(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Priyanka Gupta, born in Kanpur, India, on 31st October 1978, is a Commerce graduate from Kanpur University. She has a passion for writing stories, poetry, memoires and social articles. She has got six books published, out of which two are awarded. She prefers writing in her mother-tongue Hindi, but also has a good and fluent knowledge of English and Urdu. She resides at M.I.G-292, KailashVihar, AwasVikas No- One, Kalyanpur, Kanpur, U.P and can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandhya was just to come out of the gate when she suddenly saw Vishal coming. She got so nervous that she couldn’t move as if some glue was there under her feet. What should she do? She didn’t want Vishal to see her there. Should she run back inside the house or just move forward to the opposite direction? But before she could work out any of her ideas, Vishal was there, standing in front of her.
“Hey Sandhya, what’s up?” He chuckled, “Out for an evening walk with this cute puppy of yours?” He asked pointing towards the puppy she was holding.
She just nodded and moved hurriedly, but Vishal accompanied her, “So this is where you live…What a big and lovely house it is! I always wondered why you never told us where you live. Gosh! You are so rich yaar,” he clapped her on the back, “All our friends would certainly love the idea of visiting you someday.”
“No!” she suddenly got her tongue back, “please don’t come…any of you.”
“But why?”Vishal was quite shocked on the way she behaved, “We are all good friends of yours, and friends do visit each other.”
“Actually I am forbidding you because my father is very strict…quite stubborn type of person,” she said in a pleading tone as she herself was ashamed of her rude reaction, “he doesn’t like me hanging out with friends after school time. That’s why, you must have noticed, I never join any get-togethers…” she said sheepishly.
“Oh! I understand…never mind,” Vishal said comfortingly, “don’t you worry. I would never tell anyone your address. I promise. You can trust me.”
“Thanks,” Sandhya grinned nervously and they parted bidding good-bye to each other.
Now Sandhya felt a little relieved. Vishal was her classmate and also a very good friend. He always helped her out in anything she needed. She knew that he would keep his promise. But Sandhya was very sorry for what had happened. She had made two big mistakes – firstly, she lied to her best friend and secondly, she behaved so rudely to cover up that lie.
Sandhya didn’t belong to that rich family who owned that big bungalow. Her mother was a cook there and her father was the watchman of that house. They lived in the servants’ quarter. The owners of the house were very kind and gentle. When they came to know that Sandhya’s parents wanted her to study in a public school, they helped them generously. They even paid them additional wages for every extra work they did. Even Sandhya got the job of taking out her master’s puppy for a walk, for which she was paid handsomely.
In such circumstances, Sandhya could not think of anything else, but lying to Vishal. How could she let her school friends know of her reality? She was afraid they would not be her friends any more if they came to know that her parents were servants somewhere and she was very poor. They all belonged to rich families. She couldn’t afford being left out of such a cheerful company of her friends.
Many days passed by. Everything was normal, even Vishal behaved in the same manner. He never let her feel that anything had happened. But Sandhya didn’t know that a surprise was awaiting her.
One day, as soon as she reached school, Vishal came to her beaming, “Guess what? Tomorrow I am coming to your place officially.”
She stared at him in surprise. What was he talking about? What did he mean by saying “coming officially”?
“Astonished?” Vishal giggled, “I was surprised, too, when mummy mentioned about a family dinner at your place, organized by your parents. We never knew that our fathers are in business terms with each other. Now your daddy will never be crossed with you if I visit you.”
For a few seconds, she couldn’t make out anything. What was going on? The chapter, that she thought, was closed forever, was now going to be opened once again.
She stood there dumbly. She looked so nervous that Vishal got worried, “what happened? Is everything all right?”
“Please leave me alone Vishal… I don’t feel like talking.” She somehow managed to say.
Vishal shrugged helplessly and went back to his seat. He was feeling hurt by Sandhya’s rude and queer behavior.
The whole day, both Sandhya and Vishal felt very upset. They even didn’t bid good-bye to each other. Even at home she was very restless. When her mother asked her, she poured out everything. Her mother was shocked to know that Sandhya was ashamed of the real identity of her parents. But she said nothing and left dolefully.
Sandhya sat there, all alone, buried deep in her thoughts. She was sure that not only Vishal, but all her friends were going to hate her definitely when they would come across the truth that she was a liar. She wished she could put everything right. The whole night she thought very hard and finally made a decision.
Next morning, the first thing she did on reaching school was to see Vishal and all her friends. Vishal was still crossed with her.
When all her friends gathered around her, she confessed that she did not belong to a rich family and her father was not some big businessman, rather her parents were mere servants. She also added that she was very proud of her parents and appreciated whatever they did for her. She was ready to accept any punishment her friends were suggesting for her.
For some moments there was pin-drop silence in the classroom. Nobody reacted. Sandhya, with tear filled eyes, moved towards her desk, when somebody clapped.
“Three cheers to Sandhya,” it was Vishal, clapping loudly, “it takes a lot of courage to accept one’s fault and Sandhya has shown that courage. We, being her true friends, shall cheer her up for her truthfulness and also for her repentance.”
“Hip-hip-hurray!” the whole class roared and started hugging her one-by-one.
Sandhya was overwhelmed. She was feeling very light hearted and relieved. She had never thought that accepting the truth could be so easy. Now all her fears had vanished and she realized that true friendship is always irrespective of what one is, so it’s always better to BE YOURSELF.