Kuto was born in Tajikistan, and his life was filled with disdain from the moment he arrived. His afro haircut made him an instant target for mockery, and his hair color – blond – only made matters worse. He was constantly teased and ridiculed by his peers, and even his parents seemed to have little patience for him.

As Kuto grew older, he began to shave his face in an effort to fit in better with those around him. It didn’t seem to matter what he did, though; the teasing continued unabated. Eventually, he came to believe that there was something truly wrong with him – that he was simply unlovable and undeserving of happiness.

With this belief firmly entrenched in his mind, Kuto withdrew from society altogether. He stopped attending school and spent most of his time locked away in his room or wandering aimlessly through the streets of Tajikistan’s capital city, Dushanbe. He existed in a state of perpetual misery, convinced that there could be no escape from his lonely existence.

One day while wandering through the city streets as usual, Kuto happened upon a group of children playing games near a fountain. They were laughing and joking with one another without a care in the world; it was clear they were enjoying themselves immensely. As he watched them play happily together, something inside Kuto began to stir… Slowly but surely, against all reason or logic,…he started feeling envious of their joyous lives.”