>It was like diwali, though it was hot humid summer!!! I will never forget the happenings of the day. Celebration at home, for I had scored highest all over in Pusa. I was on cloud 9. Guests were pouring in, hearing of the news and were congratulating my parents. It was like a festival. I gave my friends a mini-treat in the evening and was roaming out when I glanced at my watch. 7:30 pm. “Mar gaye! Itna late? Aaj to pukka daant padegi….”I accelerated my bicycle with this thought and reached home in less than 5 minutes(Pusa is a quite small place, you see). I was surprised to find so many people there. Some i knew, but mostly my father’s collegues and completely stranger to me. So I simply did namaste to all and after standing there for 10 minutes or so, excused myself to a glass of water and slipped back into my room.

Silence. I could literally hear my heartbeat. I knew my life will change from now on. I knew the value of this achievement. Little did I realize that there are changes in life which can ruin it too. I was a hopeless optimist back then too, as I am now. I waited for the guests to leave. Once it was just me and my family, I asked Ma,”Khana kya bana rahi ho?”. “Chicken” replied Ma. I was happy for the umpteenth time that day. Chicken was my favourite dish. Somethings never change… I still remember the discussions going on between Ma and Papa after talking to chacha. My cousin, Chiku had also passed with good scores. Apparently, chacha had asked Papa to send me to Ranchi for higher studies and Ma was against it! I then remembered that a month ago, at a gathering in our village for a function, chacha had told Papa to send me to Ranchi if I get good marks in the board examination. Papa had shown his interest too. “But that was one month ago!! I mean, … kehne se kya ho jata hai…I am not going anywhere”, I thought to myself. I was really scared of leaving the safe haven of my home and going out for studies to some unknown place. When I think of this fear now….I just smile to myself. 9 years away from home….Its been quite a while. I was never the homesick person I always thought I was…..lol