I’m in the middle of an interview, and I can see the light flashing on my mobile telling me there’s a call from a neighbour in the apartment. I cannot take her call and so I continue with work. Once I’m done with the interview, I pick up my mobile to call her back. There are 6 missed calls from the lady. I suspect something must be very urgent, so I call right back.
Me: Hey P, I’m sor…
P: (In an angry tone) How many times I called you, why can’t you take my call?
(Okay, it is no rocket science to know that if someone hasn’t picked your call, either they are busy, or they are ignoring you and don’t want to pick your call, and in both cases, your question becomes irrelevant!)
(Yea, the angry tone did amuse me, because I don’t remember being in any kind of answerable relationship with her ever!)
Me: Sorry P, was busy with an interview, couldn’t speak to you…what’s up?
P: But you could have messaged me saying you were busy…
(Seriously? She couldn’t let this be?)
Me: No, I couldn’t, because I was recording the interview on my mobile. Can I know why you called?
P: Yeah, I’m also busy, I’ll come to the point.
P: Your younger son called my son “fatso….
Me: What????? You called me at office to tell me this??? See, I’m sorry, I’ll teach him not to call people names. Okay, I got to go now, bye.
P: He also called him a girl.
Me: Yep, noted, I’ll talk to the little one. Bye..
P: You can’t hang up…how can he talk to my son like that? It affects my son’s morale. He should have common sense….
(Now she had begun to get on my nerves…)
Me: That’s a 5 year old you are talking about, P, they are kids for god’s sake!! And I’m sorry again… I said I’ll talk to my child.
P: That’s what’s is so worrying, a small child should be taught what to talk and what not. In fact I called him to our house yesterday evening and he said I have to go to a party, he didn’t have to go anywhere, I know. He lied. Can you see how over-smart he is?
Me: That’s enough P, We did go a party last evening. See P, we shouldn’t be getting into this, let the kids handle it their way. They may fight today, they are friends tomorrow and we end up looking like fools.
P: No, I don’t agree, I will protect my child if people make fun of him. Are you denying that your son called my son fatso?
(Oh dear, this was not about to get over so soon..)
Me: I am not denying anything. Kids are capable of doing or saying anything. All I’m saying is let’s not drag ourselves into this. Why don’t you call all the kids and try to find out what happened.
P: I just spoke to your elder one half an hour ago and he accepted that his brother had called my son as fatso and girl.
Me: Are you sure you spoke to my elder one today?
P: Yes, do you think I’m lying?
Me: No P, of course not. Did you call him up or speak to him personally?
Me: Are you sure you spoke to MY son, maybe you mistook someone else for my son.
P: What nonsense, I know your kids.
Me: The elder one is in Kanyakumari right now, for a karate tournament…he will be back the day after tomorrow.
(I’m enjoying the silence.)
P: I think I have an incoming call, I’ll speak to you in the evening.
She’s not done yet. In the evening, she brings her sons to my house and summons all the kids.
(Seriously? How old is she??)
P: Did S call R as fatso?
(The heavy voice scares the kids and all fall silent.)
Me: Were you all playing together today?
Kids: Yes aunty.
Me: R is your friend, isn’t it?
Kids: Yes Aunty.
Me: It’s not right to call anyone names. They feel hurt. Don’t do it again, ok?
Kid 1: R’s mother told us some months ago that R is fat and so make him run and exercise. But he doesn’t run, so G told him 'are you a girl? Why aren’t you running?'
Kid 2: And we thought by irritating him and by calling him fatso, we can motivate him to run. We thought he will feel bad and start participating.
Kid 3 : R is a bully, he keeps pushing everyone. Today he pushed S from the slide and he hurt his knee. Since he couldn’t hit him back, he called him fatso out of anger.
Me: I get it. You did it out of good intentions, but it is still not ok to call anyone names. Come on now, say sorry to R and go out to play.
(Time for “an egg on the face” moment… she had called a 5 year old , liar, someone without common sense, and all that without verifying the truth..., she herself had effective lied, and behaved like someone without any sense, leave alone that which is common!! I wondered, if she'd have the guts to apologise...)
P: No need. We know how to take care of our kids.
(She turns to her kids and warns them not to play with the other kids and drags them home.)
I don’t know what to say!