Updated: Jun 16
There was an Indian hand drum (Dhapli) which was in the room. My younger son Vishu came and started fiddling with it using his legs. I saw it. Pissed off, I said calmly "Vishu, its a musical instrument , we respect it, we consider it sacred - don't put your legs on it. ". He continued to fiddle for a while and couple of minutes later - I simply had to take it away and keep it beyond his reach.
Few minutes later , there was a tambourine kept in the other room and I hear its sound. I go out to check - he is doing the same thing - putting his legs on the musical instrument.
I spoke a little more firmly, with a big of anger - Vishu, didn't I tell you - you are not supposed to put your legs on the musical instruments. He had a sponge like stick in his hand ,which he hit me after I shouted on him. The hit physically was a mere feather's touch but psychologically I lost it. I literally lost it.
I raised this 3 year old from his neck - 5 feet above the ground - took him into another smaller room - while holding only his neck. I slammed both the doors, shook him violently -putting him on the ground - "Didn't I tell you not to do this ? It was your fault anyway -why the hell did you hit me ? You cannot hit me ! Do you understand - You cannot hit elder people- I yelled at top of my voice !"
Vishu, by this time was absolutely shaken , broken and started crying like anything. His face clearly showed that he felt the terror , he felt extremely scared , he was hurt deeply. Couple of minutes later , as the storm passed - I let go of him , he ran to his mother - crying frantically.
Now, let's take a pause here and try to understand what happened and why and how ! This is my reading of what happened -
It began quite early :
I've been quite agitated , disturbed and a bit frustrated because we had many guests over while the farm work also at its peak. Amongst the guests, with few I was constantly having really hot arguments about various things. This was the hangover I was carrying before I walked into the scene with the child. So, in general my state of mind was not of peace but slight irritation and agitation.
Power is what is :
Ultimately, its the power that I wanted to be exercised. Power to make him obey me. Power to not deny my order. Power to accept what I say. So when I said repeatedly not to touch the instruments with legs -deep down his doing it again inspite of my warnings was a slap on my ego.
Who put it down there ?
First thing - why were musical instruments lying so accessible to children if they are not to be used by them. Ofcourse, we cannot expect children to use instruments like adults. They will explore different possibilities, check their limits and then make their understanding about how something has to be used.
I knew who will win :
Could I have done this to any adult ? Never - ! To someone more powerful than me - ? No chance. I already knew deep down that I am the father , I am someone whom this little fella depend on , he cant get away , he cant win me.
Why did he continued putting legs ?
Why did he not understand or agreed not to put legs on instruments ? is a question I don't have real answer for. My guess is - one is that the child wants to exert his individuality as he grown. Saying no, disobeying is a way to establish themselves as a separate individual entity -its a natural process. Two, may be he was being deliberately naughty, trying to piss me off. This second represents the negative picture of children where they are supposed to be in need of mending.
Is not beast a strong word ?
Some may see this incidence as a normal losing out incidence that often happens in parenting. To call a loving father a beast - may appear a strong judgment for many. They may say, it's okay. We are all human beings, it happens ! But I chose title consciously because at that moment for a little child, I was a beast indeed. One such incident can actually have a long lasting impression on a child's mind thus such acts of violent behavior need to be seen very critically and discouraged especially for early childhood.
What happened was quite sad and disturbing because it could have hurt his neck too badly to cause a serious injury. What if there was a well just next to me ? or A fire nearby ? This is a rare event of anger for me and it was quite scary. I've never lost it so badly. It broke me down. It made me hate myself.
Damage control :
The child stopped crying in few minutes and got busy with something again. I saw him , I called him - "Vishu - Vishu - " He looked at me without any expressions. But he felt safe because my voice this time was soft. I held both my ears with both my hands and said - "Sorry baccha ! " - Sorry Vishu. I didn't know if he'd understand it. I didn't know what will he say/do now. But I knew I must apologize.
He kept looking into my eyes. I said one more time - Sorry beta. At this point he opened his arms and ran to me for a hug. I took him into my arms. I hugged him tight and tears started pouring from my eyes. I kept crying and kept kissing him. He appeared confused as he has not seen me cry like this before. I took him for small walk into the fields till I stopped crying and then dropped him near the home. He slowly walked towards the home , I silently walked in other direction.
Me and Janmejay (Vishu)