'Aadi... Aadi, where's your report card??'. I was questioned as soon as I entered in.
'Pa... I have it in my bag, pa!!. I will freshen up and bring it you!'.
'Come for chai time, Aadi. I have made your favourite snacks!!'.
'Coming maaa...'. I reached downstairs.
'Where's your report card??'.
'Is it still, sleeping in your bag??'. She chuckled.
'Yes, just like you!!'. I gave her back.
'Bring your card now!'.
'Stop it you two!!. Let him have something, he must be really hungry!!'.
'Eat first and meet me at the living room, soon!'.
'Don't gobble your snacks... You will choke, Aadi!. Aadi... Listen, eat calmly'.
'No ma, I will go and meet pappa soon!!'.
'Drink this milk first!!'.
I ran to the living room and I waited until he ended his long chat on phone and as I reached near him, Agalya came in out of nowhere and handed her report card before him.
'Ummm.... Good marks Agalya!!'.
'Thank you Pa!!'.
'You are good in physics and history!!. Good. When do you want to give it back in school??'.
'I will sign and give you now!!'.
'Thank you pappa!!'. She smirked at me and I stared at her.
'What are you doing there, glaring at her?'.
'Sorry pa, nothing!!'.
'Where's your report card??'.
'Here it is, pa!'.
'Let me have a good glance!!'.
'What??. What can I do with you??. Why can't you fair well?'.
'Am an average student, pa!!'.
'Is this your average??. Idiot'.
'I have scored overall average percentage, pa!!'.
'Like hell you have!!. It is not enough, to fair well in board exams, you duffer!!'.
'I will try to score good in my boards, pa!!'.
'With these scores, I doubt that. Why can't you be like your sister??'.
'What were you about to say??'.
'Say it. Say it!!'.
'I am not my sister. I am not her!!'.
'What??, What did you just say??'. I got my first slap and many followed by.
'You aren't her. You can't be like her. You will never be able to be like her!!'.
'I don't want to be!!'. A slap again, this time hard.
'She's a good student. Do you know what it takes to be a good student??'.
'I don't know. She' s good in studies. Am good at something else!!'.
'What are you good at??. I can't see one here!'.
'Am good in arts!!!'.
'In arts... In arts... How can it help you grow higher!?'.
'I don't know now. But I believe, it will pa!!'.
'Believe... Believe... Yes, beleive is all you can do!!'. He hit me harder and harder and harder.
'Ahhh... Ouch... ahhh... It hurts!' I cried hard and my mom came running over to me.
'It's hurting ma!!'.
'Stop it!!. Stop it, I say. Stop it'. She yelled and my dad stopped hurting me.
'Stop crying you idiot. You don't have to weep, like a baby. Be a man!!'. He shouted at me.
'Why can't I cry if it's paining badly??'.
'A man should learn to endure his pain inside!'.
'He's a boy. Let him be a boy for sometime!!'. She took me away to my room, inside.
I cried at night, as ma patted me to sleep. I woke up early and spent the early hours of dawn, sketching the feircely forming red sun, the white ducks, ponds and cranes from the land far from our place.
'Ma, look at this!'. I showed her my quick sketch.
'Its beautiful Aadi!!'.
'Thank you so much, ma!!'. I teared up a bit.
'Why do you cry??. Aadi... Aadi!!'.
'I felt good as you liked it, so I teared up!!'.
'Oh...my golden boy!!. You have such an innocent heart. Always stay like this Aadi. I just didn't like it, I love it Aadi!. Do you like Sketching??'.
'I love sketching ma!!'.
'No doubt, you are good at it!!'.
'I know!'. I whispered and she chuckled.
'What else do you like Aadi?'.
'I love organising skits ma. But sketching, is what I love the most!!'.
'Ma, can I ask you something??'.
'Go on Aadii!!'.
'Have you seen my marks in my report card?'.
'What do you think??'.
'You scored average'.
'Can you... Can you sign it for me??'.
'Sure I will, on one condition!!'.
'What is it, ma?'.
'Tell me, you will put in the hardwork and score better marks, in boards!'.
'I will ma, I promise!!'.
'Bring in your report card, I will sign it for you!!'.
'No, you won't!!'.
'Yes, I will!!'.
'Why won't I??. Why can't I??. I am his parent too. I can very well sign. I am his ma!!'.
'Don't you dare, Sangamithraa!?'.
'I will sign!!'. She signed my card. In anger, my dad snatched my sketch pad and tore the early morning sketches I drew and I cried.
'What have you done??'. No Aaadi, no, please don't cry!!'.
'Heartless!!. You are so heartless. You are turning into a heartless human!!'. She shouted at him.
'Do mind, what you say??'. He yelled.
'I am in my senses. I know what I said, you are heartless. Why do you hurt him, for something I have done. Do you have guts to hurt me?. Do you??'. She screamed at him, angst, he left the place.
'Aadi, listen. Don't cry. Please!!. Why do you have to cry??'.
'Why ma, is it wrong to cry??'.
'Then why can't I cry??. What's wrong in crying??. I feel like crying, ma. I loved the sketch, I drew this morning. He never saw what it was, he tore it. It hurts ma!!. Should I have to feel ashamed, to cry ma??'.
'No Aadi, no, you don't have to. It's just the worldly ways. They would strip you bad, taunt, mock you, when you cry, but, be the person you are always are, Aadi!!'.
'Thank you so much ma!!'.
'Now, don't be late for school!. Have your breakfast quick and go freshen up!!'.
'Students... Listen carefully to this math problem!!. There are many models in this chapter. So, it's important to understand it. Pay attention to the board!!'. She turned towards the board as we started working out the sum.
'This step is crucial. Listen, look at the board, students!!'. As she faced the board, the backbenchers threw a paperball at her.
'Let's go to the canteen Aadi, after this class!!. Am hell hungry'.
'Yes, Ved. Let's take a quick break. I am starving too!'.
'Who did that??. Mannerless creatures. Is this how you treat your teacher??. Have you not taught about respect??. Idiots, bunch of idiots!'. She crocuhed down to pick the paper.
'Who's paper is it??. Tell me, who's is it?. Better tell me before I find out??'. The class went silent and she opened the paper.
What have I done??. Why is she calling out my name??. I stood up, as Ved signalled me on did I threw the paper at her and I gestured no.
'That's me, Mam!!'.
'Why did you throw the paper at me??'.
'I didn't Mam!'.
'Yes, he didn't, Mam!'. Ved stood beside me.
'How do you say??'.
'I am sitting quite close to him. I never saw him, throw any paper at anyone. Better, he doesn't do such things Mam'.
'There' s a sketch of a guy smiling that Aditya has drawn, Ved!!'.
'He didn't draw anything either Mam!!'.
'Its dated today,Ved!!'.
'He must have fooled you. Don't you support him!'.
'I agree, I drew that sketch today Mam, it's mine. But I never drew anything now, at this moment!!'.
'Liar, Such a pathetic liar. Cheater. Shamless, utterly shameless of you, Aditya. Why did you aim your ugly sketch at me??'. Why did you do that??. You can't score well, get good marks, your math is terrible!!. So, must be your other subjects too. So instead of studying for boards, to score well, are you showing me your ugly attitude??'.
'No, no Mam. No, I didn't throw anything at you!. Trust me!!'.
'No, I won't. Here on, you have to stand outside of my class, each time, I take math to you this year. Go outside, idiot!. If you fail to do so, you will have to face the repurcussions!'.
I stood outside of the class, as I cried the whole period. A whole gang of naughty backbenchers surrounded me as the teacher left.
'Such a coward!!. How do you cry always??'.
'Where do you stock all your tears??'.
'It takes no time to appear, guys. It's ready even before he needs them!'.
'It never easily stops!!'.
'No...No... Mam!. I didn't throw!. One of them mimicked my voice and I cried hard.
'There it goes, the dam has broken guys!!'.
'We threw the paperball at her. The one you crushed in the morning, duffer!!'.
'What a coward!!. Stop making noise!. Shut up!!'. I still cried.
'He's not. You are a coward. You all are!!'. Ved pointed at them.
'Better mind your business, Ved!!'.
'Behave as humans and advise others!!'. Ved pulled me out of the gang into a hug...
'You haven't done anything Aadi!!. I know you, I won't say, don't cry!!. You don't have the need to,
as you haven't done anything wrong!!'.
'Yes. I will not cry!!'. He walked me to the canteen and I felt nothing.
As I walked my way back home, I promised myself, as I won't cry ever. I had hardened and no-one ever saw me cry, I had became an introvert and spoke to just ma and Ved. I kept my promise I gave ma and I scored well in my boards.
'Hey gym guy!. What's up??. We are your seniors. Salute us, wherever you see us!. Remember that!!'.
'Sure sir!'. I saluted them.
'Good boy!!. Good, what's your name?'.
'So, Aaditya why mechanical engineering??'.
'I liked the vibe this college had, when I had came to get an application form. So, chose mech, senior!!. I heard that this college is known for it's mech students'.
'Good!. I like the attitude!'. I stiffened.
'So, where are you from??'.
'I am getting late senior. I better get going!!'. Ved patted my shoulder.
'Aadi, where are you from??'.
'Senior, Hello, am his best buddy, Ved. We are from the south of the city. They are asking all juniors to assemble soon. It's getting late, shall we move??'.
'You go Ved!!. I haven't done talking to Aadi!!'.
'He's one of us, Senior. He's a junior too. We will continue our chat later!!'.
'Sure Ved. Bye Aadiii!!'.
'Bye Senior!!'. I saluted him.
'You don't have to stiffen up so much Aadi. I got scared you would hit him!. He seems, to like you'.
'He didn't harm me, for me to hit him Ved. It was the past that pricked me badly!!'.
'Don't let it haunt you, Aadi!!. Its way gone, Aadi. It's done and dusted. It's gone. Let's happily focus on now. Let's enjoy it'.
'True Ved. Let's enjoy now!!'.
'Let's head to the canteen before we go to the class Aadi. Am famished!!'.
'Yes, the samosas were too good. I am sure you will love it, Ved!!'.
'You left me and ate!. I will not give you my share now!'. Teasingly, he hit me on my stomach.
'I came early Ved, was hungry, so ate. Ha...ha... I will anyways steal them!!'. I hugged him...
Six months later
'How have you prepared for the exam Aadi??'.
'Fine Ved!!. I would do fine, I guess. how about you??'.
'Let's see Aadi. I have planned to pass on my first papers. I have heard m3 is the most difficult!!'.
'I heard that too, Ved. You seem pretty excited!?. What's going on??'.
'There's nothing in my life that you haven't known of. Except this, Aadi. I wanted to keep it as a surprise for you. But I terribly hold a secret from you!!'.
'Ha...ha... Caught you as always. So what's now??'.
'I have plans to join the college band Aadi. They had conducted selection rounds. I had been selected. I will not be around you during holidays, would be practising and jamming with them!'.
'Wow!!. That's huge Ved. Good, you have taken up something exciting. Can I come around sometimes??'.
'Anytime Aadi. I will meet you at home after practice!'. The senior passed by.
'Seniorrr, Good morning!!'. I saluted him.
'How is the prep Junior??'.
'Going on!. How about you Senior?'.
'I would pass!!. Got to go, Aadi!!'.
'Sure Senior, bye!!'.
'Hey Aadi!!. They are calling us in, come let's go!. Good luck buddy!'.
'Good luck, Ved!!. We will walk to the canteen after exams!'.
'The samosas on me, Aaadi!!'.
An hour went by, in the exam hall. I took a five minute break and saw others filling their papers fast. The paper turned out surprisingly easy and everyone seemed happy. I turned to see Ved, he smiled at me and rapidly turned towards writing the exam as the flying squad appeared out of nowhere.
'Hey, get up from your seat??'. I was asked to stand. But why??.
'Why are you seating idle?. What are you waiting for??'.
'Nothing Sir. I took a five minute break sir!!'.
'For what??. Who's giving you answers in this room??'.
'Which year and department are you??. What's your name??'.
'First year Mech, Sir!!. Am Aditya!!'. The invigilator and the whole class stared at me suspiciously.
'Sagayam, check this guy thoroughly!!'. He gestured the other guy who came with him.
'Come out with me!!'. He checked my shirt and pant pockets and sent me off.
'He's clean, Sir!!'.
'Check every other boy in this class!!'. Ved gave me a bad stare as he went for checking and so did others. They are going to kill me.
'Everyone came out clean, Sir!!'.
'Hey, young man!. Never sit idle in a exam hall. Start writing your paper!!. Let's go squad!!'.
'Five minute break!!... Ha...ha... What were you thinking??. You could atleast stared at your answer or question sheet'.
'Yea Ved. I never knew a five minute break, could turn out to be a problem!!'.
'Not only for you Aadi!!. For all of us!!. We all throwed the chits before checking, as we all were coping except you. But they suspected you first. What an irony!!'. He stuffed his samosas.
'Yes, why me Ved??. I was doing nothing except I smiled at you!!'. We walked on the platform.
'Oh... that!!. How did I even forgot??. It was a split second Aadi. We both would have been caught badly' . I was spell bound.
'Aadii....Aadiii.... What???'. He shook me hard.
'Look there Ved!!!'.
A child was sitting on the mud floor and crying out of hunger badly pointing towards his mom for food, who was thin with no flesh. I could understand that there was no milk to give the baby boy and stunned I sat on the platform crying. Yes, I cried. I cried hard, after a long time. I felt more me, more close to my heart and soul. I felt human after a long time.
'Aaadi... Am happy you are crying hard for this!. You are crying after a long time!'.
'Ved... Ved... Let's just give our foods to her. She badly needs them!'.
'Sure Aadi, let's give to her and leave!!'.
'Yes, Ved. Let's leave her peacefully to eat!!'.
'I want to cry Ved!!'.
'Cry as much as you want. This is you, Aadi. The Aadi you made, wasn't real. You cry, you laugh just like anyone. But, you cry for the smallest of things, too. That's what makes you Aadi!'.
'True Ved!!. See you in the holidays!!'. I reached home.
I sat on my room and thought about the incident again. I cried in an instant, it was so unexpected but I saw Ved teared up a bit too. I wanted to show the world that crying isn't bad and it's good to cry, if we feel like crying. I knew, how my holidays are going to turn out as.
It's been two months since I met Ved!!. It's been two months since I did anything other than sketching. I loved the whole process. I loved the way it had turned out. I was afraid it would, end up bad, but it hadn't. I facetimed Ved, before uploading the pictures on the social media platforms.
'Hey, Ved!!. Come home soon!!'.
'I was waiting for your call, Aadi!. Will be there in fifteen'.
'Where have you been Aadi?. What have you been doing??. What's going on??. Why you asked me to not to meet you?. Why haven't you picked my calls?'. He kept on hitting me as he questioned.
'Look at this Ved!!. Sorry buddy!. I was busy in making these...'.
'What???. Are you serious??. What's all this??'. It's mind blowing Aadi!'.
'You remember that day, we saw a kid cried out of hunger. He's no more hungry Ved. Am helping him in a small way. That day, I saw you tear up too. I hardly have, seen you cry. So this idea popped in. I have decided to come up with some sketches to show the world, on how we can't stop from crying in these moments!. To show on how okay it is, to cry!!'.
'Wow!!. What's the theme named??'.
'Ma... The one who teaches us on how to cry, as she brings us on this world. I took six scenarios of life incidents - of when love breaks, when our parents leave us, when we taste the moment of success, when the failure hits us hard, when a friend dies and when a child cries out of poverty. We cry and we are never ashamed of. We should cry at these moments. Crying makes us human Ved!'.
'It sure does Adi. I am so proud of you!!'.
'Be there when I upload it Ved!!'.
'I am going nowhere!!'.
I posted it with the description and uploaded the sketches on my social media platforms.
Two days later!.
The messages popped in continuously and there were so many voice messages, thanking me cryingly on how beautiful the message was. Out of all the messages I have read and heard, one thing that was so common between us was, we all were at one point of our life had been teased and mocked badly for crying. As I kept hearing them wishing me, I cried happily.
Crying reasons could differ, our reasons is ours, of importance, but it isn't something that we should be ashamed of!!. Crying defines to us on how our soul is made of, to most situations.