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The Sunset Swing

A Swing

  
The year this true story happened was 1969. Over five decades had passed after that true story of Sunset Swing happened in my life. Yet, the memories are as fresh as if it was just yesterday. The Swing is the true story of a little boy aged three years, who was bullied by an adult and how the boy took his revenge in his own sweet way, injured himself and got the whole incident permanently stored inside his brain and marked the injury outside, on his forehead forever.

One day, I was looking at the mirror and saw an injury mark on the top middle part of my forehead. My mother, who standing nearby and watching me looking intently at myself in the mirror.

My mother said casually, "It happened when you were just three years old."

I looked at her for a while and asked, “Mother, do you remember the incident?”

She said as she started walking into the kitchen, "No. It happened with you, not me. How will I know? But I do remember that you came home crying one evening, with your forehead injured by a Swing or something. Your forehead was bleeding.”

A minute later she came out of the kitchen and I said, “I will tell you what had happened that evening.”

My mother sat there looking at me in disbelief for a while and said, " When it happened, you had just turned three years old. How do you remember the details of that incident."

My father was in the Army and those days. The army is usually located in a jungle or alternately in a barren place. We lived inside an army camp. The army had created everything there on its own.

In those days, I used to go to the Children's Park near our house, which the Army had equipped with a swing, a sea saw, a climbing ladder, a small merry go round etc. All the equipment in the children's park were made out of scraps the army unit workshop discards. So, newer play items keep getting added round the year.

The swing had a rectangular frame made from iron plates, with two thin chains supporting the metal piece and it even had a cushion on it. The Swing happened to be my main attraction. There were houses to the west of the park. So, the sun used to set on top of the houses before it actually goes down below the distant horizon.

I loved the swing a lot and I would wait till the sunset to start swinging. Until then, I would be playing on other equipment. When I start swinging the sun is almost touching the roof of some house. As the sun starts going down behind that house, I would start swinging with even more force to see the settings Sun, behind the house when I am at the top of my swing cycle. That gave me a crazy satisfaction. It was an art I had perfected over a period of few months and I had even fallen from the swing twice performing this stunt trying to see the Sunset.

That evening, I came to the park at sunset to start swinging and see the Sunset till the Sun actually went down. The sun had just started setting over the houses near the park. I had just started swinging. That is when a helper along with a girl younger than me. She was holding a small green coloured plastic bus in her hand.

A helper is a man the army appoints to help an Officer at his house with his uniforms and shoes etc. This Officer probably did not want the help of his helper at home. So, he sent the helper to walk his 2-year-old daughter to the park. Bad for me.

The helper rudely ordered me to get off the swing immediately. I did not reply but continued to swing because I couldn't miss the setting sun behind those buildings. That is when this helper, wearing a pair of shorts and a T-Shirt, forcefully stopped my swing and took me off the swing. This was my first experience of my life, getting bullied.

After taking me off my swing, he put that small girl on the swing and placed her green toy bus also on the seat next to her. Then he started swinging her slowly. The Sun was setting and I could not see it. That made me angry. But there was nothing I could do to this grown-up man. I stood there helpless without even being able to show my anger or emotions.

That is when the god sent opportunity came. The girl's green toy bus fell down from the swing on to the ground. Suddenly, the idea came to me. I slowly inched and crawled forward on my knees and elbows exactly as I had seen my father crawling under barbed wires in one of his training routines where he would take me once in a while.

I had to retrieve the green bus for this girl. At least I had to make the helper believe that I am only helping them I acted as if I was going to take it and give it to the girl. I crawled keeping well below the swing under pendulum motion.

The moment I caught hold of the green toy bus, I put my idea into practice to run away with the toy bus. The iron swing had gone past me was in front of me still going up. I stood up with the green toy bus in my hand and had just taken a step to run away when it happened.

The edge of the metal swing came down right in front of my eyes and hit hard my forehead. I was thrown backwards and I fell on my back flinging the green bus far away. The helper did not help me get up. He walked past me and took the green toy bus and gave it to the small girl.

The helper seemed to me as if he was happy at what happened to me. I could not take this humiliation anymore. My ego and my forehead both were hurt badly. I walked back home slowly, crying silently due to the pain on my forehead and in my heart.

When I reached home my mother saw my forehead bleeding and quickly gave me some first aid to stop the bleeding. I waited for my father to come home to tell him to take revenge on that helper. But I fell asleep before he came home that night.

Next morning, I woke up and before my father left for work, I narrated the incident contorting the whole story in a way favourable only to me and portraying the helper as a bad giant. I don’t really know if my father understood my broken language, running out of words from my vocabulary whilst trying to convey what happened. I used more hand and leg actions than words to convince him.
After hearing me out patiently my father said, "Don't worry, I will look into it. I know that man".

My ego was restored and the wound on my heart was healed the moment I heard those assuring words from my father. That evening, I went and accomplished my Sunset Swing. But I never really could look at the Setting Sun that evening, because my eyes were continuously searching the park for the helper and the girl.