Is it not a happy feeling when all your dreams came true before your eyes?  Riya was an exception. She was a girl with dreams of reaching the sky. But who knew that the best day of her life would turn into a day to mourn! Nobody in Riya’s school knew about her until the day of their school reunion.

It was 23 June. All the ex-students of the school had assembled in the school playground and some were recalling their time in school. Some were shedding tears of joy on meeting their long lost buddies, and some were busy clicking pictures. All this while Riya sat in a corner looking at the bright faces of her friends. Everyone was too busy to notice that the bubbliest girl of the class was sitting silently. But her sadness didn’t go unnoticed by her best friend, Ashutosh with whom she had lost contact when she had been prompted to leave school suddenly, to go abroad for her studies with her uncle and aunt. Ashutosh thought of talking to her but before he could get to her, she went away.

Ashutosh kept gazing at her retreating figure. But as he turned away, he found her bag on the bench. He took it and ran after her. But she was gone. He opened it after a lot of hesitation. Among the usual things, it also had a diary. Ashutosh was in two minds on whether or not to read it. Finally he opened it. He flicked a few pages but his eyes fell on the page dated 15 April. She had written ‘Nababarsha’. Ashutosh remembered that Riya always had her diary and would write in it every day. Out of curiosity he started reading it.

15 April 2005

Dear Diary,

It was a very different day. I don’t have many words to describe it. I have always wished to study Economics in Harvard. All my dreams showed me as a business tycoon. Everyone had called it a child’s dream but I always knew how intent I am upon this. I can give up everything to achieve it. I am ready to give up my most precious possession, only to live this dream. Today my results were to come out. I was checking the results on the Internet every now and then. I was walking up and down my room impatiently, when suddenly my little brother came in to wish me "Subho Nababarsha" Oh! I had forgotten that today was Bengali’s New Year. I immediately came out and took the blessings of my mother and father. My family left to get me a surprise. After they left, I kept looking at my computer screen. Suddenly, my phone buzzed.

I took it at the tenth ring and chipped a "Hello". The voice on the other side said, "Please come to the address we are sending, immediately. We are calling from the City Hospital." They hung up before I could react. I rushed out without changing my clothes. In my hurry, I forgot to lock the house as the message read, "Your parents are in a serious condition. Here’s the address. Come as soon as possible." I entered the hospital praying to God to keep them safe. Nothing invaded my mind but the thought of keeping my parents safe at that moment. They took me to a dark room. What I saw nearly swept the ground away from beneath my feet.  My father, mother and little brother were no more. I heard the doctor patting my back and murmuring, "I’m sorry", almost inaudibly. I was lost in a world full of strangers now, with no one to hold and cry my heart out. I had forgotten how to cry. Everything sounded so insensitive, cruel and brutal.

The world crashed down in front of me and all I could do was to stand and witness. I went home and shut the door. Then I broke down. I don’t know for how long I cried. Then I found that I got admission in the college of my dreams. I had agreed to give up on the most precious possession of my life for this. But never, in my worst nightmare had I seen this happening. This is perhaps the most difficult New Year for me as I had achieved all my dreams at the cost of my parents. It’s a new year, because I’ll be entering a completely new world leaving behind all the old attachments, old relations, old joys, old memories"

Ashutosh wiped his tears and closed the diary.

Oishee Chakrobarty, class X, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School