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Short story: The school trip to Delhi

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By Kiranpreet Kaur

For the class, the day had been a brilliant one. Yesterday, they arrived in Delhi for their three-day trip and thus, it had been thoroughly exhausted. But a good night’s sleep had rejuvenated them. Today, the day started off with learning about history at the National Museum, followed by the unique experience of Connaught Place and enjoying the beauty of the Mughal Gardens. Finally, the trip reached the gorgeous night show at India Gate. Everyone was thinking that the bus that would take them to the hotel for a scrumptious dinner. They all wanted to hit the bed after a tiring day.

Not all, though.

Anita couldn’t quite figure out what was bothering her. She could sense a weird feeling ever since she watched the light show. The day had been great for her, she loved visiting new places and had been looking forward to this trip very eagerly. However, what she was not looking forward to was returning to the hotel. It wasn’t that the hotel wasn’t great, it was just that she didn’t really like the girls she was sharing the room with.

As Anita watched her classmates playing various games, talking and laughing about the places they had visited that day and the places they would be visiting the next day, her mind was full of thoughts.

She went back to the fifth and sixth grade, their sections now having been reshuffled. When Anita went to school the first day of the new session, she found that none of her old friends were in her class. It was easy the first few days, when everyone else also had no friends, but as barriers started breaking her classmates acquainted themselves with each other, and Anita realised the hard truth.

She just couldn’t make friends. Every time she thought of going ahead and talking with another student, she found in her head a bazillion ways to mess everything up. Sometimes, other students came to ask Anita something and she would happily reply. In that manner, she spoke to many, but she couldn’t call them ‘friends.’

Anita rarely spoke to Neeta and Shruti. Rather, they did not want to talk to her. She vaguely remembered that once when a teacher had asked everyone to be lined up in a queue, Anita went and stood after the last girl in the line. That girl, who happened to be Shruti, looked around and when she saw Anita behind her, she must have thought, ‘how dare she stand behind me?’ (At least that was what Anita thought) and moved ahead in the line. And of course, so brilliant was Anita’s luck that the roommates who were assigned to her were Neeta and Shruti.

Anita looked around at them talking and laughing with three or four other friends. In fact, everywhere she looked, she saw people chuckling, chattering and genuinely having a good time.

‘Why, oh why’, she thought, ‘is everyone ignoring me? Is there no one who is interested in coming up to me and making sure I too have a good time? Does anyone even care about me at all?’

Anita couldn’t take it anymore. She was sitting alone on a bus seat, silently crying. The bus arrived at the hotel. Anita, like everyone else, picked up her rucksack and prepared to alight the bus. Unlike everyone else, she tried to hide the tears that were slowly but steadily running down her cheeks.

Anita and her class entered the hotel, heading for the dining hall by the lobby. Fortunately for the girl, no one had noticed her weeping. But, that wasn’t for long, a few boys heard her sobbing and said loudly, “Hey Anita, are you crying?”

“How,” Anita said to herself, “could I have forgotten that my only reputation, apart from being lonely, is being a cry baby?”

“Anita, are you ok?” It was Jeevika, one of the girls Anita sometimes spoke with, along with her friends: Maira and Ira.

“Nothing, I’m… I’m” Anita said, trying to stop her tears, “I really don’t like my roommates”, she said quietly, a little surprised that she had said it aloud and that it really wasn’t difficult. Still, she hoped against hope that they hadn’t heard her. But they did.

“Well, why don’t you switch over to us?” Ira asked.

“I’ll go tell Neha Ma’am.” Jeevika said.

“Aren’t you already full?” Anita asked, having taken somewhat control of her emotions.

“Adjusting for one person shouldn’t be so difficult.” Ira said, with a smile. “The more, the merrier!”

“What happened?” It was Neeta, along with Shruti.

Maira informed them that Anita wouldn’t be sharing a room with them for the rest of the trip.

They both muttered “Ok” and passed onto the dining room, but from their expressions, it couldn’t have been more than saying, “Well, that’s great!”

Right after dinner, Anita switched to the room with Jeevika, Maira and Ira. Though she didn’t know how long it’d last, she was finally truly happy for the rest of the trip.

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