Oma’s feet were dunked in the pond that was settled in the middle of the wilderness. Fishes were playing near her feet. Every now and then they would nibble on her feet but she didn’t notice. She didn’t even notice that it was an extremely hot afternoon. Not a single leaf fluttered. Resident birds and monkeys were mute; it seemed they were contemplating about their survival in the face of harsh summer. Utter silence reigned over the forest. A shattered glass bottle was lying few feet away from Oma; the broken pieces dazzling like huge diamonds in the sunlight.
To any other 17 year old girl, the eerie silence of the jungle would have been frightening, especially when her home was 4 kilometers away and there wasn’t a single human soul to be seen around. But not to Oma, who was oblivious to everything except her inner turmoil.
Although everybody had told her that she was too emotional, too sensitive, she had never believed them. Until now. Maybe her mother was right: she was an idiot who was always the last one to see the light of the day. Her mother had told her not to befriend Sneha, not to trust her. But did she listen to her? Of course not. Like a moth to a flame, Oma was drawn to Sneha for her vitality, vivaciousness and boldness. She never imagined all those traits were just skin deep. A shell. A mask. A cloak that covered a mile-wide streak of jealousy and malice. The unveiled hostility and deception had cut her insides, making her feel hollow and empty.
Since last one week, Oma was hounded by questions. Day and night. She couldn’t get past Sneha’s treachery. How can anyone pretend so much? How can anyone impersonate to be someone else? How can anyone fake friendship? How can anyone concoct loyalty and honesty?
And most of all, how could she not see what everybody else could? Is she really that stupid? When everyone told her to be beware, she brushed away their concerns thinking they must have had some misunderstandings with Sneha. She had trusted Sneha so implicitly that she hadn’t even considered others’ suspicions about her motivations to befriend her. More of a fool she was.
Although her mother said that Sneha had taught her a valuable lesson, the one that would do her good if she remembered it, she wasn’t so sure. To her, it was more than just a bitter lesson. Her very foundation was shaken. Her faith in friendship was in jeopardy. Her conviction about relationships was under threat.
Will she ever be able to make new friends? Will ever be able to return back from the precipice of disillusion? Will she ever make peace with her misjudgment?
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