“What do I do now? I didn’t want this shit to happen. But it did. I should have sought out for help in the first place,” Kiran was murmuring to himself.

“Roll number 32!” The teacher called, “Please come and take your progress card.” Madumitha, Kirans’ favourite teacher was giving out progress cards to everyone. Kiran likes Madhumitha not because she teaches Hindi classes very well but because she was the only one in the school to make sure that kids of Kirans’ class eat well daily. Kiran being a kid, doesn’t know that Madhumitha is their class teacher, of course, he knew that she was their Class teacher, but he didn’t know that her job itself is to take care of those kids. So he always felt her warmth. Besides, she had a beautiful smile for which Kiran used to go to school regularly.

But today, Kiran isn’t focusing on Madhumitha; he is just biting his nails, submerged in many questions. “I know my friends are idiots, but they could have at least helped me in writing the exams well. I could have copied and got good marks. Now I don’t know what my marks would be.” Kiran was freaking out.

“Roll number 50! Please come Kiran.” Madhumitha called. For the first time, Kiran was feeling panicked instead of feeling shy as Madhumitha called him. “Kiran, what are these marks? They are declining each time. What is the problem? Ask your parents to come and meet me tomorrow. You are getting ridiculous each day. You have also been misbehaving. Many teachers have complained to me against you. Now take your card and go.” The teacher shouted angrily at Kiran while he stood there, weeping. Kiran took the card and went back to his seat.

“Trrrrring!!” School bell rang, and kids started rushing out from their classes. Kiran wore his school bag and began strolling towards the school bus. He didn’t even say bye to Madhumitha today. He sat inside the bus and kept murmuring to himself, “After all, it’s my mistake that I couldn’t listen to the classes properly. Or I would have written the exam well. How do I tell Mom and Dad about this now?” His stop came, and he stepped out of the bus.

Entering the house, he sees his mom is cooking snacks for him. “Hi, baby! How was your day?” Kirans’ mom, Indu asked. He didn’t answer and walked up to his room. Indu saw Kiran leaving to room sadly. She went to his room and saw Kiran sitting on his bed, crying. “What happened little one? What’s the matter? Don’t cry, my baby. See how your cute puppy eyes became red.” Indu said, wiping his tears. “I got my grades,” he said. “Show me your progress card,” Indu asked. “What are these marks?” she screamed. “Let your dad come.”

Kiran got afraid by her moms’ reaction. He locked his door and didn’t come out of the room. It was 7 in the evening and his dad, Anil, came home. “Hi. Please fresh up and come quickly. We need to talk.” Indu said. “Okay. I will,” said Anil and left. He came back and asked her, “What’s the matter?”

“It’s your kid. He has been getting bad marks continuously. I don’t know what to do with him. Look at this progress,” Indu showed the card to Anil. Anil sighed, “Hmm. Call him.” “Come out here. Your dad is calling you,” Indu shouted at Kirans’ door. Kiran opened the door and went to his dad. “What are these marks? What are you thinking of doing with them? Are they teaching well at school?” Anil asked.

“I am not able to concentrate,” Kiran said. “What did the teacher say?” Anil asked. “She asked you guys to come and visit her. But daddy, please give me one more chance. I will do good this time” Kiran pleaded. “No more discussions. We are coming to meet her tomorrow. Now eat and go to bed,” Anil said. Kiran left to his room, crying without having food and slept with an empty stomach. “Don’t knock his door. Let him be,” Anil said Indu when she went to ask Kiran for dinner.

The next day morning-

“C’mon. Get up and get ready. We are going to your school,” Anil woke up Kiran. Kiran woke up and got ready with a long face. “Kiran, come for breakfast,” Indu called. “I don’t want,” Kiran said in a low voice. “Come. Eat up.” Anil said in a firm voice. Kiran ate the food, and they all left for his school.

“Why do they do this? Am I going to get beaten up? Will they treat me bad now?” There were so many questions in the innocent brain of Kiran. They reached school and met Madhumathi.

“Hello, Ms.Madhumathi. How are you? We are here to speak about Kiran,” Anil said. “Hai. I am good. Yes, please, let’s talk.” Madhumathi said, “I have seen his grades declining by each time. Is he studying at home? We are trying to put full efforts, but he is not picking up.” “I understand. What is he good at then?” Anil asked. “Sorry. But he isn’t good at any subject,” Madhumathi said. “How wonderful! You are a teacher, and you don’t know what he is good at beyond the subjects you grade.” Anil said.

“I am sorry. But we are meant to grade them for only these subjects.” Madhumathi said.  

For which Anil said, “We all know it is not just these seven subjects that make a persons’ future. We all have struggled for what we want in our lives because of the lack of awareness in our parents. But with generations, our ideology must also change. I know he is not good at these subjects, but he must be good at something. We don’t send our kids to school for them to get validated consistently and get pressurized but to understand what they are good at and hone their skills for the same. We all have been there already; let’s not get the same situation to our children. I have been hard on him yesterday because I know that education is essential for everyone and he must understand its value. But I want him to do what’s best for him and what he loves. Please understand this.”

A few days later-

“Mom, Dad, I got first prize in story writing!” Kiran came running, screaming in excitement. “Wow. Very nice. Read it out for us,” Indu said. “Yes, sure. I would love to. Here goes the title- We all have been there,” and Kirans’ story continues.

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