“Need your help” went the message.

“Yes?” I typed back.

“I’m doing a story. Just tell me what comes to your mind when I say ‘Poila Boisakh’”

My mind immediately started smelling the naphthalene balls pressed between new clothes and vivid images of invitation cards began to crowd in. I wrote back, “Newness.”

But then, the human mind has the capacity to remember every tiny thing. It can shrink and enlarge like an elastic rubber ball. It can even resurrect moments and make you retrace your steps. Tonight, as the clock strikes the midnight hour and assures me of the insomnia worms in bed, I think of nothing but Poila Boisakh.

It was a fortnight before the Bengali New Year of the previous year that I had walked into The Statesman House. The waiting zone had a serious looking receptionist answering a phone call and another woman answering a man’s queries. She addressed me, “You may go in now” and immediately donned the coat of a grown-up on me. Yet the very thought of being interviewed made me break out into sweat in spite of the chill of the air conditioner.

Two hours later and I was back home wearing the proud tie of a new coordinator. “Writing has always been my forte”, had been my thought as I typed on the keyboard of the laptop. I had to write 300 words about the Bengali New Year and two minutes to send it. It was 14 April 2014. For some forgotten reason had missed the edition of Voices that Thursday. Then, a text from one of the coordinators read: ‘Liked it. You are a new coordinator?’ My heart could not have jumped higher.

Since then a year has passed and Poila Boisakh had indeed heralded a new beginning into my life. It gifted me with a new family that has the capacity to welcome and love every new member. It gifted me the medium to pour out my heart. It gifted me friends who promise to be with me till the last days. Poila Boisakh reminds me of my very first venture into the world of writing. It smells of living history and newly blossomed roses.

Poila Boisakh…the day when Bengalis greet a new beginning in their lives. They distribute sweets, dazzle in new clothes and exchange greetings of a fresh adventure to follow. A day when I smile at my reflection and thank the Voices family for all that I am today, for its wonderful promises and eternal bonding.

Class XII, Bishop Morrow School, Krishnagar