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My Apologies - True Story

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Rrg, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. Rrg

    Rrg Gold IL'ite

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    My Apologies - True story

    Year 1958:
    I was studying in the 4th standard in a little known primary school in Madras. Our class had equal number of girls and boys. I was the chosen class monitor/ leader to keep watch on the discipline of the class.
    Normally, in the class, the girls would be seated on one side and the boys on the other. Suddenly one fine morning our class teacher got into his head that such gender segregation was not correct and would not develop healthy respect between boys and girls. (I think his ulterior motive was to control mischief and chit-chat within the groups). So he changed the seating pattern, alternating between boys and girls - one boy, next girl, next boy and so on. While the boys’ felt constrained to practice the mischiefs that they were used to, it was the girls who felt more ill at ease. They weren’t able to freely talk amongst themselves. Initially the seating arrangement worked out well. As a monitor, my role became that much easier.
    Over a period, the boys found a different form of entertainment. They started teasing and pinching the girls sitting next to them, especially when the teachers were not around. I tried all the tricks that I know of to control the menace but could only to a certain extent.
    I didn’t want to escalate this issue to the level of teachers as it would have reflected on my inability only. I thought of seeking external advice from a senior friend to tackle this menace.

    Ananthu, our neighbour, was considered very knowledgeable in worldly matters amongst the boys in the locality. He was about 5 years elder to me, but matured far beyond his age. He had solutions for every one of our problems. For want of boys of his age in the neighbourhood, he was friendly with both me and my elder brother. Like Gopu in Re: A peep into the world of ghosts! he claimed to be a know all - from ghosts to girls (sorry, meant no link between the two here). Highly mischievous and had impressed all of us as a friend to lean on in case of difficulties.

    Ananthu listened with great interest when I narrated my problem.
    “What a great seating arrangement in your class” he exclaimed, “A girl in each side? Should be great fun, no?”
    His problem was that there were no girls in his school. It took quite some time to make him understand my problem as a class monitor in controlling the class, whenever teachers were not around.
    After some contemplation he asked “Raju, who is sitting next to you?”
    “Kamakshi on one side and Kamala on the other.”
    “Fine. Have you ever pinched any of them?”
    “No. But how does that come here?”
    “Don’t react. Try and see. All their complaints are just bakwas. All girls like being pinched on their bum by their friends, you know?”
    I was shocked.
    “You and your ....... “, I left.

    Thereafter, every time he saw me he used to tease, with a wink, “Kamakshi ... . Did you try?”
    I just ignored him.

    But, one fateful day, I didn’t know what got into my head. I did the unthinkable. I pinched Kamakshi in her bum, the act for which I am ashamed of till date.

    Kamakshi was startled. She looked at me shocked. I couldn’t look her eyes and turned away. She got up, went to the class teacher and took leave for the rest of the day feigning some illness and left. For the next couple of days she never turned up. I was guilt ridden but didn’t know how to resolve the issue. That too a monitor, who was supposed to protect the class? Shameful to say the least.
    Even when she returned to the class, she requested for a change of seat and moved away. I wanted to apologise profusely but didn’t know how to. All that I could do was to distance myself from Ananthu as well.

    Few days later I happened to come across Kamakshi with her aunt in the market place. Before I could react Kamakshi complained about me to her aunt and recited the incident. To my surprise and shock, her aunt was none other than Radha teacher, my first standard teacher of Case of a beautiful sister - True story. fame.
    She looked at me surprised and said, “Do you mean Raju? I know him very well. He was my student couple of years back. Such a nice boy. He would never stoop to such levels. He has sisters and would certainly know how to treat a girl. You might have done something wrong in the class and as the monitor he might have pinched you to refrain. Be friends with him.”
    She smiled at me, gently patted my cheek and left with Kamakshi.
    I heaved a sigh of relief.

    But more I thought of Radha teacher’s reaction, more I could read into it. The message was primarily meant for me -“To treat every girl as your sister”. How well she had put it, without embarrassing me. Perhaps, I would have felt more relieved had she slapped me for my misdeed. But, as a teacher, she did what best she had to do, correct her ward for a life time.

    I am not aware whether she is still alive. But every time I think of this incident, I bow my head to her. In a way, I should thank Ananthu also perhaps for instigating me to do what I did. Otherwise, a valuable lesson wouldn’t have been learnt in time.

    The same year I left that school and moved over to bigger school in a different locality. Lost touch with Kamakshi. Years later, I happened to come across her carrying her kid in a temple. We both laughed remembering the incident when Kamakshi said, “I don’t mind your pinching my daughter lightly, but in her cheek.”

    I had not mentioned this shameful incident even to my family members. Now, through this forum I apologise to all sisters for my indiscretion. My sincere apologies to womankind.
    Please forgive me.

    Anbudan,
    RRG
    07/10/2018
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
    sindmani and Thyagarajan like this.
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  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: a true repentant but the reader might take it with a pinch of salt!
    Regards.
     
  3. HazelPup

    HazelPup Platinum IL'ite

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    Seeing this from the affected girls side what was the message ‘The Teacher’ was sending to her niece? When so much abuse is happening in our society to the girls at all ages and when a girl child complains to her own aunt shes not taken seriously rather being asked to be friendly with the kid who behaved inappropriately and above all the girl is blamed for somebody’s wrong actions

    No wonder our society is like this.
     
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  4. Rrg

    Rrg Gold IL'ite

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    Thanks sir for leaving your feedback.
    I had a guilty feeling deep within for so long - for behaving in a way that I myself do not approve off. I had never confided this in any one. Now that I am out with it in an open forum, I am partly freed of my guilt. In fact, I have forwarded this story, nay confession, to all my lady friends and relatives also in my WhatsAp groups as well. More than what the reader feels, I do feel a sense of relief. I am sure you will understand.
    Thanks once again.
    Anbudan,
    RRG
     
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  5. Rrg

    Rrg Gold IL'ite

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    Thanks for posting your feelings.
    Your underlying anger is understandable.
    Coming back to the teacher’s behaviour, what are the other options she had to correct a seven/ eight year old? Give him a sound thrashing; make it a big issue in the school; complain to his parents. For a childish prank by an eight year old, whom she knew very well a decent lad, she perhaps thought an indirect counselling would do. Proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    Neither of us never will know. But I am certain she would have counselled her niece separately, going by the way she handled her ex student.
    You may or may not agree with this view.
    But, I am grateful to her for teaching a very valuable lesson in life at such an young age that stands good even today.
    Cheers
     
  6. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Sir,

    I agree with @HazelPup's views.

    Agreed that you were an innocent 8 year old lad. While you appreciate Radha teacher's tact in teaching you a lesson without embarrassing you, without hurting your ego, without making it an issue and scar you for life or a period, she damaged the girl's trust in elders, her faith in her self and her confidence and pride forever! This has been happening with most boys and girls to date. Any wonder, eve teasing is just a fun activity and stalking, rape etc are boyish immature acts AND BOYS WILL BE BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I WOULD HAVE APPRECIATED RADHA TEACHER HAD SHE BEEN UNBIASED AND FAIR. I WOULD HAVE APPRECIATED HER HAD SHE REPRIMANDED YOU IN KAMAKSHI'S PRESENCE AND HAD SHE MADE YOU APOLOGIZE TO KAMAKSHI RIGHT THEN AND THERE, STILL ALL IN A LOVING MANNER. She would have sent a even stronger message to you and the other boys who think that pinching a girl's bum is an innocent fun! She would have made the girl realise that it is perfectly alright to protest such acts and in no way it reflects upon her character and she would learn to trust an adult and grow up to become a brave, self-respecting woman.

    Sir, while growing up, we too received messages that if a boy misbehaves avoid such situations, stay in groups or it happened because of our fault and we are shameless to make an issue of it! We were called 'shameless and indiscreet'! So whenever we faced harassment, we never protested or dared to discuss even with our own parents and to date....we avoid such situations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are going to carry those huge scars to our graves.

    My anger and hurt is not pointed towards you but towards the esteemed elders in our society. I hope you did your bit to empower your daughters and readied them to face these 'boyish indiscretions' boldly without any guilt or shame.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  7. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Ooops.. the apologies not sitting well with womankind. :shakehead:

    Maybe I can help... Dear womankind, your outrage is understandable, but do keep in mind that the year was 1958.
    Lighter comments aside, it is not OP who should apologize or regret his behavior as a 9-10 year old. It is the generations of teachers, parents, and grown-up's who disciplined boys and girls as described in Geeta's post. The damage took years or decades for many women to even begin to undo. My biggest regret is about the women who took those lessons into their marriages and put up with serious ill-treatment thinking it is their lot.

    I am so glad we live in a time when we are more aware of how to deal with these acts by boys or men.
     
  8. Indeevara

    Indeevara Platinum IL'ite

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    This was the way things happened way back in those days, hence not very surprised. The anecdote reminded me of an incident narrated by my friend -something which happened in her primary school days;probably 20 years ago. She used to be a very mischievous girl and quite cunning too for her age back then. Once she had a fight with her classmate who is a boy; and she straight away went to her class teacher and complained that the boy pulled her skirt ! The annoyed teacher rebuked the boy and punished him.. I felt so sad hearing that though years later. Even my friend repents for having done this and hates herself for having behaved that way.
    So I guess kids are never too innocent !

    Things elders should always keep in mind-
    Never completely belittle a child’s complaint and never completely trust a child either. We should learn to have a good balance of both.
     
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  9. Rrg

    Rrg Gold IL'ite

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    Thanks GK for your feed back.
    You have analysed the situation very well.
    You are perhaps right while stating how Radha teacher should have reacted. Here let us not forget a couple of points.
    Radha teacher herself was about 21 years old only. Under the circumstances she did what she felt was right. Had it been today, with so much of awareness, she might have behaved differently.
    Secondly, whether we accept or not, 60 years back there was a clear gender discrimination between boys & girls, men & women. Even our mother used to feed more delecacies to the boys and ask my sisters to adjust, much to the displeasure of my sister who was 5 years elder to me. As for my mother was concerned, she may even go without the delicacy. That’s how the world was, whether you like it or other wise.
    At least I feel happy that we have come a long way. I ensure such a discrimination doesn’t happen between my son & daughter, me & my wife. No point in just getting angry at such behaviour.
    As regards my treating my mother, daughter, wife, girl cousins, nieces or female colleagues, I have posted over 100 stories in this forum over the years that will bear testimony to.
    The purpose of my posting the thread was to come out with a guilt of my childhood, before I am called back. I was not sure how wise it was of me to post it now? All the same I have done and through with it.
    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to express myself.
    Cheers,
     
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  10. Rrg

    Rrg Gold IL'ite

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    Thanks Rihanna.
    Good feed back.
    You are right. Women are more empowered now, with financial independence that gives them a self-confidence to face any adversity. I have penned my general feelings on the subject in the earlier reply itself.
    Thanks once again.
    Cheers
     
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