Kids can be mean. And their practical jokes can be meaner. Especially if you’re a particularly gullible kid yourself.
One day, when I was a four-year old kindergartner, one of the “mean girls” in school came and told me that the class teacher was mad at us and wouldn’t allow us to go back home that afternoon. This was early in the morning, before the assembly, which meant I had just enough time to grab my bag and scoot. I couldn’t stay back in school now, could I? I had to meet my mother. And I, like all normal kids, wasn’t very fond of my class teacher.
So, that’s exactly what I did. Grabbed my bag, climbed down the stairs, unassisted, and without standing in a line (at a one-arm distance from other students) and walked out the gate. This was before the era of mobile phones, and in any case it’s a terrible idea to give one to a four-year old (I sometimes give mine to my two-year old; he treats phones, his mini football, crockery, all in the same manner). There was no way I could call my mom and ask her to pick me up. But this four-year old had some great memory back then (did I lock the front door today? I’ve no idea)! I decided to walk home.
My house was at a walking distance, but I had to cross one of the busiest roads (during the morning rush hour). In New Delhi no less, where nearly everyone’s dad owns the road you’re walking on/driving on/thinking about.
To the adults on the road, a two-foot (or thereabouts) human being walking boldly alongside them may have been an uncommon (and hilarious) sight. A parent, coincidentally of one of my classmates, talked to me and said, “Beta, no one will stop you from going home. I’ll take you back to school on my scooter.” (Or something on those lines; I just remember his scooter). I threw in a few punches, and tried my best to stop him. I planned on running away again as soon as he dropped me at the gate.
But he personally handed me over to my class teacher.
Who slapped me a couple of times. 😦
And then complained about the incident to my brother when he came to pick me up in the afternoon. 😦
Who then told my mom, who sat and cried about the horrible things “that could’ve happened to me.”
And then she told my dad about it.
Since then, my protective parents became overly-protective. And still are.
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