As Hari gasped for breath the strain of utter nervousness trickled down his throat. He realized that he was unaware of the consequences of his action. This compulsion was forced upon him and he wanted to break free of the shackles which bound him towards this repetitive action. It was very necessary for him to be clear, accurate and precise this time as he could not afford to lose any more. He knew it. The droplet of sweat seemed like a snowball in the scorching heat of Chennai.  Yet, he succumbed to the social need of being the best and he marked it. Targeting the answer he thought to be the most appropriate with a slim glimmer of hope that he would clear the All India Engineering College Entrance Test. At least this time. Hari had been attempting to clear the test from the past two years but to no avail. This was his final attempt and most probably the only event for which he ever prayed to God. He felt as if the Gods had left him destitute to die in the academic exile with harsh remarks, undesirability and taunts as the only companions. As Hari came out of the test center he knew he was to suffer the ranting of every other person who knew him. Walking back home, a train of thoughts puzzled him. The inner consciousness always spoke to him commanding him that he was not an engineer but an artist at heart. Apparently, Hari had won National Junior Artist Award during his school days. His love for Rembrandt, Da Vinci and Picasso escalated as he tried to emulate their famous paintings in his leisure time. However, fate, parental and social coercion compelled him to become an engineer. His innate passion for art and creativity was repressed by the categorical obligation enforced upon by parents and their unfulfilled wishes. Parents usually see a reflection of their desires through their children’s eyes and sadly Hari was a victim of the same. The usual mainstream Indian narrative of “parents are next to god” would seem quite repulsive in Hari’s case. In a world filled with herd mentality he knew his difference of mind would someday either act as his seat of power in the society or as a cause of his sorrow. The moment he entered his home the usual chat about marks expected, how was the test, will you clear piled upon him. He almost ran out of patience as he felt as a prisoner who was being tortured for seeking information about his exams. As doomsday came by, the anxiety grew and he was compelled to recluse himself as a result of the rise in expectation level of family members and relatives. He always equated himself to the prodigal son. All such thoughts strangulated him and he already felt dead. On the day of the result, his parents came rushing to his room but he was nowhere to be found. The adjacent gallery’s door was seen open with a bottle of Ketzone rolling right next to his still body. The crime of suicide was aided and abetted by the prevailing social and educational environment of the country but no one can be held guilty for Hari’s death. His mother held his body tightly as they realized their grievous loss and as the result flew from his hands it was witnessed that the boy had cleared the engineering exam.


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