Having got the nod, Riya now proceeds to the washroom. Soon, she’s out with a chilling bath. Now, she finds herself in front of her wardrobe searching for a dress to get ready for ‘Last day’. Meanwhile, her mother walks into her bedroom fuming at the sight of the messy bed; crowned by the wet towel. ‘God knows what will this girl do after her marriage’ she begins with her rethoric. ‘oh mamma, I am still in school, there’s still much time to ponder upon all these’ Riya replies. ‘School, it’s over today na’ her mother asks. Exasperated by her mother’s response, Riya says ‘Does that mean I sit for marriage tomorrow? Don’t you want me to study.’
Startled by Riya’s response, her mother leaves the towel she hold on the bed and moves to console her enraged daughter. ‘Of course, I want. Your father too wants to see you study, perhaps more than mine. It’s just that…. Ok sorry beta, sorry.’
Riya gets cherished by her mother’s response, she abruptly hugs her. That‘s how she is. Frequent mood changes. Happy now, sad then. And her anger always at her nose, ready to burst as and when things don’t go her way. ‘Ok Mamma, I am sorry too. I just carried away a bit. You know today’s the last day at school so I am having heightened emotions of excitement, gloom, happiness, and all the rest, you know.’
‘It’s okay beta. But, excitement I get it. But why gloom?’ Her mother asks.
‘Isn’t it natural? After all, I have been in this school for the last 12 years.’, Riya replies.
‘Yeah that’s true. Listening to you, now I realise how time has just flown away… I still clearly remember your cute and teary-eyed face the first day. Hope you don’t end this journey on the same note as you started it.’
Riya’s eyes light up listening to her mother, ‘I am getting nostalgic already. Just think of it. 12 years…. So many friends came and went. So did numerous teachers. But I stood there as a constant amidst a changing environment’
With raised eye brows, her mother asks ‘Getting poetic, ha. Not in love, are you’
‘Of course not Mamma’
‘Yeah better. You dare not, especially not without your papa’s permission’, Her mother replies with a relieved expression.
‘Did you need to begin that again…’ says Riya, visibly frustrated by her mother’s reaction.
‘It’s nothing to be angry, Riya. You are now growing up. So, you should know being a young girl is difficult in this society. And this things just add to your difficulty, you know. But don’t be upset now, it’s your day. Enjoy’
‘I don’t know what all these has to do with my being a girl. But okay I shall not argue with you today’
‘Alright. Enjoy the day. But only for today. Then no outing for a month till your boards are over.’ ‘Now get ready soon’, says her mother walking out of her room.
‘In a minute, mamma’, Riya replies from her dressing table.
Within a few minutes, Riya gets out to the veranda of her huge house, clad in the ‘dress code’ decided for the day, viz white T shirt and blue jeans. Her Father back from his morning walk, greets her. ‘Looking so cute my bacha. Last day at school? Enjoy.’ ‘Sure papa, bye. See you ’, Riya replies gleefully. As she was about to move out, her grandma comes into the veranda, relieved of her hour long prayer. Riya greets her, ‘Oh hello Granny’.
‘Are you going to school in that dress?’, asks her grandma with an expression of shock.
‘ Aree, Grandmaa it’s my last day at school’, she says stooping close to her. Then, she whispers in her ears, ‘Anyways gone are your days and thoughts’ and shouts ‘BYE BYEE…. Mamma, papa’. Before she finishes, her School bus arrives. And goes Riya for one last time to her school..