Saturday, October 27, 2007

[Yahoo] Taking the bully by its horns

Saturday October 27, 01:52 AM

Those were the best days of my life." That's how many of us refer to our school days. But for some, memories of school include teasing, taunting and ragging. For some, it was being on the 'fun' side of the fence, while others have gone through the torture of being victims. Why do people bully others in the first place?

Arvind Mehta elaborates, "I guess, when I bullied people in school, it was all about showing how powerful I was. You can't deny that every foyer has a particular hierarchy. Along with my friends, I exploited that." Jai Mehrotra remembers his days of being bullied in school. "The guys in my class would watch wrestling shows, practice those moves on me in school the next day, and hit me with all types of classroom furniture. Finally came a point when I had had enough. I began fighting back. If they hit me, I hit back."

Stooping low
Jai compares his situation to a double-edged sword. He knew that he was stooping to the level of those who bullied him, but at the same time he knew that this was the only means of getting through to them. Bullying, however, isn't always equated with hitting and beating up people. For Adam Fernandez, it was more verbal. He says, "I was the butt of all the jokes. I was a very shy person, and found it difficult to speak to girls. So, I was picked on and referred to as 'gay'"

Adam chose to retreat, and didn't interact with the people who bullied him. "I didn't give them anything to feed off, so they soon got bored and stopped."

Wrong attitude
When girls are bullied, it assumes completely different proportions. Like in the case of Namita Joshi, who was bullied in college. "I came to Mumbai from Bangalore. I'd heard a lot of great things about colleges here, so I chose Mumbai to pursue my higher studies. When college started, I knew it would take me time to make friends, because I'm a shy person."

But soon Namita realised that she was being silently bullied in her class. "People would laugh at the way I dressed and the way I spoke. They would completely ignore me and I could see the way I was judged every single day." She chose to work through the problem, taking her own time, and even confronted some people about their attitude. "Now, things are much better, and I have made some really good friends in college. I guess this is something we all have to go through at some point. I take it as a compliment to having a nature different to the rest."

Only regrets
Gautam Hingorani deeply regrets bullying people in his school. "I now realise that I couldn't cope with the fact that I was an overweight, average student. I picked on the smarter kids, using my brutal force to compensate for my other weaknesses."

Bullying is an extremely complex phenomenon, and affects the bully as well as the bullied. There's a false sense of superiority for the bully, and a sense of inadequacy in the bullied. No matter what situation or form it comes in, bullying can make you feel depressed, hurt, and alone.

It can keep you from enjoying activities that are an integral part of your life. It serves no useful purpose for either of the parties. The only good it does is help strengthen some people, and force others to take a more critical look at themselves.

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