Radhika was busy as usual, flitting about the house, doing little chores here and there. The mundanity of it all get to her sometimes, making her weary, like now. She gave a deep sigh and hurried about her task, eager to get done with it. From the corner of her eye, she saw her cute little daughter, Anika, darting from one room to another, obviously engrossed in one of her pretend plays. Radhika, by nature, disliked distractions, but today, she decided otherwise. She caught hold of her little darling, placed her on her lap, and gave her a bear hug. Anika looked at her mom in glee. She loved this blatant display of affection. She hugged her mom back and smothered her with kisses all over her face. Radhika felt much lighter. She looked out of the window, a content smile on her lips.
The alarm rang at 6, its shrill cry piercing through the silence of dawn. Rithvik awoke with a start. On most days, he would have snoozed the alarm and gone back to sleep. But today, he felt a sense of urgency created by a mix of excitement and anxiety. It was the first day of his new school. And he was having jitters about so many things. Would this school be similar to his old school? Will he find another best friend like Sandeep? And a kind teacher like Pramila ma’am, to whom he was the favourite? What if everyone else already had their friends and he was ignored?
With a nervous smile, Rithvik entered his class. He scoured the faces of his classmates, hoping for a friendly smile somewhere. His eyes met those of a short boy with a naughty twinkle. The boy grinned at him and Rithvik grinned back. At seven, Rithvik had his first experience of the feeling of elation and relief that comes with acceptance.
Renu was getting ready for her IIT coaching classes, a smile on her lips, a slight dance in her gait. Of late, life seemed much more colourful and magical, like a vibrant rainbow appearing against the blue sky or a hibiscus bud blossoming into a beautiful pink flower. It all began the day she took note of Anand, the new boy in her class. His bespectacled geeky look caught her fancy. And since then, every waking moment has been one of nervous excitement for Renu.
Renu sat in her class, furtively looking around for Anand, her face red with the exhilaration of anticipation. Would Anand reciprocate with a nod, a look, a smile, today? Oh! The magic, innocence and sheer beauty of the first crush!
Ramakrishnan went about his morning routine – waking up at 6, bath and prayers, followed by a breakfast of two idlis with coconut chutney at 8. At 84, he was still a stickler for discipline, probably one of the prime reasons for his enviable good health. Though usually calm and sure, today he felt a nervous flutter in the pit of his stomach – he often felt this way on the days his son was due to visit him. Not that Ramakrishnan felt neglected at the senior citizen’s home. In fact, he loved the independence, the high of living life on your own terms … something that he could never hope to have achieved, had he stayed on with his son, daughter in law and grand kids. He was also an extrovert, easily making friends, and was quite popular at the home for his inexhaustible joie di vivre.
In spite of all this, Ramakrishnan could not escape from the desperate urge to love and be loved by his kin. But then, isn’t the feeling of “liking and being liked” a fundamental part of human existence? Isn’t this the raw desire that goads man into action, giving him the hope and the spark to sail along life? There should be a reason behind Aristotle calling man a social animal.