled up for so long and finally come out, they may be gauged as an "overreaction" when really, it's a product of so much hell. Completely and totally agree about friends being family as well! Wonderful post. :)

    1. Hey Pooja :) I didn't mean to make you tear up :( I have never been the confrontational kind... My problem with bullies has always been the same - you can say what you want, but when I give you the dose of your medicine, you will start screaming?? What annoying tactic is that? Thanks for liking the post. Friends are really the family we make for ourselves :)

  3. Sometimes being the villain in a situation is the best thing you can do for yourself. And you need to burst out more often or invite me over sometime :P Besides blood ties are overrated...

    1. Debi di, my doors are always open for you! Come over anytime you want :D
      I finally understand the jokes people made about really cannont choose or change them! I need to spend a few days getting trained by you, to say what's on my mind instead of freezing up. :)

  4. I dont know what to say. And frankly, I'm the younger sister. I wont quote writers and I wont give you advice. I'll just be there to take you on long scooty rides to far off places. We'll feel the wind and we'll hope we get married to brothers so that we dont have to put up with stupid men alone! :)

    1. Most men are stupid, agreed. But I know a few decent ones who've helped me find my feet again. That was so nice of them. Scooty rides? Really? :-/ Thanks for just being there, little one. *hugs tight*

  5. You know I can say "that's cute" to all this, and get away with it? But I won't.. not today.. A very heartfelt post, Aniesha! Take it easy, very easy.. as easy as I take things.. so, there's a method called LETHARGY, which you should look into.. :P helps calm the nerves.. Okay sorry, just know we all love you loads!

    1. You are a bundle of contradictions, Mr. I-am-so-busy-cum-I-am-so-lazy!!!
      I really will say, "that's cute" the next time anything like this happens again. God forbid.

      Thank you, by the way. For being such a good friend. It feels so good to be loved by my chosen family ^_^

  6. reminded me of my childhood days! i was like this too.. bullied by my cousins n dad too.. i didnt know wat to do and i finally shrunk back in my shell.. its been years n nw i am finally emerging out of it using writing as a medium! good friends are a major help indeed :)
    PS: I have read ur book and its good :) waiting for d next one ;)

    1. Hi Swathi,
      Childhood doesn't always have to be filled with super cute memories. Sometimes some of the hardest lessons came to us when we were kids. But no worries, I am sure life is amazing right now. Writing really is therapeutic for me. And yes, good friends have always helped us get up when we fell down :D

      Good to know you read my book. Next one should be out soon enough :))


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