Sharanya Misra

“Happyyy Birrthhdayyy to youuuu” sang the class in excited tones. The birthday girl stood in front of her class in her beautiful glistening white fairy dress, all of 10 years old, grinning from ear to ear. This year, her parents had told her she could give out 2 chocolates if she wanted to! How happy her friends would be! She would be the only one giving out 2 chocolates to the entire class! All the students sat down in complete silence. Any mischief now would mean being sent out of class and no one wanted to miss out on the birthday chocolates.. if rumors spread by the birthday girl’s best friend were to be believed, today they were getting 2 each!! The little fairy went around the class, row by row, placing 2 chocolates on each student’s desk. Under the teacher’s watchful gaze no one dared touch the chocolates without permission. When the girl finished and sat down, the teacher nodded with a smile, but they had to throw the wrappers in the dustbin she reminded them. The class erupted into noisy chaos as all the suppressed excitement came rushing out. Pop went the first chocolate into their mouths, sucking vigorously to finish it off real fast and move onto the second!

While the class delved into the task at hand at supernatural speeds, Lily decided she had to be slow. She had to take her time. There were two chocolates today so that meant greater responsibility of doing things with care. She quietly peeled the cover off the first one and studied it. It was a hard candy, she would have to bite with care, else it would splinter. Keeping one finger to mark the middle of the candy, she brought it between her teeth and bit hard. It didn’t happen the first time, so she gave a harder attempt this time around. The candy cracked, one half went hurtling into her mouth, the other half still in her hand. She quickly gathered up the splinters in her mouth with her tongue and sucked on the candy. But her hands were busy. As fast as her little hands could manage, and with great dexterity, she placed the half in the wrapper and carefully covered it, making sure the 2 ends were frilled as beautifully as they had been in the original. The éclair was much easier to handle, soft that it was, and Lily made sure there was no slack in perfection this time as well. As the class formed a queue to throw the wrappers in the bin, Lily opened her pencil box, and carefully placed the half chocolates there, making sure they wouldn’t fall out if the box was shaken.

Lily’s mother opened the door that evening. “Food is ready”, she said, “You must be hungry, wash and come soon”. Before Lily could take a step ahead, a tiny hurricane came rushing out from the room towards her. “Diiiiidiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!”. Lily smiled. She had almost forgotten. She looked down at the round face of her baby sister raised expectantly, the eyebrows knit with worry and nodded in confirmation. Today was a ‘birthday’ day. The little one closed her eyes using one hand and extended her other one. Lily placed the half-éclair. It took her sister not more than a second to pop it into her mouth and chew-chomp-chew! ‘Thank you Didi’ she said as she turned away. Wait! Didi’s palm appeared magically with another half-chocolate in it!! ‘Mango!!!!!’ she gleefully screamed!! She hugged her sister’s legs, ‘You are the best Didi in the whole world!!’.

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