Every person has their own group of friends. Many people even have that one special friend that they refer to as ‘best friend’. I too have a group of kids with whom I talk and laugh and hang out with. But I also have a secret friend. Nobody knows about her other than me.I don’t think we should call her my best friend, because I already have one of those (and she might feel jealous if she finds out about this). Well, maybe we should just call this secret friend of mine…aha! My worst best friend.
My fifth (or maybe sixth) day of pre-school:
“So children,” the big tall person said. “Who can tell me what one plus one adds up to?”
I scratched my head. Surely the big tall person knew the answer? She was a grown up, for god’s sake! It would be bad for her reputation if others found out that she didn’t know simple answers. So I decided to help her out.
“I know the answer, ma’am!” I cried. “One plus one equals two!”
The big tall person clapped my back as if I had won the Nobel Prize. She pointed to the board and asked me to write down the sum. Oh no, the dreaded blackboard. Every student who went up there came back with horrible stories. How the chalk dust went up your nose and made you sneeze. How you could smell the big tall person’s disgusting (she prefers the term ‘exotic’) perfume all over the board. How whatever you wrote would eventually turn out to be the wrong answer. I couldn’t move. My feet were glued to the floor.I didn’t know whether to be happy and relieved or angry and confused.Why wasn’t the floor ready to let me go? The big tall personnudged me forward and I stumbled.I could feel myself falling. And voila! The floor caught me and held me tight. I hadn’t known the floorwell at that time. I felt frightened and hurt so I started crying.The big tall person told me I didn’t have to go to the board and I felt relieved.
Hmm…maybe the floor was just trying to help me.
That was the first time we met.
My eighth birthday:
I stared at my mother and started crying. It was my birthday party. Others were supposed to give me presents. Not the other way around!
“I told you darling,” my mother said. “These are called ‘return gifts’. Don’t you think it would be nice to gift these to your lovely friends, to thank them for coming to the party?”
No, I definitely did not think it was nice. Then suddenly, one of my friends came to my rescue. She was truly an angel. I could see a golden halo gleaming over her head. She said in a loud voice,
“No, Mrs. Mahapatra. We don’t need any gifts. We’re perfectly happy without them.”
My mother frowned, smiled, patted her back and gave her an extra piece of cake. My friend gobbled it up and burped. She spoke again after my mother had left the room.
“Don’t think I did that to save you,” she growled, licking the icing off of her fat fingers. “I just wanted more cake.”
I felt like squeezing those pudgy fingers until they burst into a million pieces. I imagined myself holding a slice of cake and running, with her panting behind me. My happy thoughts were interrupted when she roared and pushed me aside. I could feel myself falling in slow motion. There was some soft background music too.The floor grabbed me in her arms and squeezed me.
“I’m there for you,” she whispered.
People were laughing at me. The ‘friend’ who pushed me looked horrified and she ran away.
“Floor!” I whispered, annoyed. “You didn’t have to do that!”
“At least that big girl isn’t going to push you anymore,” the floor said. “She knows that if she does, I’ll be there to catch you.”
I don’t know. Maybe the floor isn’t all that bad.
My seventh grade annual function:
“Get into position!” our Yoga teacher hissed.
He is very snake-like. He can bend into any shape he wants to, but sometimes has difficulty in coming back to normal.I stood near the back of the stage, looking around uncertainly.
“One minute for the curtain call!” snake sir cried fearfully. “Get up there, Ananya!”
I climbed onto the shoulders of my classmates.
“You’ve become so much fatter!” one of them complained.
I looked down to see who said that. It was a boy. I don’t know his real name, but everyone calls him ‘dreamer-boy’.I stamped on his nose and resumed climbing until I was standing at the very top of our human pyramid. It was very high. I could have touched the light bulb hanging over my head. I was about to do just that when snake sirglared at me. I sighed and waited for the curtains to be pulled apart. Slowly, the curtains rose and the entire auditorium burst into applause. I smiled. I could hear the floor beckoning me. I almost lost balance
“Steady, Ananya!” the guy whose head I was standing on said.
I regained my balance. The floor looked sad. She called to me again. I almost fell off the pyramid.
“What’re you doing?” the girl who was supporting my back whispered fiercely. “You’ll fall!”
I shook my head and looked at the floor angrily.
“You’re distracting me!” I said. “I don’t like you. Stop it!”
The floor looked very sad. She thrust her arms forward and spread them, asking me for a hug. I started swaying back and forth, trying hard to steady myself.
“You were right, dreamer-boy,” one of the girls at the bottom of the pyramid said quietly. “Ananya has gotten way fatter.”
The floor succeeded in pulling me into her arms. Some other people fell onto her too, including the nasty girl who was so slim and trimthat she felt she was at liberty to call me fat.
“Why’d you do that!” I screamed into the floor’s ears. “Floor! You always ruin everything!”
The floor looked at me sadly and said, “I just wanted that nasty girl to learn a lesson.”
I stared at the girl, who was bawling her eyes out even though she wasn’t hurt at all. Snake sir had a very snake-like gleam in his eyes as he came onto the stage, assured the audience that everything was fine (the girl started crying harder than ever and made rude faces at me) and ushered us backstage. A tomato landed on my head and I ate it up. I had to thank the person who threw that. How did they know I was so hungry?
“I’m sorry for ruining your act,” the floor whispered as I stood up.
I looked at the rude, no longer weeping girl who was being led behind the curtains by dreamer-boy and another girl whose face was like a pig. I thought for a minute before replying, “no, it’s okay!”
You know, although the floor tries hugging me at very odd times, she only does it to help me out. After the Annual Function, we both started meeting quite often. Yeah, she can hurt a lot and she often embarrasses me, but who cares? She’s my worst best friend.