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I don't know whether the blotches, cut marks, pockmarks and spots were by birth on his face. But his face looked slightly uneven. Though I am not the niggler who would just sit back and pass petty remarks on people's beauty and behavior. But still if you believe me, it was hard to look at him and then look again at him.

Since I was the headmistress of this small town's very own small school, I asked his class teacher about him. And what I found was a little sad fact, indeed. When he was very young, about two years, he was running with older kids and accidentally fell over an iron fence in his farm. And, thus he lost all his beauty. Yes, he was born a very beautiful baby. The most beautiful among his relations. And so, it spread in the whole town that there is definitely somebody who did something upon him when he was born. Later, they all said, it was an 'evil eye'. So he was put up with stark black kohl in his eyes and a black thread around his neck always, in spite of his present looks.

Everyday I looked at this boy. He was a curious chap. Curious, for most part, about mysterious things. His questions always intrigued his teachers and so he was brought to me whenever he remained unanswered. I remember, one day he stood shying and giggling outside my office. I asked him to come in, then, speak up his query. He asked, if devil with five big teeth, as shown in the story book, really exists? I could not think whether to  laugh at his question or ask him to get out. But he looked grave now. I thought for some five minutes and then said, devil and angels exist inside us only. When we behave kind, forgiving, selfless we are angels and when we behave opposite, we are devils with five big teeth. He looked at me without a blink. Next moment, he was happy with explanation and went away.

Another day, he came to me, with much friendliness and asked, am I ugly? I was startled at his innocence. Not ready for such question, I replied what my heart said, no... no you are not ugly, you are just... differently beautiful. Doesn't it mean, I am ugly? He probed further. I looked at him now. His dark coarse uneven face shone like the light of moon's surface. His eyes were twinkling like stars. He looked like night. Or night's beloved son. I knew someday he was going to be a great philosopher. But I didn't tell him this. I said, go it's time for your next class.


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