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How I was bullied 33 years ago

At 65, I am living my relaxed, retired days, happy and enjoying my life in my family. I worked for 33 years as a teacher in the then only English medium school in the town, & hence an indispensable one.
Now, when I look back on my early days of service in the school, during to be precise, in the year 1981-82, I really shudder at the thought of bullying I received. for almost two years, at the hands of a senior teacher, one Mrs. D. In fact, Mrs. D was the senior-most teacher, and dominated all the teaching staff in every school activity. All teachers had tacitly allowed Mrs. D. her superiority and dealt with her accordingly. But I did not see the necessity or relevance of bowing to Mrs. D. smiling at her in respect, or saying “good morning. Mrs. D” the first I met her in the school every day. I thought it unnecessary. Somehow, she now took in her head that she must teach me a lesson or two. I had come from Bombay and couldn’t understand the regional ethos of the school, nor the subtleties of the regional dialect all spoke.
Suddenly I found that Mrs. D. & about three or four teachers would start whispering whenever they saw me, and start laughing. I realized, surely at me. Whenever & wherever in the school I was near or among them, their laughing game began. I felt discouraged. I got irritated, frustrated. I tried to avoid Mrs. D. & others in the group, which was not always possible. Even in the weekly staff meeting, I experienced Mrs. D. & the group giggling at me, making fun of me. This happened repeatedly, to the extent that, the rest of the present, including the Principal, could realize I was the butt of their bullying. I mostly neglected & tried to avoid them, keep away from them, which was not always possible. Very often I was in tears, & felt depressed. This lasted for a pretty long time, almost 7 months.
Mrs. D. had invented & had been using a regional dialect term to refer to me: “redaa”, which meant ‘a buffalo’. She used the word to ridicule me, make fun of me & all would giggle at me. I got confused and flabbergasted. In about two months into the new academic year, a new teacher joined the staff. Once, she came to me and asked me innocently, “Mam, why do these teachers call you redaa?” “What does it mean?” I asked and when she explained to me the meaning of the word, it dawned on me how they were ridiculing me on my being a bit fat & stout, & bullying me endlessly, for almost one year.
I now wish I had confronted the bully Mrs. D. quite in the beginning. I remember how I took the matter to the Principal, and Mrs. D. got a pretty dressing down & the bullying came to an end. I remember how later on Mrs. D. accepted me as a colleague, & how I used to say, “Good morning, Mrs. D.’, the first time I saw her in school every day, as all other teachers used to do. All had compromised with the bully. The bully was not booed in time. Had it been done, I would have been saved of too much torture I went through.

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