Radhey was a crybaby. It was his signature characteristic.
From the time of his birth till the day of his death, Radhey’s face was a perpetual wetland. Salty streams had etched their course, puffing and wrinkling brown skin. But this was the least of Radhey’s concerns. His brain and heart were so busy competing for supremacy that his sense of self-awareness had dispersed.
There was no room for the three to scuffle.
Radhey’s father was the first to note his son’s strange behavior. No matter where they were or what they were doing, Radhey’s tears were ready to burst. It could be joy or sorrow; the boy would begin sobbing beforehand. Thinking his son was either stupid or possessed, the man took young Radhey to the thresholds of great saints and religious men.
Many cures were concocted, and liberal spells were recited, but all Radhey could do was crease his eyes harder, open his mouth wider, and bawl like he was shouldering the misery of the world. And whenever Radhey’s father asked him to stop, the boy made sure to cry an extra hour.
School was the worst time in Radhey’s life. He had no friends because of his sensitive condition. But enemies weren’t so hard to make, and he was bullied left, right, and center. There was no respite till he returned home and then his little sister would say or do something to kickstart his crying agenda.
A mother’s heart is soft and so Radhey’s mother kept her boy close to her. Almost tying him to the loose end of her sari, she watched over him, ready to strike down those who tried to provoke him. But mothers aren’t foolish and soon the woman came to know that Radhey’s crying was his own doing.
Then came the slaps and strings of abuses. Maybe periodic beatings could snap Radhey out of his teary stupor. But the boy turned into a man and months transformed into years, however nothing could change him.
On the eve of his sister’s wedding, a close relative offered a brilliant suggestion. Radhey needs a wife who can convert his sobs into smiles. Not wanting to openly disagree, Radhey’s parents politely nodded but later slapped their foreheads and whispered to each other – only a dummy would tolerate a loser like him. So marriage was out of the question, but the young man needed an occupation.
And Radhey was sent to an ashram to herd sheep and gain a sense of responsibility. Every morning to evening, Radhey walked with his flock. They would baa… he would sob… Each day passed a little better and a little lighter. Till one day, the sheep returned without Radhey. A group of three ventured out to find him.
Radhey’s lifeless body lay in the center of a field. The marks and wounds suggested that he had been trampled, most probably by the flock he herded. The men shook their heads and sighed deeply.
Even the poor sheep couldn’t tolerate his crying.
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