I never could forget how phenomenal my mother was, and I must say that I found her rather strange as a child. She had certain precepts that after many futile attempts she finally managed to imbibe them in me.

I grew up rather small, hence, I was the recipient of a good many beatings and derision by bullies. But, in their defense, I must say that I had quite a big mouth for a small body. Nevertheless, whichever way you judge the matter, one thing is true: I always came home feeling smaller; with one complaint or the other.
One day, as always I complained. I told my mother of how a boy had forced me to give up my favourite possession—my ball.
At first, she was quiet then she told me something that I didn’t quite expect. She said I deserved to have my ball taken from me for having not put up a good fight in the defense of what was mine.

But mother had not the inkling how big this kid was.

Although, she was right; I did not put up a good enough fight; I should have held unto my ball in spite of how much he yelled. I should have scurried off when he tried to grab me. I did none of these things, and now I had lost my ball. Still, I was terribly vexed at her for not understanding how big he was; for not understanding how much he loved to kick boys right between their legs; how much his punches hurt and how little I was. Perhaps my vexation was what inspired in me a resolve: to fight back.

Sometime in the next year, I was walking on the street; a few feet ahead of my mother who was with me, when one of my bullies, oblivious of my mother’s presence, decided to tease me.
Feeling rather confident, I engaged him. Saying to him things I had kept on the inside all this time. I hurt him bad. I saw it. And I liked it. Did he hurt me? Well, he tried but not before mother was close enough to stop him. So, he couldn’t and only ran off.

I felt rather proud that I had put up a good fight—a cowardly brave fight, if you choose. However, I did not get the cheer I had expected. Mother scolded me thoroughly, even more than she had when I broke our Christmas chinas—and she had given me a pretty bad scolding then. She kept on saying that my method was wrong, and it was no way to stand up for oneself. And that it was quite shameful that I felt proud of them. I cannot quite recollect all of her words but one statement, however, stuck with me; it was the statement she ended with. She said, ‘You are not him’.

At the time, I never understood a word she said. I didn’t even try. I was only angry.

Now, I think I do. And she was right. Again.

I had always prided myself with the thought that I was a better human than all of my bullies; different from them but at that moment, when I used his insecurities to hurt him, I was not any different.

It was the same bully scenario only that our positions changed.

It felt good at the time but when I began to think about my actions; about how much I must have hurt him. I had regrets.

I learned my lesson and ever since then I adopted a different strategy for defense: aggressive kindness. Or just kindness.

Tyranny is not scarce in the society we have built; so common that if it was not so sensitive a matter it would be cliché. We all face it once or twice in our lives; in different forms, and it consumes us with the feeling of powerlessness, rage and hate. But, once or twice, the Universe shifts in our favour, and our reaction to this opportunity is of utmost importance because, in a way, it could define the rest of our lives. Therefore, shall the moment arise; I advise that you resist the allure of payback, instead, favour kindness. Then you will realise just how powerful kindness can be. How powerful you can be.

For those who are wondering about the outcome of my short-sighted bravado, here it is: the next time I saw him was at school, and already mother had convinced me to apologise; which I did reluctantly. In the end, I received a terrible beating and I have a scar to prove it. But afterwards I felt good about myself—emotionally.