Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Bully on the Playground

He is a bully. His mannerism is like that of one. He has been intimidating 6-7 boys who play football in the evenings, most of whom are in the age group of 8 -11. He uses abusive language when someone misses a pass or a tackle. He is unafraid of being overbearing with these boys who play in the open space of the housing complex they live in.

Suddenly the game is not innocent anymore as he tries to (for lack of an alternate word I use this one again) "bully" his way to domination.

That he is a grown man, most likely in his early 30s, is a reality not lost on any one, least of all the children.

Unfortunately this man lives two buildings away from us, and has been victimising my 8 year old during the games.

One evening, as I stood on my terrace watching the children play, I noticed that he allowed a foul to pass off as a goal when my lad was the goal keeper. Even though the boy protested, his teammates got after him because he had purportedly missed a 'simple' goal. Goaded by the bully, the boys proceeded to castigate the boy, who walked back home, head down, almost in tears.

Never in the past had I ever interfered with the games the boys played, even though children in their inimitable style bring home playground stories of glorified 'horror'. All along, I have upheld the idea that they, being peers, have the liberty to play, or fight or make up with each other as the case may be. 

But having watched the reality of what had happened, I called the boys over to my home.

Since these are also boys who spend an average of two hours in my house almost every single day playing video games and other sundry games, while I make them snacks etc...I thought I should tell them what really happened.

I told them that the "uncle" (bully) had cheated and that it was not a goal. They meekly nodded and went back to resume their game.

Within minutes I heard the bully shout from the ground floor (I live on the fifth) demanding to speak to Abhir's mother. After I confronted him and asked him to back off, and stop interfering in the kids' game, he muttered some innocuous statement like "Mind your own business woman", "I play with them because of my son" and went away.

What he had also failed to add was that his son is barely five, and is hardly ever part of the game in a team of boys much bigger and faster than him.

I was later given to understand that the bully has been using the 'f' word with the children, abusing them for not playing well. His language is crass and he is very rude with them.

This incident occurred almost 6 days ago. The fact that he returned to the playground simply meant that the point I was trying to make was completely lost on him. 

Meanwhile, my son was barred from joining the game yesterday when his friends said, "Uncle will be angry if you join because your mother said bad things to him" and asked him to take "Uncle's permission" to play.

In his role as self-appointed referee cum coach he has managed to drive a wedge between the boys who have been playmates and friends for a long time.

Fortunately, my son came home told me that he doesn't need friends like them and proceeded to play at home instead.

Honestly, I am seething. I will desist from writing down my true feelings towards him... Suffice to say that words like scum, assh***, rasc**, beating, FIR etc have crossed my mind.

I am angry that a high-on-testosterone imbecile is taking over a playground where he has no right to be. He is interfering with the boys' games on the pretext of coaching his son, and also abusing the lads, again on the same pretext. He is ostracising an 8 year old in a playground... What kind of a lowly man would do something so despicable?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a bully as
"A person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker..."

Tell me friends, how must I deal with him? How would you deal with him?

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