I watched a bullying scene in an anime called ‘Vivid Strike.’ In it, a girl had to go through brutal bullying. The reason was she didn’t join her tormentor’s fight club. In one scene, the bullies tried to Tyler Durden her, even breaking her token, which belonged to her death-bed-ridden grandfather.
They even knocked her out, making her miss her grandfather’s final moments. Because she failed to attend to her grandfather, she finally snapped. She went to school the next day and completely mauled the ever-loving hell out of them.
Another show called D.P (South Korean Show) highlights bullying and its impact on a person’s mental health, to the point that a person snaps. Finally, an Indian movie called ‘A Death in the Gunj’ highlights a glimpse of bullying in Indian society.
To be a victim of bullying is like a volcano. You never know when the eruption will happen. Bullying was one of the reasons why the Columbine Massacre happened. It’s also one of the reasons why Hikikomoris are rising in Japan.
If I had ever retaliated against my bullies in real life, the school system would have penalised me instead of them. So forget about them bullying me for years; I would have been the bad guy instantly because I laid my hands on them for the first time.
If I ever return to that hellhole, I’ll make sure to piss on their walls. For a school whose motto was “ministerium in conspectu sui,” they sure are self-serving capitalist vultures. There was never a single day in my life that I did not dread in my school.
I have a personal disdain for its environment, its teachers, and most of all, the children. And the worst part is, the parents themselves don’t realise how unhealthy schools are becoming. So there are several reasons why I have bones to pick against my school.
I was only 11 when my father passed away. That was my first ever taste of reality. Before that, I used to play outdoor sports and was good at studying. In addition, I used to watch cartoons and anime shows that once defined my childhood.
After my father’s passing, all of that became trivial. After entering 6th grade, everything started falling apart. My interests and performance in sports and academics dipped. It was also the time when the bullying began. That’s when I realised the reality of living the so-called “school life”. I said something stupid to a group of classmates that I once thought of as friends.
They threatened me by saying they would rat on me to our teachers if I didn’t give in to their demands. So I became their errand boy. They forced me to run their errands. Some of them were questionable. I also became the butt of their jokes. Every time they made a snarky remark, they would laugh with their mouths open at my expense. One time they even dared to call me their “naukar” (a servant).
That’s what I was to them. Those words affected me personally because of the way it was said. Whenever I refused to run their errands, they would just come up with the worst excuses to tell our teachers.
I was afraid because I already had one tragedy in my life. So I wasn’t in any position to retaliate even if I wanted to. I didn’t want my family to be in trouble because of me. And my “classmates” knew that very well.
The bullies are like vultures. They’ll take advantage of you when you’re in the most vulnerable state. They’ll make you look worthless by any means necessary. They’ll abuse you mentally, physically, and emotionally as if you’re their plaything.
You become the punching bag and the clown where they’ll laugh at your expense. I don’t know about you, but I think our society is used to this culture where abusing someone and looking down on them has somehow become a virtue.
They think that bullying makes a person strong-willed, masculine, or brave. In reality, it’s just a dehumanising process committed by cowardly children in the guise of grownups. This type of dehumanising effort existed even in World War 2. Human nature doesn’t change in the periods.
I guess having an ounce of sympathy and empathy would have hurt their pathetic egos. But, unfortunately, the bullying I received on the school bus was even worse. I consider the 8th grade as the worst time of my school life. It was like entering Pripyat. The reason being I had to deal with some of the most humiliating treatment from almost everyone.
I had seniors who acted all high and mighty and got very aggressive if someone even pointed a finger, let alone call them out. But, on the other hand, I had my batchmates who couldn’t care less about the ill-treatment I was going through. I remember one incident about one senior being aggressive over a trivial reason.
I penned a previous article. I discussed how certain students are very entitled and aggressive. I remember this one time in the 8th standard a senior snatched my glasses in the basketball court just because I giggled (and I made a little remark).
And then some juniors are just carbon copies of their beloved seniors. These guys are spineless and imitate everything their seniors do. They also belittle and disrespect you for trivial reasons.
For example, when I asked them for a seat, they would behave at their worst. It was like asking Queen Elizabeth to return the Kohinoor diamond to India. They will make every remark about how I looked or what I said.
I was dealing with “Karens” whose entitlement knew no bounds all this time. They are drowned in their pathetic wallows of self-importance and egos. But, then, the moment you go out of the line, they snap like 12-year-olds.
In the 9th grade, my academics were at their lowest point. I failed in Math in my first semester, and none of my classmates was willing to help me. As a result, my class was almost full of wannabe Einsteins or Messis.
These guys had their groups, and they would act like they were VIPs. In reality, they were put on a pedestal by the teachers and their friends because they aced their studies or sports. Since I wasn’t good at sports or studies, none of the groups took me in. In all honesty, they never took me seriously. Now that I think about it, I don’t care if they took me seriously.
Most of the teachers in my school were all but useless. They never bothered to step in whenever there was an incident of bullying. When they did decide to step in, it was either half-baked or ineffective. Some of them were just straight-up bullies.
I remember when my teacher grabbed my neck for no reason. If I had ever complained about this to the school administration, they would have probably scoffed that up or reprimanded me even further. But, instead, when some of the teachers became emotional, they had the authority to take it out on us for no reason whatsoever, all in the name of being strict.
And like Activision Blizzard (allegedly), they gave priority to students who aced in academics and sports. And if their students got into trouble, these teachers would do everything in their power to get their students out of trouble scot-free. It was just pure nepotism, nothing more.
With that said, I do have good memories of my school life. But the only time I have the nostalgia of such memories is when I’m playing The Last of Us on my PS4. So let me highlight one good memory.
I remember when my classmates stood up against one of my bullies. Back in class 11, we had our library class, and one junior decided to be an a-hole to me. My classmates just united and were on the verge of beating that guy until the teacher stepped in.
It was these things that made me respect the humanities section. And that time, even the principal and the teacher were mad lads. They roasted the guy so much he was about to cry. I did feel bad for him, but it needed to be done because this crap shouldn’t last long, and deterrence is needed.
After that, the kid never bothered me again. It’s been almost four and a half years since I graduated from school. My college life sure has its problems, but it’s still better than my school life.
Compared to the small number of friends I had in school, I have several in college and my hostel. And I have also made a lot of good memories, up until the pandemic showed up. Even I had bittersweet memories in 11th and 12th.
Fights broke out in school and on the bus. Some against the juniors, some against the classmates. But then, without it, things would be boring.
I liked my last two years in school more than the first five years. Besides, it’s not worth putting up a fight in college. Back in school, the matter would end then and there because what happens in school stays in school.
But college is a different beast. A fight might escalate into a war, leading to death (guns do get involved). So I’d advise you not to get involved in any fights when you’re in college. I hate it when a bully says, “We were just kids. That happened in 6th grade.”
It might be 6th grade for you, but those episodes have made my mind toxic. The experience was like walking into a thin radioactive iced-bridge, and any misstep will lead to falling into the toxic abyss.
The worst part about all of this is that I stopped being sensitive about serious matters when I entered class 11th. I always thought, ‘Why should I be sensitive? When none of them did that for me?’
They made jokes at my expense. So I don’t see any reason to do the same with someone else (Or rather, when the same thing happens to my bullies). Bullying played a significant role in why I became edgy and insensitive. Although it was a coping mechanism, it was also a curse. It just makes your mind more toxic, like Vijay Mallya’s flamboyant lifestyle.
When I became a bully myself during the waning days of my school life, I realised that sometimes, you have to be sensitive. You have to give a damn about some things. You can’t be ignorant and then expect attention from people.
The internet doesn’t work like that. (Or rather, the internet doesn’t care about anyone). Real-life doesn’t care either. People would be doing their things. So being edgy won’t make any difference.
I still have nightmares about it even if I wake up. You didn’t have a problem bullying me for years, but asking for a simple apology hurts your ego. No wonder we’re so different. That hellhole of a building has given me more mental scars than I could imagine.
Those scars only made me thick-skinned in the following years. When I’m thick-skinned, I can handle any insult given to me. I only retaliate when someone has said suffice. The whole thing made me question the school system in India.
And I get it. The bullies are people too. They, too, have horrible upbringings or were bullied too. But doing the same thing to someone else doesn’t make them look better. They’re only making themselves more miserable as they’re trying to become “big”. They’re no better or different than anyone just because their lives are complicated.
School might be a terrible place for most of you, but keep in mind that it’s temporary. School eventually comes to an end. All these petty dramas, fights, god complexes, obnoxious flexes, and just being cool won’t matter once you graduate and you’re pushed into the real world.
I know the future would be uncertain, and some might find a similar school environment in colleges too, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of getting out of one hellhole.
Getting out of school might teach you how to deal with other hellholes. So, in the end, I want nothing to do with my piece of crap school.
This piece was previously published on Medium.
Inspired by MamaMax’s YouTube video Life Sucks: School.