Ashwin was the famous face of the school. He was in 12th grade and came from a very rich family of the town. He was the most desired student, not because he was brilliant in studies but because of the cold attitude and snarky comments, he made. He didn’t considered the fact that due to his rash attitude and irrational behaviour, he could get a termination from the school and could end his career with his own hands. When he was in class five, his parents got divorced. He was very close to both his parents and so he was the one who was affected the most. He lost his father and mother, a perfect family in an early age.  The same family he was living with today adopted him years ago from a foster care. They had showered him with utmost affection and love but he never acknowledged them as his parents. Well he couldn’t be actually blamed. He had seen his own parents fighting in the court room. Every night he was haunted by those memories of endless fights between his parents. And that’s why he adapted to such straight forwarded personality who didn’t thought twice before saying anything over anyone’s face.

One day he was feeling lonely since years ago, it was on this day his parents got divorced and he was put in a foster care. That’s why without informing anyone, he took a car and drove outside the city. After four hours of non- stop driving, he finally reached his destination, his old foster care home. The owner of the foster home loved him very much and that’s why whenever he felt alone, he used to go there. “Ashwin, my child! It’s good to see you after so many weeks”, the old lady greeted him smiling when he let out a playful snort. “Ms. Grace, I visited this place last month only if you remember”, he too replied while hugging her. She patted his back in a motherly gesture and dragged him inside.

“Ms. Grace why we are here?”, he asked her in bewilderment when she indicated towards the lake. There he saw a little girl sitting by the lake while playing with the water. “Ashwin, will you please talk with her? No one here talks with that little girl Riya”, she said in a sad voice and looked at him with hopeful eyes. “But why no one talks with her?”, he asked softly as both of them started walking towards the girl. “She isn’t liked by many because she always prefer to do her own work and I must say, she has self-esteem which many envy”, Ms Grace replied and watched as his eyes widened in disbelief.

Ashwin carefully sat beside her and watched her splashing the water. “Are you here to make fun of me?”, the little girl said in a strict tone that was so innocent and pure, it instantly bought a genuine smile on Ashwin’s face. “No, actually not. But if no one talks with you, how come you are so happy? Don’t you want others to talk and play with you?”, he asked in a concerned tone when Riya nodded her head in a no and stood up from the grassy land. “Actually no. I don’t need other’s presence in my life to smile. I’m happy with my attitude and also those people who are with me inspite of my bad demeanour. See, I have these flowers who always smile at me when I come here every morning. I have Ms. Grace who loves me even when I throw tantrums at her. See, I have the lake as my friend, the frogs, the little squirrels. All these people are my true friend. I am happy and contented in my life without changing my character”, Riya said in a duh- tone and walked away while playing with the flowers. Ashwin simply stared at her direction and sighed, the weight of her words finally settling on his mind. “I need to leave Ms. Grace”, with that he bid a good bye and drove back to his home.

Upon entering through the hall, he noticed that his mother was crying while his father was pacing around the room, his forehead marred with creased lines of worry. “Ishaan, I don’t know anything. I want my son back here with me. I want Ashwin here with me”, his mother sobbed loudly when his father came and hugged her tightly. “Mom, dad”, a guilty voice called out to them, shocking them to the core when they realised it was none other than Ashwin, their son, their adopted son. “I’m sorry for going away like this”, he muttered under his breath and stood closer to them. “It’s ok son. It’s ok. We are happy that you called us with the names we were dying to hear. Thank you Ashwin”, his parents came and hugged him tightly.

After a little while all of them withdrew themselves and Ashwin knew he had to explain. “I talked with someone and realised something. I’m not going to change my character and self beliefs for anyone, my attitude will remain the same. But I will try to overlook my past and accept happiness in every possible way”, his sentence made both of them smile and they blessed him with all their heart.


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