Friday, September 19, 2008

A Trying Time

I randomly clicked on the icon winking at me from the desktop 'scar2.doc'. Something about a boy letting off a sonic blast of anger in response to his classmate making fun of the Indian food at an 'International Culture' day celebration. Hmmm...sounded familiar. Was it...yes, it was a recounting of what happened some years ago when S was still in elementary school, from his perspective.
The essay/story was an almost clinical dissection of the emotions and rage that flooded his mind when he realized that one of those being dissed ('these ladies put ants in the food') was his own mother, and that he in his initial ignorance of the precise context of his 'friend's remarks, had laughed along with the others. His conclusion was surprising- not that over the years he had developed a tolerance to these kinds of niggling incidents which form part and parcel of not looking or behaving like the majority, but that it didn't hit home until his family was the butt of the intolerant comments. It's never more painful than when it becomes personal.


Ms Cris said...

Too true!
Have heard people say "That rash boy went and killed himself" on reading about a bike accident, forgetting they have kids or sibblings who are doing the same rash-rides every day and is in no way in a better place than the killed ones.

Lekhni said...

What are the ants? Mustard seeds?

Insults about food can easily be returned, but I guess desi kids would rather be liked and accepted than tell others off on the bad foods that the others are eating !

Sujatha said...

I suppose we might have laughed this off had it been a third-hand story, but it did have its benefits, as in teaching a valuable lesson on cultural conflicts and how it feels to be outside the mainstream. I thought the episode was quite revealing about the little insults and jibes that S must have learned to put up with over the years.

I would guess that those were the mustard seeds, indeed.
I think that S was so furious no food insults presented themselves to his mind (plus he enjoys eating American food, rather than thinking up insulting names for it). Ah, well, ABD kids learn to cope with these and worse over their school years. I was just amazed that he remembered and used the incident in a school essay, even after so many years. It was good writing, even if I say so as a proud mother.