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His frail body hunched over the table where a half-empty bowl of peanut-butter crackers stared him in the face. A well-chewed straw dangled from the gap on his front teeth as he watched a party of ants dismantle his afternoon snack.

Sandhya pressed a  new superhero pencil onto the blank yellow page beside him “Write!”

He examined the details in neon and, with a flick of approval, traded the straw for the pencil. She yanked it away and shot him a threatening look. Sandhya softened in seconds as his deceptively chubby cheeks hung low. “You may have a chocolate-chip cookie after, ok?”, she said.

He poured himself over the page while she brewed a fresh batch of ginger chai to wash down the remaining crackers. Within minutes, he was tugging at her kurta and sporting a fallen-toothed grin as he handed over his assignment.

There it was, a hodge-podge of inverted letters and other odd characters filling the page with disestablishmentarian frenzy. The squiggly creations bounced off the page while Sandhya listened to him read out his fantastical story of intergalactic heros. “But I asked you to write, love”, she said.

He shrugged his tiny shoulders, “I did! That’s how super-jet-robots write”. Frustrated with the epic battle between his fingers and his brain, he had decided to invent his own script. After all, he’d reasoned, the robots were aliens from a different galaxy.

Sandhya found herself spinning around parallel universes of physics-defying superpowers and learning disabilities. Of ever afters and never afters. She grew nauseous as she watched him with his head soaring in dragonesque clouds. Clouds were merely huddled masses of dirt doomed to explode into tears. Heads belonged in fixed moulds, like guillotines.

“But. I. Asked. You. To. Write!”, she said, crumpling his fantasy into a tight ball. A thick piece of ginger struggled to stay afloat in the cauldron of potent Assam tea leaves.

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