The other day Max, my ten year old came back home from school with a disgruntled expression on her face.
"Amma, the other girls have ganged up against me. They don’t want me to play with them anymore".
Her lips quivered as she valiantly held back her tears. I had an inkling as to what had led to this.
"Was it Nita?"
"I hate her, she’s so bossy, so cruel! Now I have no friends in school!"
My daughter’s ire was targeted at her erstwhile best friend Nita, who had suddenly morphed into her worst enemy. For some inexplicable reason my Max and Nita had had a falling out. She was spreading tales about Max and urging all the girls in the class to boycott her.The girls clique was so strong that if anyone failed to follow the unwritten rules she was out. Persona non grata in a second, without any hearing. To make matters worse, my daughter had broken a cardinal rule in their book. She had a new buddy – a boy in her class. Both kids shared a passion for playing football and reading mystery novels. The two were forever coming up with plots for new whodunit stories.
When Max came back home with tears in her eyes three days in a row, I couldn’t contain myself.
"I’m going to have a chat with your teacher unless you tell me what’s going on!"
"Amma, pleaase don’t come to school. If you talk to the teacher it’s only going to get worse."
I was at my wits end.
"What’s really hard is when the girls keep calling me freako whenever I walk in the corridor or whisper about me and stop talking when I walk into the class room."
I was hard pressed not to go charging on that mythical white horse the next morning and battle it out for my child. The silent tug of war between Max and me had reached a head when she refused to board the school bus the next morning. Her confidence had hit rock bottom. That’s when my husband (the poor man was roped into this ensuing drama) came up with a bright idea. "Every time anyone calls you a freako, you just say that she’s a sicko!"
I really don’t know what transpired the next day but the bullying stopped. Max came back in the evening with a Cheshire grin on her face and declared it to be the happiest day of her life. And a month later when the other girl left school my daughter wished her well and chalked up the whole thing to be a learning experience.
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