Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lord of the Flies: Hard Lessons for a 5 Year Old

I posted HERE about Nayan's decision to wear a patka and be a proper Sikh. Well it seems he's changed his mind. For 4 weeks Nayan was perpetually taunted and called "weirdo", "freak" and repeatedly ordered to "take it off" by other kids. He was very surprised. He honestly expected other kids to be as excited as he was in his religious adherence. What particularly frustrated him, was that whenever a child asked him "why he had that thing on his head" - and he tried to explain it, they ran off laughing.

We had no idea he was being harassed until last week. He was afraid to say anything since the school authorities had lectured the kids not to "tattle." Ameen went in to speak with his teacher upon finding out. The teacher, to her credit, took action to separate some of the harassing kids. But I believe it was all too late. These things can be pretty viral in their propagation. The damage was already done.

Nayan learned a hard first life lesson: fitting in is really important, and in the all white school of North Beach Elementary, he already stands out. With all the pierced, tattooed, pink haired "open mindedness" of left wing Seattle - one would think this wouldn't happen. Well it seems many humans, even as young as 5, simply are obsessed with something as harmless as a head scarf. It saddened me to see him so excited with his new haircut and eagerness to be accepted, but alas, at least his heart was in the right place. He was very logical about it, he said, "Papa, perhaps I can try again when I'm older, and better at explaining Sikhism."


sarbjeet singh said...

very sad.
But let me add something. It is not easy for a Sikh kid even in India. As a kid I remember taunts from all over. that was a good 3 decades ago.
Two days ago, there were kids playing in park in front of our house. Some kid was wearing patka for first time. The other kids said, "oye tu sardar ban ke aa gaya". This kid kept quiet.
It is particularly tough for a kid. Kids can be cruel in their comments, while adults are more mature and subtle in their comments. But when a Sikh survives all such comments, he comes out a very mature individual. No wonder Sikhs do so well in life.

deepanjali said...

Your blog is nice. I think you should add your blog at BlogAdda and let more people discover your blog. It's a great place for Indian bloggers to be in and I am sure it would do wonders for your blog.

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