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What is Love?

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"Sindu, why don't you ask for something else? We will be sad seeing you with a clean-shaven head."

"No, Dad. I do not want anything else," Sindu said with finality.

"Please Sindu, why don't you try to understand our feelings?" I tried to plead with her.

"Dad, you saw how difficult it was for me to eat that Curd Rice," Sindu was in tears. "And you promised to grant me whatever I ask for. Now, you are going back on your words. Was it not you who told me the story of King Harishchandra and its moral that we should honor our promises no matter what?"

It was time for me to call the shots. "Our promise must be kept."

"Are you out your mind?" chorused my mother and wife.

"No. If we go back on our promises, she will never learn to honour her own. Sindu, your wish will be fulfilled."

With her head clean-shaven, Sindu had a round-face, and her eyes looked big and beautiful.

On Monday morning, I dropped her at her school. It was a sight to watch my hairless Sindu walking towards her classroom. She turned around and waved.

I waved back with a smile. Just then, a boy alighted from a car, and shouted, "Sinduja, please wait for me!"

What struck me was the hairless head of that boy. "Maybe that is the 'in' stuff," I thought.

"Sir, your daughter Sinduja is great indeed!" Without introducing herself, a lady got out of the car, and continued, "That boy who is walking along with your daughter is my son Harish. He is suffering from leukemia."

She paused to muffle her sobs. "Harish could not attend the school for the whole of the last month. He lost all of his hair due to the side effects of the chemotherapy. He refused to come back to school fearing the unintentional but cruel teasing of the schoolmates.

"Sinduja visited him last week and promised him that she will take care of the teasing issue. But I never imagined she would sacrifice her lovely hair for the sake of my son! Sir, you and your wife are blessed to have such a noble soul as your daughter."

I stood transfixed. And then, I wept.

"My little Angel, will you teach me what love is?"