On a regular evening, Ray & I were caught up in a situation again. He had a school competition coming & he did not want to participate in it. I was trying to convince him to take part in it.

Me: You have to take part in all school competitions.

Ray: But I don’t want to & this one is not compulsory.

Me: You actually learn a lot from these competitions & if you win, it is a great feeling.

Ray: What will I get if I win?

Me: A certificate.

Ray: I don’t want it. I have loads piled up in my cupboard under my clothes.

Me: They are just participation certificates, they don’t mean much.

Ray: I have winner certificates too. They don’t mean much too.

Me: Still…. Anyways, this one is a handwriting competition. You should do it.

Ray: Whenever the teacher writes notes on the board, I am 1st to complete writing them in my book. So I guess I know my score, I am a winner in the writing competition.

Me: And your handwriting is hardly readable…

Ray: So! I always complete my books. And I am always 1st.

Me: But neatness also counts.

Ray: Whenever someone comes 1st in running competition, do you look at him & say why are you not neat? Why are you muddy & sweaty? You just applaud. But when I come 1st in writing notes in the class, I am expected to be NEAT!

Thankfully our conversation was interrupted. My elder son (Vir) comes home after his annual sports day at school. He is the Sapphire House Captain at school, and today’s day at the sports ground was very important. Blue house students had to win maximum competitions to finally win the trophy of the best House of the year.

Vir took extra efforts in mentoring his teammates for sports all through the past month. He himself took part in most of the games to help his team score go high. He fought tooth & nail in all the competitions to win. And now he came home crawling with exhaustion after toiling for a whole month.

I picked him up & put him on the sofa. Gave him a glass of water & let him cool down. He was sweaty, muddy & red with sunburns. His whole body was stinking but it was the smell of victory! Sapphire House was declared the best house of the year. He told me, he held a huge trophy in one hand while he swayed the Blue flag with another. It was a thrilling moment!

Ray: Show me the trophy. I am too excited.

Vir: It is at the school sports center. It is proudly standing on the display cabinet.

Ray: Oh! But what did You get for all your hard work & efforts?

Vir: The trophy.

Ray: But it’s at school!

Vir: But it’s mine.

Ray: Actually it’s schools. You did not get anything for all your efforts.

Vir: I got appreciation & applause!

Next week the boys had their School Annual Day celebrations. They were also going to have their annual prize distribution that day.

Vir had gained all his stamina back & looked radiant in his school uniform, captain badge & blue scarf!

During the annual prize distribution ceremonies, when they announced Vir’s name as the best captain, our chest swell with pride. We were clapping till our hands turned red. Just as we stopped clapping, we heard an ongoing round of applause from a particular corner.

My husband & I turned to see the group. Joy spread over our faces. We saw Ray beaming with delight, sitting with his classmates who were clapping.

In the evening we were celebrating at a restaurant.

Me to Ray: We were so happy to see you feel proud of your brother. We heard your friends clapping loudly for Vir.

Ray: (Sly smile) They were clapping for me.

Me: (Surprised) Why for you?

Ray: I am The Captain’s Brother.

Ray: I got appreciation & applause!



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