By Ipsa Arora:
She was a charming, little girl. Like any other child, she was fun-loving, innocent and cheerful. She was a born artist, a keen singer and an intelligent student. Spending four years with her, I remember our days like a drizzle on a cold winter morning, running down my spine with thrill, and reminding me of the beautiful old days . Our games- the “fall and help me” drama, her enacting as one of the big fashion designers and designing pretty dresses on her art book; our play we did together in class 3, where in one scene, four of us enacting as animals: a donkey, me the dog, a cat and she the cock, had to stand above each other with her on the top and shout “cock-a-doodle-doo”. She had to use a chair as she wasn’t too tall.
I remember how we managed this on stage and how we discussed all of it after the play was over. I can never forget her dance where she danced with all her zeal and our extempore competition where she stood first and I stood second. We were so delighted! She was an outstanding student, a brilliant child of proud parents. She had everything a 9 year old could ask for- loving parents, a little brother, a good friends circle and a reputed school. But God had something else instore for her. One day, she went away, forever, leaving us only with her memories to live on. I remember seeing her for the last time outside my class with her piano on her back, waving at me with an unforgettable smile on her face or was it the ‘social science day’ of our class where she took part in Rajasthani dance- sitting in a beautiful (green or yellow) lehenga, tired after her performance, taking rest.
She was an outstanding artist and was chosen to be awarded as the best artist on our annual day. But she left us before that and since then, the award has been named on her name and is awarded to a student excelling in art from the class 4th batch, that’s when she was chosen for the award but could not receive it.
What followed was terrible. One day, on one of our parent teachers’ meetings in class 4, I met one of our common friends from the other section. She told me that our dear friend was in ‘coma’! Not even knowing the meaning of it, an afraid child me, told it to my mother. It moved her. She became tense. She gave several calls to her family and learnt from her aunt that it was the unfortunate result of viral that led to this. I could see my mother in worry as days passed by. I could sense that things were not decently good. But I, an innocent girl of 9, could not feel the intense pain. Recovering from coma was not easy. Even after days of attempts by doctors, endless prayers by all of us, God had his own tale to tell. And when God speaks, humans have to silently listen. He took her away. A trauma filled the air everywhere around me. Everybody was enveloped in grief. Parents, teachers, friends, all were shaken by this and I had nothing to say, nothing to seek and nothing left to ask for. I remember my mother hearing the final news from one of my friend’s mother and she suddenly started weeping. I had an English test in school the next day. She was lying Â on the bed, lost in thoughts.
I just went up to her informing that my course was complete. She told me that I could go and sleep then, and I went to bed. Did I not know what death meant or was I too innocent to cry or too scared after seeing my mother this way, that I could not share my emotions? I lay in bed thinking about her and our deep bond of friendship. Today, it has been more than 10 years and her memories are as fresh as any blossoming flower in my mind, residing in my heart, gardened in my soul. Today, as I look at her photograph carefully placed in my school album, I don’t shed tears, I shed love, for the beautiful soul, whom I loved and will always love from the bottom of my heart.