Children often face bullying because of their appearance and how they dress. Here a mom shares her experience when her child was made fun of for wearing a turban as a mark of his religion. Find out how she and her husband turned his tears into a smile
My sons Arshneet and Anshpreet are the only Sikh boys in their school - St Xavier's English Convent. No other Sikh boy or girl has taken admission in that institution to date and because of that, they have been the center of attraction. They can be identified easily by their turbans.
One day, my younger son Ansh came back from school crying. He was in the primary section then. I checked to see if he had fallen and got hurt. But he was alright and there were no signs of injury. I cuddled him and asked him why he was crying but it yielded no answer. As Ansh kept sobbing, I turned towards Arsh, his elder brother, and asked,
"Did you do anything to him in the pool car? "
"No, mumma, I didn't do anything to him. He was crying in the van also,” Arsh replied.
“Ansh, tell me why you are crying?" I asked, wiping his tears and kissing him on the cheek. Still, he didn't utter a word. Only his sobbing got louder and louder.
His father was also disturbed to see him cry. He settled him on his lap and asked him gently, "Beta, what happened? Why are you crying?"
Finally, Ansh spoke. He produced a small piece of paper which was folded neatly in his pocket and handed it to his father. He opened and read it and exclaimed, "Arey baba, you are crying for this? Kuch kharab nahi likha hai, accha hi likha hai tumhare barein mein (Nothing bad is written here. Only good things are written about you)."
My husband handed over the paper to me, then hugged and kissed Ansh. I read the paper and saw a sketch of a boy wearing a turban with these words written below it:
"Surya ast, Punjabi mast." (Punjabis are always cool, lyrics from a Bollywood movie)
I asked Ansh, "Who gave you this paper?" His father's encouraging words had changed his mood and he replied, “One boy threw it at me after the classes got over.”
"What is his name?" I asked impatiently.
"I don't know mumma. Mere dost bhi mujhko, surya ast Punjabi bola (even my friends say the same thing),” he said.
"There is nothing bad about it, Ansh beta. It's a song. Punjabi toh mast hote hi hai. (Punjabis are always cool)"
But Ansh was not convinced. He complained, "Mumma, why do we have to wear a turban? My friends are curious to know what's inside it. They keep touching it.”
I told Ansh not to get worried by what others say.
“The turban is our tradition and a mark of respect in our religion. Your papa never cuts his hair and wears a turban. When you grow up, people will address you as Sardarji as a mark of respect wherever you go."
Listening to these words, Ansh cheered up.
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