Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Old Lady with a Shoe!

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong ~Mahatma Gandhi

I saw them enter the water. One entered quietly and other just jumped. How different and still so alike! As they splashed the water in pool, they got a respite from the scorching heat. I sat on a side watching them play.

It just happened on the other side of the pool; beyond the netted fence was a small group of young boys, around 8-10 years, who were just enjoying the game of cricket. Watching them was a complete entertainment as they were playing with their own set of rules. The underarm balls as requested by the batsman, no declaration of “no or wide balls”. With a tennis ball, they were breaking and making all the personal records. Just then the batsman got the ball in middle of his bat and hit a six.

Unfortunately, a lady, in her sixties, wearing Reebok shoes, trying to walk/jog, happen to be in the way of the ball and the boundary. The ball hit her back. She promptly took the ball in custody. Since it was batsman in the line of fire, he went to the lady and apologized. She grabbed him by his arm and took off her shoe. She raised the shoe to hit him. Suddenly all his friends gathered around him, made noise and fought for him. She had to let him go. The episode didn't end there. She made sure to sit in the vicinity. Soon an acquaintance of same age came to meet her. She narrated her story, and she called the boy again and scolded her badly. The boy silently listened. He went back to his game again. Again another lady joined the group and again the boy was summoned and scolded. Loud taunts echoed louder than every other sound. Finally the boy went home. The ladies also departed after he left. It was my time to go home as well.

I am not able to forget this incident. I have tried to figure out what went wrong:

The Old Lady: An elderly person is treated with respect. But then they have to earn it. People look up at them for guidance and enlightenment. Is it really a tough job? We tell our kids, the elderly are the foundation of value education, so listen and follow them. Do we have to rephrase our advice? Taking off your shoe to hit an eight or nine year old boy – Was it justified? Is she yet to understand the meaning of honest mistakes and how to forgive? Was her method correct or she could have handled the matter in more dignified manner. Will that boy or any other kid who was part of that incident ever respect or wish her even?

The Boy: The age of innocence! When they are yet to learn manipulations. He could have fled the scene but he didn't. He still remembered and followed the value of not disrespecting his elders. And that’s why he took the bashing not once but thrice.It is the age when friend matters the most. All the boys made sure to defend their friend, to stand with him through thick and thin. 

Me: Ever since I was guilty. I should have defended the boy. It was an honest mistake. The boy apologized and still was treated so badly. I just sat there and did nothing. After a day or two I saw her again talking while taking her usual rounds. I just went to her, after politely wishing just told her she could have handled the things in a better way that day. She tried to justify, I smiled and walked away.

Every moment is an experience. We learn and unlearn with events. He learnt a few lessons that day. May be my non-intervention made him stronger. May be my help would have created another crippled butterfly. May be it will help him deal better next time. May be next time I will not wait for a day to react. May be the old lady will have more tolerance. May be …World will be a better place for us to live and learn.