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A Good Friend

by Sooraj Rajendran

Rani was a young schoolgirl, who appeared all the time happy to others. The girl was very bubbly and carried out her duties with such high spirits. Whenever she got time, she helped out her mother run errands. Her father had passed away when she was much younger, from tuberculosis. Maybe that was the only day she appeared sad and gloomy. Otherwise, she did perfectly fine. In that way, days passed, and she grew to a beautiful 15-year-old, who had so many friends at school and outside. She didn’t hesitate to talk to boys too. Almost all of them had a crush on her because of the fact she was so beautiful and they all held pride as a girl of such beauty talked to them. But she had no such feelings towards none of them except towards one boy her age. The boy who lived next door, whose name was Ranjith, along with his parents. His riches and handsomeness didn’t back himself from talking to Rani. He had everything a boy his age could ask for, he had a computer, cell phone, and all the other facilities. Ranjith often visited her house asking notes if at all he hadn’t made it to the school in the previous days. Like that one day, he went to her house asking chemistry notes of the day before since he had taken leave on the day before. The rest of the subject notes he got from one of his friends already. She inquired about him being absent in school the day before. And he replied:“ I was running a high fever yesterday, so I couldn’t make it to the school”. She asked:“ How is it now, have you recovered ?” Ranjith replied:“ Of course I am fine. She again asked: “ Which subject notes do you need?” He said:“ Chemistry notes”. Without a second thought, the girl turned around and went inside the house to get the notes. Her mother was cleaning the dishes as she passed inside to her room. The mother who heard the whole conversation between Rani and Ranjith, enquired:“ How are you doing now kid?” He replied:“ I am fine aunty “. After the answer from his side, she again absorbed in the activity that she had been doing. After 2 minutes, Rani came back from inside the room and gave the book to him. He felt he should ask her since she had asked his well-being. He asked her:“ How was the classes yesterday”, she replied to him:“ As usual, quite boring”. He had in mind that she would say something different like, “ The whole class was talking about your absence” But, he didn’t hear anything like that from her. Ranjith waved his hand and said bye to his friend assuring her he would be in the class the next day.

Rani headed towards her school the next day morning hoping she would find her friend, Ranjith, on the way. To her astonishment, she didn’t find him outside his home. Otherwise, she used to see him outside his house waiting for her to join. Because he never went to school without her. That day when she reached the school, believing Ranjith would be in the classroom. But he wasn’t to be found next to her seat.

Two, three days she noticed this behavior of her friend. Ranjith was not showing up in the class, even though he bought the notes every evening. Despite she noticed it, she didn’t tell the matter to her parents or his parents. And she didn’t ask him either when he showed up in the evening. She thought:“ This couldn’t be left alone like that, I have to find it somehow where he is going, what he does? “ And she was ready to help him if he was in some sort of trouble.

He was asleep, lying down, with his bag on his back near some of his seniors. When he woke up after some time he found himself between the pair of legs of the seniors. He dozed off for an hour and after waking up he realized that he should go home and sleep because he felt that head was about to explode with pain. So he didn’t wait to ask his friends consent to go home. He didn’t think the time was too early to reach home, because of the hangover he had. His mother was surprised to see him at that time. She noticed her son’s eyes to be red. She asked Ranjith: “Why, why are you so early”, in an angry manner. Feeling that something was not right with him who was standing casually staring at his mother, lost in thought. She shot the next question towards him, shaking him with her right hand: “ Why are your eyes bloodshot red”. Hearing her next question he was back to his senses from thoughtfulness. Mother said:“ I will sort this out today itself, let your father come from office”. He defiantly answered her:“ There’s nothing to worry, you know its just the headache”. Suddenly as if she had got him, she asked: “What’s up with your eyes, then”. His mother noticed that he had no answer. He simply kept mum and started walking towards his room without answering her. She thought to follow him and sort the problem out but she knew its better to ask his friend, Rani. So she waited till Rani passed in that way. When Rani reached in front of Ranjith’s house, she didn’t forget to look in that direction. As she was looking, Ranjith’s mother came running calling out her name Rani, Rani stop I want to ask you something. Rani: “ What is it, Aunty?”.Ranjith ‘s mother: “ Did you meet Ranjith at school”. Rani replied: “Ehhhhh… yes, aunty, he was present “. Please don’t lie to me, you’re my son’s age; please tell the truth my girl” said the mother in a requesting manner. Now, there is no way she can’t go without telling his mother the truth. She told Ranjith’s mother everything that she noticed of him, that he was absent in the class lately, even if he made it to the class he would say some lies to the class teacher and go out. She also disclosed the facts she had known from her other friends who were boys, Ranjith’s mother concluded in her mind after hearing all those words and decided to wait for his father to come.

That night, after Ranjith’s father, came from the office. He enquired Ranjith about the whole matter and upon hearing the answers from Ranjith’s mouth the parents were startled to hear him say such things that a boy his age shouldn’t have done. He said he was into drugs therefore he also had lots of friends who helped him get to them. The parents were even more startled and sad at the same time to hear that fact. They didn’t beat him or scold him. They just sat there and cried a lot over being cheated by their son. Even though they cried a lot over their son’s plight they refused to accept the fact that he would change someday.

On the very next day, Ranjith’s father didn’t go to the office since he had something in mind. When Rani passed that way, Ranjith’s father and mother came out and held her hand to thank her, for informing them about their son. Then after three weeks, Ranjith was back to normal life like before. Rani appeared much happier than ever before.

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