By: Ranjit Kulkarni
At the open house of Vidya Niketan School, all students sat in uncomfortable silence. Most of them were with their mothers. Some of them were with their fathers. They waited for the class teacher to call them. They dreaded the impending discussion about their performance.
Most of them wondered why this day existed. Some of them wondered why mothers existed. A few of them wondered why this day and their mothers existed together. Everyone sat in silence.
Varun sat with his mother on the last bench of the classroom. He was in a cheerful mood. He saw his marksheets with amusement. Despite the lowly marks he had scored, he smiled every time he showed them to his mother.
“See, I could have scored more here,” he pointed to an answer marked wrong.
“It is ok, dear. Next time be more careful,” his mother said. Varun felt better.
He fished out a chocolate from his bag. “You kept this in my bag, isn’t it?”
He gulped it down, making sure no one else in the classroom saw it.
“I never share it with anyone,” he told her. “That’s why no one sits near me, isn’t it?” he asked.
“That’s ok, dear. But you still have me. And I still have you, isn’t it?” his mother whispered in his ear, trying to cheer him up. But she saw that he was still a bit morose. So she told him a joke.
Varun laughed aloud at the joke. Everyone in the classroom looked back to see what broke the silence. They saw Varun laughing all alone and talking to no one.
Ranjit Kulkarni is a writer of short stories, articles, and novels. His work has appeared in Literary Yard, Indian Periodical, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Potato Soup Journal, Setu Journal, CC&D Scars, Ariel Chart, Active Muse, Anti-Heroin Chic, Grey Thoughts, Kathmandu Tribune, Café Lit, Muse India, Misery Tourism, Scarlet Leaf Review and Writer’s Egg Magazine.