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Learn To Say “No”

by Sanghamitra Basu Patra
(Bangalore, India)

I was a Scary-pooh when I was in school.

I was always scared of almost everything. Be it the class performance or the recital competition, everything was a big challenge to me. Even if the teacher gave me a disapproving look,I used to feel sad throughout the day. One of the reason for this was the huge expectation from my parents who wanted to see me the best one. The continuous demand was quite damaging. It was weakening my basic roots of mental strength. I was not strong enough to encounter with unavoidable evils.

Of all, I was dead-scared of one of my seniors. He was a menace,a continuous threat to all of us. His passion was bullying junior students and he didn't have choice about it; it could be anybody. He got punished severely many times,his parents' visit to school became a natural phenomenon...but nothing could stop this menace from knocking us down. Once he kicked me,shove me on the ground and slammed his fist several times on my nose. Rest of the week I had to stay home nursing my swollen nose. It was a sorry affair.

One day I was given French toast in my lunch box. It was a rare thing,as our family is vegetarian. I was allowed to consume egg only once in a month. I was tremendously pleased, and took extreme care of my box so that nothing spills out with the weight of the books in my school bag. During lunch hour,I settled in a corner of the playground,and started relishing the delicacy. I just finished one,and reached for the next when this monster appeared from nowhere. Without wasting much words,he just snatched away the box,pulled out those toasts and started munching. I felt as my heart broke.

In a weak voice, I protested, "Bhaiya,why r u having my lunch? What I will eat? Please give it to me...... it's my favorite!"

Then only I realized,what wrong I have done! He gobbled the rest of that toast,and threw away other pieces over the boundary wall,and slammed the box on the ground. Then he gave me a evil look and spat out the words,"F-a-y-vorite,eh? Then go,collect them from that gutter where I sent them and gorge like a dog!" Saying this he left, laughing at me and making catcalls.

I was all in tears, but neither I had the courage nor the strength to beat him up. He was much bigger and stronger than me,and I just recovered from Typhoid. I was fuming,but felt equally of those classes I have to attend with a grumbling stomach. What an end to those beautiful toasts!

When I returned home, granny sensed something wrong instantly. Seeing me hogging on the food, she gave me some more poories and sat beside me. When asked, I narrated the whole episode to her. She was shocked, but asked me "Didn't u say something to that boy?"

"I did, but failed to make any impact on that thug."

She smiled,and said, "Dadi, today I am going to teach you something,remember that throughout your life. Whenever u see something wrong is being done,something that doesn't go with you; learn to say NO. This NO will help you out from all those evils,it will give you strength to fight."

I was surprised, "Is that all? Is it really going to help?"

"Try it once,then come and tell me." She said.

The chance came after few days. It was the menace again,this time he was beating one of my classmates to pulp. When I reached there,the poor kid already had several scars and bruises. Don't know from where I got the strength; I ran to him,held his fist in a tight grip,and yelled with all of my strength, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo"!!!!!!!!!

The boy lifted his another hand to beat me,but stopped suddenly. He was somewhat perplexed! A minnow of a junior girl is stopping the almighty from his ultimate pleasure! As he lifted the hand again, I yelled again. Now again and again, and this time my classmates joined to me too.

They observed the effect of this strong NO. This made so much noise that the teachers came running, and the gruesome situation changed in no time! Both of us were rescued,the wounded boy was given first-aid; the menace was suspended from school for two weeks.

Today, I can understand, what a powerful weapon granny gave me that day! Now whenever I see something doesn't go with my values, I oppose with this NO. It doesn't only saves me from unwanted conflicts, but also protects me as a supreme shield, enables me to live with happiness and self respect.

Wonderful Gran,I love you, thank you for this great lesson in my life.

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May 14, 2011
Good one
by: Safia.A.R

Nice one,inspiring.

Apr 19, 2011
by: Lakshmi

Hi Sanghamitra,

Welcome to iww community. Thanks for your beautiful article. Sometimes we need to be reminded about this - to say "No".

Apr 19, 2011
Reply to Smt. Vimala Ramu
by: S.B. Patra

No,actually it's written long back before the campaign of Anna Hazare even started!:)

Apr 18, 2011
Inspiring Story..
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

A simple lesson which we tend to forget most of the times i.e. to say "no" to something which do not agree with our values. An inspiring tale...

Apr 18, 2011
Power of No
by: vimala ramu

Was this story inspired by Anna Hazare's campaign by any chance?A good story.

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