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.
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?