Birthday Shockers

Rintu loved to see the 'Birthday girl' dressed up in a casual dress to school. The person used to be the center of attraction there. She was not to be treated like the usual, uniform clad student that day. It was a day when the 'Birthday' made them special. The lucky girl's name was announced in the assembly and then everyone wished her. It was a celebrity status she always wished for but could never attain it. What added to the misery was that it was not her fault.

Rintu was born in the month of June. Thus, the summer vacation always made it impossible for her to celebrate her birthday at school with friends. Nor could she call them home as most of them had travel plans. Whenever someone would distribute sweets at school she would come home and cry her heart out to her grandmother.

Rintu, her mamas (uncles) and her grand parents (maternal) stayed together in Bikaner. Her parents and her siblings were settled in Delhi. Her father was trying to establish a new business there and thus, left Rintu with grand parents. She was pampered enough by the maternal side.

Her wish was their command. She would demand jalebis, kachodis in the middle of the night and her Nanaji’s retired DSP status would be manipulated to get her wishes fulfilled. So, nothing was impossible in her raj. It was her world, driven by her rules. But one thing bugged her day and night - the birthday madness.

While she was pampered by all the men in the family her Nani was a very strict, iron lady, who loved her a lot, but made sure Rintu did not get 'out of her hands'. Over affection, she knew was a sin. So, she balanced it out for her. Rintu loved her life, with her Maa and Pitaji (as she called them). She was more than happy with them.

Her mamas’ came up with a solution for the birthday-less-ness syndrome in school. They began it by celebrating her birthdays every Sunday. She used to cut a cake, give toffees to all the other cousins and have a great time at home. One day she wished to do the same in school. So, it was set and decided that Monday was to be her Birthday this year.

She dressed up in casuals like the rest of the girls did when it was their birthday. Then distributed toffees and came back home smiling. Everyone was finally happy to see her happy. In the evening when she was playing with her cousins, there was someone at the door. They rushed to see who it was and Rintu’s face blanched.

She ran towards the little thing dressed in a baby pink frock carrying a pink coloured gift wrap in her hand. “What are you doing here Kanchan?” She demanded. The girl was taken aback by the unexpected rude tone in Rintu’s voice. “I just got you a gift. You said it is your birthday. Right?” Rintu lost the colour on her cheek and pleaded in front of Kanchan. “Tu chali jaa verna meri maa daantegi. Unko nahi pata ki koi aayega bhi ghar pe.” “Please go, it is not my birthday. It was my ‘jhootha’ birthday. I do not want the gift. It was not for the gift. Aisa toh har sunday manati hun” saying this, she pushed the girl outside and shut the door on her face.

The cousins swore never to let out the secret. Kanchan’s mother met Nani on the bus-stop the next day and told her how her daughter could not stop crying after the insult. Nani was shocked to hear the anecdote. She came home and enquired the rest of the cousins about the genuineness of the act.

Rintu got a good piece of Nani’s brains that day. Then another birthday was celebrated and Kanchan was invited for it. Rintu's face was smudged with the chocolate cake and her eyes bulging out with big tears. It wasn’t her birthday, actually, but, everybody behaved as if it were. Nobody knew the reason behind the sudden outburst. After all this is what she always wanted. She wanted all the attention but not this way. She could not stop crying at the childishness of her act. But, then she was only a child.