Your first friend is always special.
“Bye Aryan! Bye Neha! Have a Nice day at School!” said their mother waving enthusiastically from her car. While Neha smiled and waved back, Aryan just turned around and marched into the school building.
Aryan started primary school a year back. He was now a proud six year old who could brag about how much he was learning at school. He loved it when his mother would ask him to help his younger sister Neha with her homework, who had just started elementary school two months back. She was a year younger to him. The feeling of being treated as a grown up was something Aryan loved. It made him feel responsible and he realised it was his duty to look after his sister. He loved going to school.
But there was just one little problem. Aryan hadn’t been able to make any friends yet He was the shy quiet one in class, who would sit in a corner and study attentively. But his shy nature forbade him to try and talk to other people. The only other person in school he talked to was his teacher. Neha on the other hand had made many new friends just within the first few months of school. Sometimes, he wished he could be like his bubbly sister. He wished he could go and talk to people. He wished he could make a friend.
It was just another normal day at school as Aryan sat writing number names on his worksheet. Suddenly the door of the class room opened and in walked a girl who wore a pink dress and carried a bag that had too many butterflies drawn on it. She had a smile on her face as she walked confidently towards the teacher. She handed Ms. Anita a small slip of paper. Ms. Anita smiled at her and after reading the paper, turned towards the class.
“Children, this is Ananya Singh. She is new to this school. I hope you will make her comfortable in class” she finished with a smile. Then she turned to Ananya and asked her, “Where would like to sit Ananya?” Ananya looked around the room. There were many empty seats. Some of the kids in the room were pointing eagerly at the empty chairs beside them, but she ignored them all. She spotted this shy looking boy sitting at the far corner of the room. He was the only one not looking at her.
He looked lonely. So she made up her mind and turned back to Miss Anita. “I want to sit beside him, Ma’am” she said pointing at Aryan. Aryan looked up to see all their gazes directed at him. His eyes widened when he realised what was happening and quickly looked back down towards his worksheet. She wanted to sit beside him? But why? He didn’t ask her to. He became worried. She would soon find out how shy he was and would give up on him and make other friends as everyone else had.
Meanwhile Ananya marched towards Aryan determinedly and plopped on the seat next to him loudly. When Aryan said nothing she tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Hi! I am Ananya. What’s your name?” she asked him with and expectant smile. He kept quiet. But after a long pause he answered “A-Aryan” and that was it. She grew a bit disappointed at his odd behaviour but didn’t lose hope. The day proceeded normally and then came lunch. Ananya had tried all day to make Aryan talk, but he had answered her question with monosyllables and never looked her in the eye. But she was determined to make him her friend.
As the week passed Ananya became more and more persistent and Aryan slowly started to relax around her. He would now sometimes give her small smiles and his answers had also increased from one to three or four words. But he was still guarded. But that did nothing for Ananya. She continued her efforts tirelessly. Two weeks had passed since Ananya’s arrival to this school and today was Friendship’s day. People had to talk about their best friends in class.
To Aryan’s surprise and Miss. Anita’s amusement, Ananya chose to talk about Aryan. His eyes grew as wide as saucers when she said that he was helpful and nice and was a great friend. He felt guilty when he realised that she was lying. He had never treated her nicely. All he had done was rudely avoid her whenever he could. When Miss. Anita asked him to talk about his best friend, he disappointed Ananya by saying he didn’t have any friend. The hurt expression on her face increased his guilt even more.
Lunch rolled in and Aryan found himself a seat at the corner of the garden. He thought about Ananya and felt sad that he had hurt her. Suddenly he heard a commotion a little away from him and got up to investigate. To his astonishment, he found Ananya and another girl standing in the middle of the circle of other kids and it looked as if Ananya was crying at something the other girl said. He ran forward to know why she was crying. He heard the girl say, “You cannot sit in my seat. This is my favourite place to sit in the garden! New girls are not allowed.” He felt extremely sad to see his only friend being bullied by someone else. He suddenly realised that he had admitted to himself that he did consider her as his friend. Having come to this conclusion, he marched straight to the girl and stood between her and Ananya. He put a hand on Ananya’s shoulder and turned to the girl angrily, “She can sit wherever she wants. You cannot stop her. Now stop bullying my friend and go do something else” All the kids stared at him with surprise and admiration while Ananya’s jaw dropped open. He took her by the hand and dragged her away from the mean girl.
He turned to her and wiped her tears. “You can sit with me if you want” he said to her softly. Ananya immediately stopped crying. She asked him with a hopeful expression “So you want to be my friend then?” Aryan smiled at her properly for the first time and said “But we are already friends, aren’t we?” She beamed at his statement and linked her hand with his. Together they went to where Aryan’s belongings lay, and chattered all throughout lunch.
That was the day Aryan made his first best friend for life.