“Hello, Listeners! Wish you all a very happy valentine’s day in advance,” the voice from the radio was saying. He was lying on his bed, willing himself to be consumed by sleep. Sadly, his chaotic mind had other ideas. “Love, Ah! The best feeling in the world. There is nothing more beautiful than being in love and being loved. So, what makes love so special? That it has no expectations, it has no barriers. And that is because Love is blind.”

Despite his state of mind, he couldn’t help letting out a chuckle at that. Love is blind but no one loves the blind.

Yes. Though he had a colourful mind, his eyes only saw darkness. A disappointment, he was called. A disappointment to his parents, family, and friends. He wasn’t like them, he didn’t know how they looked, how they walked or how they smiled. He didn’t even know what he himself looked like. He asked his caretaker, “Mother, what do I look like? Am I dark or fair, short or tall? Stout or fit? Do I have dimples? Or at least pimples?”

The woman he called mother, replied bitterly, “You look like a disappointment.”

The words stung. He felt as though something had pierced him and broken his heart. But he couldn’t blame her. After all, to her, he was a burden, an unwanted one at that.

He never knew his biological parents. He was told that his father left his mother because she gave birth to a blind boy and his mother died shortly after, leaving him with his aunt, whom he grew up with.

Though she showed no care for him, he considered her his mother, for she had taken him in and had provided food and shelter all these years.

 

He wasn’t sent to school. Instead, he had to work to earn for the both of them. He sold stationery near the town’s school. Sometimes, people took advantage of his weakness. They stole from him, played pranks on him. Bu, he could never hate anyone. All the hatred in his heart was already reserved for himself. As the radio played soothing melodies, his eyes closed on their own accord and he began to sleep.

It was a fairly busy morning at the shop for the school had reopened after the holidays. He heard the school bell ring and the children running towards the school gates.

It was his daily routine. When there weren’t many customers around, he’d sit there, listening to the teachers teaching, or the children’s chatter or the sound of chalks on the blackboard or the P.E.T teacher’s whistle. He longed to know what school was like. He cursed his fate.

At lunch break, two students came to get pencils. They were talking to each other about a new teacher who had joined the school. Apparently, she was very kind towards everyone and loved children. Unfortunately, despite being married for years, she didn’t have children.

He felt bad for the teacher. Here he was longing for a parent and such a kind parent had no child. The students were very lucky to have a teacher like that, so caring and kind, he felt.

Being lost in his thoughts, he didn’t notice that the children had not paid for the pencils. And he didn’t know that they had taken another two out of the box either. And he also didn’t know that two other people saw it all.

As the children turned towards the school, they saw the new teacher standing there with a stern expression on her face. She took the pencils from their hand, “Why did you steal? Don’t you know that it is wrong? Just because he didn’t know doesn’t make it right. Go apologise to him, return the extra pencils and pay for the ones you bought.”

 

“Sorry miss,” they mumbled. They walked back towards the store and apologised to him. He just smiled,”It is alright. To err is human, am I right?”

 

The children felt guilty for trying to steal from such a kind boy. They apologised again and went back to school.

 

The teacher was stunned by the boy’s kindness. Such a wonderful boy! How mature he his, for his age. I wish I had a son like him.

 

Just as he was closing the pencil jars, he heard the angry voice of his aunt exclaim, “You are useless, such a disappointment. Is this what happens every day? You don’t even know when people steal from you! Oh God! How much money have you lost like this, you useless dog?”

“No Mother. I am sorry. I-I didn’t know. I won’t let it happen again. I will be m-more careful,” he replied, scared.

“No. You can’t. How can you? You can’t even see. Blind fool!”

The words cut him deep. Tears threatened to fall. It was not his fault that he was blind, was it? How can he help it?

“Excuse me!” a new voice said to his aunt.

“How can you talk to your own son like that? It is not his fault that he is blind. And you know what? He is very lucky, for he does not see the evil in this world. He is not corrupted by this ugly reality. How lucky he is, for God made him blind to the impurity of this world.”

It was as though someone had applied a balm on his wounded heart. He felt happy in a long time hearing those words.  He felt a surge of gratitude towards the person who spoke.

“Son? This blind fool? No way! This fool keeps calling me mother because his mother left him to me before she died. It is easy to talk like this when you are not the person who has to live with this idiot. And who are you to question me?”

 

“I am the new teacher in this school. Of course, it is not my business but I can’t just walk away when something wrong is happening in front of my eyes. Now tell me, did you send him to school? He earns for you also, while you sit at home enjoying the fruits of his work. Yet, you insult him like this? I am really sorry for saying this, but you don’t deserve him. And as for living with him, I plan on doing it.”

 

He heard his aunt gasp, “ You- what– H-How can you say this?”

 

“Don’t you know that child labour is against the law? And from the scars on his arms, I can see that you have treated him badly. Should I file a complaint against you for child abuse? You don’t want that, right? Look, from tomorrow, you’ll manage this shop. I’ll meet you tomorrow with the adoption papers. I’m taking him with me.”

His aunt was too scared to reply. The teacher asked him gently, “What is your name, son?”

He cleared his throat and wiped the tears off his face as he replied, “Kiran.”

“Ah, a ray of sunshine. You would dispel the darkness wherever you go. Did you know, you are such a blessed boy. You get to live in your own world. You get to see the world, which you want to see. In your world, the people are however you want them to be. You are so blessed,” her voice shook with unshed tears, “Would you like to come with me? My husband and I, we’ll keep you happy. We’ll teach you, we’ll send you to school, we’ll do everything to make you happy. Will you accept me as your mother?”

He had nothing to say. He extended his arms in reply. She took him in her arms with a delighted sob,”I love you, son!”

For the first time, he felt it. The feeling of being in his mother’s arms. He felt her affection and care for him. He felt it, the feeling of happiness of security, and he wanted nothing more. He finally understood love. Love did not know to see the flaws of the world. It accepted people with all their flaws. It did not care for their imperfections. Love was blind indeed. Being blind, if love could bring light into dark lives, he realised that he also could. He hugged his mother tightly as he whispered, “I love you too, mom!’