It was 10 AM on a Friday and Deepika was hurriedly getting ready to leave for Mohan’s school to attend the parents-teacher meet. Missing her designated timeslot was a lesser reason for her worry than the chance of offending her husband, Nihar, who was waiting for her to get ready. Mohan, her eight years old kid, was already in the school. In another 10 minutes, she declared to Nihar that she was all set to leave.
At the school, as Nihar, Deepika and Mohan took their seats across the table with the teacher at the other side, all three were curious to know Mohan’s scores and the teacher’s feedback. Subject by subject, the teacher showed them the marks scored by Mohan and with each revelation, their joy was rising. The teacher was all praise for the kid, who according to her, was a brilliant one, and needed little attention of the teacher in the class. He was attentive, sincere, and respectful towards all the teachers and other school staff. After a long spell of praises for Mohan, the teacher asked the parents if they had any specific question.
Nihar asked, just to ask something in order to not sound completely unconcerned about his kid, “How does he behave with other kids in the class?”
Teacher responded, “He is a gentle kid. He does not engage in pranks with other kids. Even he is not the one who would chit-chat incessantly with other kids or friends. His interactions with other kids are generally pleasant and he seemingly keeps distance from the kids who are notorious for picking fights. Most teachers are amazed at his level of mature behavior even at this age.”
This interaction with the teacher made Nihar and Deepika even more proud of their kid, as they were already aware of these traits of Mohan. They were returning home with loads of content which they could use for boasting about Mohan among their friends and relatives. Mohan himself was fully aware of the happiness of his parents caused by his good performance and conduct at school.
Mohan was the youngest of the three children of Nihar Awasthi and Deepkia Awasthi. The oldest was Neeru – a girl aged 14 years – then Dipansh – a boy aged 12 years. While Neeru and Dipansh were also bright kids, but Mohan was much more focused and self-driven since early age. In terms of personas, Mohan was a stark contrast to his older brother, Dipansh. While Mohan was focused and gentle, Dipansh was an incorrigible prankster. Mohan was studious; Dipansh would avoid studies until the last few hours before the exams. Mohan would be among the toppers in academics, Dipansh would somehow pass the exam. Mohan was obedient, Dipansh was a mischief. Mohan was soft spoken, Dipansh was rash and abusive if required. The list may further run endlessly….
Since early childhood, Mohan had picked up the habit of offering prayers twice daily. Awasthi’s had a small room in their house, which they had designated for prayers. It had a small altar with images and statues of many Hindu Gods and Goddesses lined up. As a routine, Mohan used to spend 5-10 minutes twice daily in the room, sitting there with closed eyes or staring at the images or statues. This further added to the feeling of pride of the parents, who thought that Mohan was set to be someone huge in life. The more they observed Mohan, the more they marveled at their kid. They observed him picking up self-righteous habits on his own as and when he got to know about one.
Mohan was increasingly becoming conscious of his good qualities as days and months were passing, as he observed his parents talking about those qualities all the time with their friends and relatives. Invariably, the narrative used by his parents would take form of comparison between Mohan and Dipansh. It was gradually leading to a superiority complex in Mohan over his older brother; and an attitude of envy in Dipansh towards his younger brother.
Once Mohan got to know about the significance of dedicating ones devotion to a single Deity as per Hindu mythology, while still being reverent to other Gods and Goddesses. As his nature was, he mentally decided to dedicate his devotion to Goddess Durga. Accordingly he picked some hymns and prayers for the Goddess and started chanting those in his daily prayer routine.
One evening as he was offering his prayers, he stared at the graceful statue of the mother Goddess placed at the altar of the prayer room. He thought of looking lovingly at the entire statue so that he could progress on his devotion to the Goddess. He glanced at the loving eyes of the statue as if they were looking at him with the motherly love. He glanced at the beautiful face, which had calm and composed features of some other world. The beautiful pointed nose had a brightly shining jewel at the tip. The long, black hair were like shadow for the devotees, protecting them from the heat of the world. Draped in a beautiful red Saree, which was adding further to the exquisite grace of the ever graceful mother. Green upper shirt with golden border was further adding to the overall beautiful package. Just then, Mohan’s mind conjured the image of the curves of the breasts of the statue and instinctively he started having thoughts of sexuality of the image of the statue. Right at this point, Mohan became aware of the feeling of intense guilt and shame about what he was thinking just few seconds earlier. The shame was so intense that the very next moment he felt a tight slap on his right cheek coming out of nowhere, followed by intense hurtful sensations at his right cheek and right palm. He was utterly disappointed with himself and even more disturbed mentally. He, not only thought but believed, that he was a very bad child, with abysmally low moral values. With these thoughts and a situation of war in his mind, he silently came out of the prayer room and engaged himself in his routine activities.