Hdg: Smile away your fears
Her large eyes dilated with fear when Shruti Miss announced a class picnic to loud whoops and clapping from other students. Like every year, the picnic was to be held at an amusement park on the outskirts of the city; Sneha remembering last year's troubled times at the picnic immediately put in her pleas to God, requesting that He give her a tummy upset or a headache... Anything that would make her home-bound.
A year ago, Sneha joined her new school in a new city. But, she didn't fit in. In the first few days her classmates turned away from her, thinking on these lines - 'Sneha is too smart!', 'What an over-enthu girl! New students must be seen and not heard, 'Sneha who? You mean the 'pizza face'. What about her?'
At the annual picnic, all the negative vibes combined to make it the worst day of her life. Sneha heard herself being addressed as 'pizza face'. When she confronted the addresser, Sneha found herself friendless, she didn't have too many friends to begin with. She was kept out of all group activities and if the teachers insisted on her presence, she would be given a royal ignore by other fellows.
After coming back from the nightmarish picnic, Sneha withdrew into a shell and studied and worked all day. No wonder that made Sneha a dull girl. So, this year's announcement of annual picnic succeeded in reliving the nightmarish hours.
'What would be in store this year?' thought Sneha as she walked home.
No headache, no fever and no tummy ache either. Feeling let down by Him, Sneha readied for the picnic. Ticking off the essentials on her list, Sneha called out to her father, 'I am ready. Let's go.'
When Sneha reached the school, the school bus was trembling on its wheels – kids jumping in and out, clambering up with cartons full of juice, fruits and goodies, teachers shouting instructions – it was a chaotic scene.
Sneha's father unloaded her stuff and waving her good bye, his car sped off. Quiet as a mouse, Sneha sneaked into the bus and made for the last seat. Sneha's face hidden by the seat before her, she exhaled slowly. A slight movement in the corner alerted her. Her large eyes met timid ones.
'Hi Sneha! Remember me?' the boy smiled feebly.
Sneha blinked. 'Are you in my class?'
'We were together in New Horizon...our last school,' the boy continued.
'Aniket! What are you doing here?' Sneha shrieked.
'I have been in your class since five months. You didn't notice,' Aniket's smile grew more wider.
'No..hmm', Sneha looked sheepish.
'You look so serious and solemn. I wondered if it's the same Sneha. You were so bouncy and chirpy,' Aniket asked.
Sneha kept quiet.
'It's a little different here, isn't it. Not like our old school,' he asked. Sneha nodded in agreement.
'So, aren't you playing football any more? You captained the New Horizon,' Sneha asked. It felt so good to talk to someone!
'I am. Not in school though. The boys wouldn't let me be a part of the team,' he said with a tinge of sadness.
Sneha knew the feeling all too well. The rest of the journey passed in a blur with Sneha and Aniket talking and laughing easily. They didn't notice the surprised looks their classmates exchanged.
At the amusement park, they hung out together and when it came to participating in team games, Sneha and Aniket volunteered as partners. They won some and lost some, but always with a smile.
Aniket and Sneha knew they had nothing to fear, because they had a friend to see them through bad times.