of the summer of ’89 (Part 2)

Gautam, our neighbors’ son, and I fought mock battles all the time, yelling and flailing our arms about like banshees. I was mostly Bheem, and he was Duryodhan. Another time, I was Ram, and he was Ravan. I was always the good guy, always victorious.

But not this time. He wanted to be Ram.

Ji no. No way.

Ji yes. Yes way.



In a few seconds, I was sitting on his chest, thumping and thwacking. But he was older. Bigger. Stronger. With one swift, carefully planned manoeuvre, he had me flying across the room. My head hit the corner of the window.

I was mad. Raging bull mad. I gave him all I had.

When mom returned from the market, I was sitting next to a window, nursing the bump on my head. He was sitting in the other corner holding his incisor in the palm of his hand.

He pushed me first, I said meekly. She continued to put the vegetables away into the fridge. Ma! Meri galti nahin hai. Ma, it’s not my fault! Nobody listened.

And then she supplied the most dreaded words in the history of humanity. Papa ko aane do. Let your father come home.

By the time he arrived, I had my script ready. As soon as he walked in, I pounced on him, let mom get to him first. Papa, aaj Gautam ne mujhe maara. Dekho! Papa, Gautam hit me today. Look!

He looked at me and said, mujhe tang mat karo. Don’t bother me.

That was life lesson two: Nobody’s listening. Deal with your problems on your own.

Wondering what the first one was?

Were you fiesty as a kid, or docile? Did wait for your first tooth to fall off, or did you engage in fights to help speed up the process? Did your father serve as the point of escalation, too? If you are a father, do you think your child is scared of you?

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13 thoughts on “of the summer of ’89 (Part 2)”

  1. I always think how deep such reactions of adults can go within a child and how early a child stores them. The adult mostly doesn’t even recognize that. But a certain sentence in the perfect moment can be like a cut and the scar might last forever.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is true, Erika. It is so important for parents to recognize how their actions/words impact their children. I’m only now coming to terms with the impact such simple things had on my psyche!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lots of parallels to my life. I was in my thirties when I started to see connections between the tings that happened in my childhood and how I stored them as beliefs in myself.


  2. I was docile and shy. I know, you’re wondering what happened to me. 😀 My father worked all the time so I don’t recall much of him and then he died young. I wish that I had known him as an adult. My children are not afraid of me, but know that I have my limits. Besides, taking away an x-box is far more painful for them that a slap on their bottoms. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your father, Rob. Mister lost his dad when he was pretty young, so I can understand the longing you feel. I always thought that having experienced the loss of a parent would only make one a better parent, and now that I know about your x-box trick, I’m pretty sure. 🙂
      Also, for some reason I can imagine you as a docile kid, despite all the evidence to the contrary!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My parents always let me resolve my fights on my own, they never interfered. Be it when I and the neighborhood children thrashed each other or any major squabble. And when the parents of the other kids tried acting bossy and scare me into apologizing, they always maintained that we fight our fights, on our own, and there should be no other way to it.


      1. Every single day.
        Though now my parents repent because I tend to try to settle things on my own, they wish they had taught me the ignore and walk away part…


  4. I was mostly the “mom” of the gang – cleaning up after games, making sure the little kids weren’t ignored (or fixing it if they were). I never really had an aggressive childhood – apart from chasing my sister around the house and rolling on the ground with her in an angry fit.
    That being said, I would have hated if it my dad ignored me. He never really got involved in fights between my sister and I, but I can’t imagine how it would have been if I had grown up being scared of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For some reason, fathers almost always are the escalation point. Maybe it’s because (non-working) moms were mostly available because they were at home longer than dads, and therefore not taken seriously enough!


  5. I think the generation that I belonged to learnt so much more about life only because we were let down by our dads. To have a strong-minded, liberated and caring father-figure might result in one living in a bubble. Also my name is fox and I think grapes are sour.

    And thank you for (kinda, sorta) ruining Bryan Adams’ horrible song title. I wish you were born in 69. That would have killed every bad guitar lick in that song.

    Liked by 1 person

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