I see my pen moving rapidly on the sheets of my writing pad as lightning strikes the open field some distance away from my window. I realise I have chosen to write and face my facts of life.

Seriousness is my problem. Yeah, I know, it is a virtue for most, but I think I am too petty and take myself and my life too seriously, thus alienating others. And that includes some of the dearest friends I have ever had in all my life.

Am I the only one in the wide world with this problem? Maybe not, but I don’t care. It is bad enough with me having it anyway. Am I a pessimist? I don’t know. The reason that I say I don’t know to the latter question is because I am sometimes quite a talkative, hopeful and cheery individual. I don’t scare easy. So why do I brood on trivialities most of the time? Why do I mope around the classroom once the lessons are over? No wonder my friends are confused. They simply don’t know how to talk to me. And I have no answer to my problem.

I love my friends. And I love friendship. I know that they don’t know this fact about me and I don’t care. The other day, a particularly cheerful and energetic friend of mine made a funny comment and so infectious was her good spirit that I burst out laughing. But I stopped laughing as soon as I started because I was shocked to see that she had been taken by surprise by my laughter. She had expected me to barely smile.

One of my other friends nearly ended her relationship with me for similar reasons. I came to know of this from common friends and I coaxed her back into the friendship. But I felt ashamed afterwards. Ashamed of my behaviour that caused the rift in the first place. And then, ashamed of giving in to my need for friendship.

And then there is this special friend I have in my life. I nearly broke up with him once and it was my fault. I was the one who’d been petty and serious, serious over trivial “issues”. Thank God he was more mature than I am. Thank God he understood why it happened. Thank God he understood me. He saved our friendship. And for the first time in my life ever, everything was clear in my mind.

Friendship is so great! You never know what joys may come floating by. Then why do I act as if I ain’t in the mood? I’m dying but I’m not gonna die tomorrow. I love my friends but I hate being a source of laughter. My behaviour is something that’s driving me mad. — Mimansha Joshi, Class IX, GEMS