Braver Than You Believe

Ranjit Narayanan posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-02 on 2018-10-11

When Krish’s face lit up his mobile, Ravi knew it was trouble at home. Radhi sounded anxious at the other end.

‘I am very concerned, Ravi. Can you come home now?’

He was on the road in the next ten minutes, thanks to his thoughtful boss. In the car, Ravi’s mind flashed a hundred images.

Krish’s diagnosis as an ADHD kid, initial shock, denial and finally acceptance.

Krish was very particular about certain rituals and repetitions. The predictable world was less complicated and easy on his nerves. In fact, he made Radhi read him Winnie the Pooh stories several times during the day. The one-dimensional world of Winnie and piglet, their easy friendship and philosophy appealed to Krish just as it had appealed to Christopher Robin.

All was fine when Ravi left home this morning. But it was hard to pin down what triggered his anxiety attacks. They came without warning and overwhelmed the parents and the kid. Radhi handled it well. If it had warranted a call to him, it was worrisome.

Ravi was greeted by Krish’s howling even before he entered the house. A very perturbed Radhi explained to Ravi that she was, as usual in the kitchen making lunch after a reading session of Winnie books, the same ritual that she had followed every day. Soon after, she found Krish howling and walking fast around his bed. Usually, it was resolved within a few minutes. But today, it had been more than three hours. He refused food, did not allow Radhi to touch him and the walk became a run.

Ravi and Radhi watched helplessly as Krish paced around the bed nonstop crying like a wounded pet. Finally, he slumped on the floor out of exhaustion and started rocking to and fro.

Radhi tried to approach him but his screams stopped her on her tracks. Their powerlessness made them sniffle.


Nobody understood Krish better than Winnie.

‘There, there...’ Winnie comforted his friend and patted his friend on his back who kept rocking to and fro.

'The things, the things...I cannot understand the things. I am scared and confused' Krish whimpered and he added ‘Mom and Dad are sad because of me’ and howled.

Winnie the Pooh thought for a minute and said

‘Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.’

Piglet, who so far had been, ‘oh D-D-dear’ ing with panic, tentatively approached Krish and said,

'The things that make me different are the things that make me’.

Those words from his friends calmed him and soothed his raw senses. He knew he was special. His parents had explained that he was cherished for what he was, as he was. He got up wiped his tears and approached his distraught parents and let them hold him.

Winnie and Piglet knew their friend was good for now. Until he needed them the next time, they would be waiting in between the pages, always ready to help.     


Italicized lines are AA Milne original quotes.