Riya was supposed to write an essay on the topic, ‘My Best Friend’. She had written few lines on the paper.

We all have heard a popular saying, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ I have many friends in school, dance class and in the society where I live. All are really nice and friendly to me. But my best friend is ….

She was stuck for nearly ten minutes and pondered whose name she should write. Her bench partner, Snehal was nice to her since they met on the first day of the school. She remembered how Snehal had helped her with the timetable, and shared her pencil as Riya had forgotten it at home. Yes, I should write her name and I will tell her that I have written her name in the essay. But the next day when she asked Snehal about the essay, she shrugged and replied, “I have written Deepika’s name. We are best friends as we live in the same society.”

Riya was disappointed at this. She was so excited to write Snehal’s name in the essay but she considered her only as a bench partner and not a best friend.

Then, Riya decided to write Kashmira’s name in the essay. Kashmira lived next door in her building. When she met Kashmira in the evening, Riya was telling her enthusiastically about the essay task and that she had decided to write her name in it. Kashmira was a bit surprised but she immediately shook her head. “No, Riya. Don’t write my name. We are also told to write an essay ‘My best friend’ and I have written my childhood friend’s name in it.”

Riya’s face looked sulking and Kashmira noticed it immediately. She continued, “Riya, you can do one thing. Pallavi is also your friend. You can write her name. I also know the spelling of her name.” Pallavi lived on the first floor of their building and was not in good terms with Riya. Riya didn’t feel like writing Pallavi’s name in the essay just because they were living in the same building and she knew her spelling. Kashmira added, “When you will write an essay on ‘My Neighbors’, then you can write my name in it.”

Riya wondered whether she had a best friend in life or not. She was supposed to submit the essay on next Monday. But she was not concerned about the submission date. She was feeling low to realize that she had no best friend.

Riya attended her dance class and was glad to meet Urvi. Urvi was of her age and was studying in a different school. Urvi and Riya would talk a lot during the dance class about their school and homework. They had even practiced dance steps on a song. But that day, Urvi seemed to be a bit changed. She was very happy as her school friend, Natasha had also joined the class. Urvi was no more interested in talking to Riya about school and books. All the time, she was busy in talking and giggling with Natasha.

Riya dropped the idea of writing Urvi’s name in the essay.

At home, her mother informed her that they were leaving immediately for grandparents’ house situated in the other town. It was Grandpa’s birthday and her parents had decided to give him a warm surprise.

“But Mom, I have to attend school on Monday.” Riya complained.

“Don’t worry, Riya. We will return by Sunday afternoon.”

“But Mom, I have to complete my school homework too.” She complained again, recollecting the dreadful thoughts of the essay.

“Don’t worry. You just need to write a short essay. I will help you in it.” Her mother convinced.

“But Mom,….”Riya budged again but mother didn’t listen at all. Finally, Riya agreed to visit her grandparents’ place in the other town.

The next day was Grandpa’s birthday celebration. Riya almost forgot everything about the essay. In the evening, she had a visitor. Her name was Bhargavi. Riya and Bhargavi had become best friends in the last vacation. Bhargavi lived in other residential society but shared the same hobbies like those of Riya. They had even decided that they will be in touch with each other and would discuss about school, books, dance and many more things. However, Riya forgot everything due to her school, studies and dance class.

“Hi Riya! How are you? You didn’t call me. I tried calling you twice on your birthday but you were not at home.” Bhargavi said cheerfully. Riya was too happy to meet Bhargavi and she didn’t notice that Bhargavi was holding something in her hand that appeared to be greeting card.

“I am sorry, Bharu. I forgot to call you back. How are you, dear?”

And then, they talked about their schools, studies, hobbies, new songs, dance steps for nearly an hour. While leaving, Bhargavi handed a card to Riya.

“This is for you. I have learnt to prepare greeting cards from my mother. I had prepared one for you but couldn’t sent it to you as I didn’t have your address. So, I planned to gift you when we will meet next time.”

Riya took the greeting card in her hand. It was written in beautiful handwriting on the envelope, ‘Open with Love and Care.’ She took out the card from the envelope. In the inside part of the card, it was written ‘For my best friend, Riya – Many Many Happy Returns of the Day!’

Tears rolled down from Riya’s eyes. Finally, she had found a best and true friend in life. Now, she could write Bhargavi’s name in the essay, without any doubt and concern.

Ankita Patil

Ankita Patil is a prolific writer and an avid reader. By qualifications, she is a Company Secretary and a Law graduate. She quit her full-time job and took up freelance writing few years back. She is also a novelist. Her fiction novels include Frustration Reloaded (a hilarious guide for a job seeker) and ‘C’ before my name with a ‘S’ (the first witty novel about CS profession). Apart from writing, she loves to travel, play with her pet dog and listen to her favourite music.

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