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Worlds to Explore
Nayana Varma

“I’m never going back to that horrid place again!” I shouted as I stomped into the house, banging the door shut behind me. I was greeted by the smell of freshly baked cookies and the sound of Maa humming softly as she moved about in the kitchen.
Determined not to give into temptation and get distracted by the cookies, I flung my bag on the sofa and walked straight inti the kitchen. “I’m never going back to that school again! I don’t like anyone there. I hate it! I won’t go!” I said in one long breath and ran to my room before Maa could respond. I sat on my bed with my knees to my chest, half fuming half sobbing and kept glancing at the door expecting Maa to come and pacify me. She didn’t come.
We had moved to this city only a few weeks backs and I was having a hard time adjusting to my new school and classmates. I hadn’t made any new friends yet and I missed my old school too much to even try to fit in here. Lost in this line of thought, I drifted off to sleep.

I woke up after a while to see the big orange setting sun from my bedroom window. As I sat up to take a better look, I felt something smooth and hard next to my pillow; it was a book. It was a new book; a hardbound novel with an illustrated cover and a small note stuck to the top right corner. I opened the note, it was from Maa. It said ‘There are many more worlds to explore and many more friends to make’. I found that to be a rather odd note to leave, I didn’t completely understand.
Curious to know what she could have meant by it, I opened the book and began reading. Before I knew it, I was so engrossed in the book I lost track of time.

I was far away, at sea, sailing in search of the Lost Shore Island along with three others. I started off clueless, as I had never sailed before but as the journey continued I learned more; made friends with mermaids and learned the underwater song. Soon the moon was shining bright in the clear starry sky and the sailors were losing hope, but I wasn’t ready to give up yet. We had to find that Island.
I ran to all sides of the ship, peering into the darkness, hoping to see the faintest of glow of sand in the moonlight, somewhere in the distance. Alas, no shore was to be seen; but I did spot something glowing in the water. It was a seahorse! Desperate for guidance, I called out to him and asked ‘Do you know the way to the Lost Shore Island? We were out to find it, but I think now we’re lost too.’
He seemed a little hesitant at first, but slowly swam towards the ship. I leaned far over the side to hear him, he said “Only the lost can find the lost Island. Close your maps, close your eyes and sail with your instincts. You will find it.” With that he disappeared into the depths of the sea.

The advice sounded rather ridiculous, it made no sense! How can you find something with your eyes closed? But we decided to try it anyway, no harm in trying.
I could feel the wind in my hair, the salty sea spray on my face and the rhythmic rocky movement of the ship. But suddenly, it stopped. I opened my eyes and just gaped for several minutes, unable to believe what I was seeing. We had found the Island. A thin line of shore lined with trees ran in a huge arc, low waves crashing into it. We got off the ship and walked barefoot on the sand in awe. ‘My classmates are never going to believe this’ I thought to myself and slid a tiny green shell into my pocket.

“You are already late! Wake up Amya! I will not drop you to school if you miss your bus today” Maa yelled from the kitchen. I woke up with a start and dressed in a hurry to get to school, completely forgetting about my decision to never go back. I ran out of the house and immediately doubled back to pick up that book Maa had given. On my way to school, I opened the book to pick up from where I left off, but it was empty. I frantically flipped through the pages, they were all blank. ‘But it was all so real! How could this be?! What would I tell my classmates now? They’ll think I’m making fibs’ I thought to myself. ‘Maybe it was all just a dream, maybe nothing really happened’ I reasoned.

I stuffed the book into my bag and put both my hands into my pockets. My right hand touched something small and cold. I took it out. A tiny, green seashell.

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