Vrinda’s Gift – Part II

The next day, Vrinda wanted to take her precious gift to school. Her mother said no. “You can come home and use it again,” she told her. But Vrinda wanted to show her friends the camera. “I want to take pictures of Meghna and Nandini,” she explained.
Her father suggested that she invite her friends over to visit. Vrinda agreed.
So that Saturday, Meghna and Nandini came over with their mothers. Vrinda’s mother made Chinese food for them. She also made a chocolate cake. When her friends came over, Vrinda immediately clicked pictures of them. Then she asked them to sit by Chiki and took pictures again. “Say cheese!”
The mothers got busy talking about school and the gloomy monsoon weather. Nandini thought the camera was better than her mother’s phone camera. “Your pictures are so bright,” she exclaimed.
Meghna said they should go to the garden and take pictures of flowers. The rain had stopped for a bit, so they did just that. They found some curious crows who posed gladly for pictures.
Then it was time to eat. Vrinda and the others sat around the dining table, while their mothers served them. When Nandini was about to put her fork in the food, Vrinda shouted out: Wait!
Everybody looked confused.
Then they found out why Vrinda had said that. She wanted to take pictures of the food. Nandini was annoyed. She was hungry. Still, she waited while her friend clicked picture after picture from different angles. Meghna thought Vrinda was too crazy about her gift.
“You haven’t opened all your gifts,” she pointed out. Vrinda replied by taking a picture of her. “Hey! My mouth was wide open in that picture because I was talking,” frowned Meghna.
Finally, Vrinda’s mother told her to put the camera away and let everybody eat in peace.
After their meal, Vrinda took her friends to her grandma’s room. Grandma loved telling stories. She hugged them all and started telling them the story about the time she had cooked lunch for 50 people. “Did you take pictures?” Vrinda asked her with the hope that she would say yes.
“There were hardly any cameras in those days, child,” her grandma replied.
Then she continued her story as Vrinda’s mind wandered. “Life without cameras…” She hugged her camera close. Then she had an idea. But she would need her parents’ help.
That evening, she told her parents that she wanted to make a collage of photos for her grandma.
“We can put pictures of her and pictures of all of us with her over the years,” Vrinda explained.
“Daddy has taken many pictures. I have taken a few too,” she added.
Her parents thought it was a great idea. They agreed to put together the collage. They sent grandma to Ruby Aunty’s house. “Aunty is missing you,” Vrinda told her.
The moment she left the house, they got into action. They took out albums and selected photographs. Then they pasted them onto a big piece of cardboard. Vrinda decorated it with glitter. Vrinda was excited. Grandma would love it.
When grandma saw the collage in her room, she shrieked with delight. “Who did this?” She was almost jumping with joy.
“Vrinda,” said her father. Grandma hugged Vrinda tightly and mommy took a picture with her camera.

First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)

Vrinda’s Gift – Part I

“Happy birthday, Vrinda,” her family shouted out together.
Even sweet old grandma stood up on her unsteady legs to clap while Vrinda blew out the candles on her strawberry cake. The room was full of people and there was a stack of gifts on the coffee table. Vrinda’s parents had already given her their gift in the morning.
“Mommy! How did you know that I wanted this dress?”
Her mother had laughed. “I saw you looking at it while I was getting a sari last time we went to the mall.” Vrinda remembered that day. She had tried to get the dress down from its hanger but could not reach high enough. If only she had been as tall as the grown-ups. The new dress made Vrinda very happy. She would wear it that evening for her birthday party.
The party ended too fast for her. They had barely finished playing Pass the Parcel when Ruby Aunty said that she had to leave. Vrinda’s cousins, Ravi and Sree, said bye even though they didn’t want to and left with their parents. Tomorrow was a school day. They needed to pack their bags and sleep early.
Grandma stayed with Vrinda and her parents, so she did not have to leave. But Rama Aunty said that it was too late. “It is raining outside. The drive home will be difficult. There will be lots of traffic,” she complained.
So she said goodbye, picked up little cousin Meeta, and left too. Vrinda was sad that the party was over. But she was also excited because now she could open the dozen wrapped packages waiting for her attention.
“Daddy, can I open the gifts now?” She tried to sound patient.
Her father patted the seat next to him and mummy joined them. Grandma had fallen asleep.
“Here you go. You can open Grandma’s gift first since she is the oldest,” suggested daddy.
So Vrinda did just that. Her eyes twinkled with delight as she held the pink bangles in her hands. Vrinda loved pink!
“I must go thank Grandma!” She got up to go to her room but her parents stopped her.
“Thank her tomorrow. Don’t wake her up. She’s had a long and exciting day,” they gently reminded her.
Vrinda sat down.
The next gift was from Ruby Aunty. It was a rectangular box but didn’t seem like a book. Vrinda guessed that it was a computer game. She was wrong. Her aunt, who was a photographer, had given her a camera!
“Look Vrinda!” Her mother said, “A real camera. You can take pictures of all of us, including Chiki.” Chiki sat on the sofa next to them and purred as if to show her happiness.
Vrinda had never thought of owning a camera. She sometimes used her parents’ phones to take pictures of Chiki and her friends, but a camera just for her was a big surprise. She ran her fingers along the edges, admiring the purple colour. She forgot about opening the other gifts as she began clicking photographs of Chiki and her parents. She ran over to take a picture of her sleeping grandmother too. She even took pictures of the paintings on the living room wall. Soon, it was time for bed. Vrinda fell asleep with her new camera next to her.
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)

A Late Night

It was getting late. The new book was waiting by her pillow, just thirty pages read. Two soft blankets were spread out in anticipation. The ball of fur on top of them was purring softly. He was tired of waiting for her. “This was my first party in ages,” she apologised as she changed into her pyjamas. He ignored her. The book stayed closed to show disapproval. But when she slid herself under the covers, the feline child readjusted himself between her ankles and the book opened itself in her hands.

A Short & Sweet Story for Valentine’s Day

Rita dreaded Valentine’s Day. It was the worst day of the year. Every year, she would wake up on February 14th and say, “Mommy, I’m too sick to go to school today.” Her mother always knew why she wanted to stay home. “Come to breakfast. Daddy and I have something for you.”

This year, Rita was not ready to leave her bed even when she knew her parents had bought her a wonderful gift. She had seen her father trying to hide the large box that contained the set of books she had been asking for. There were pictures of her favourite characters on the box.

“Get up!” Mommy called out for the fifth time. Rita got up. She went straight to the living room where her father was waiting. “See what you have here,” he said with a smile. Rita opened the box and ran her fingers over the books. They were so shiny. She wanted to stay home and read all day. Then her mother handed her a bright pink envelope. Rita knew what was inside. It was a Valentine’s Day card. She didn’t want it. She wanted a card from a boy who liked her, not from her parents who felt sorry for her. Still, she didn’t want to hurt their feelings, so she opened the envelope. It was a cute card with a teddy bear saying Happy Valentine’s Day. Her parents had written: Lots of love to our little girl. Rita said thank you and went to get ready for school.

The day could not end fast enough. Every class seemed to drag on and on. Rita and her classmates wanted it to be 3 o’ clock. That’s when the last bell rang. That’s also when the teacher, Mrs. Gupta, would distribute the Valentine’s Day cards. There was a shoe box for each student, and they all had the whole week to buy cards and place them in each other’s boxes.

Rimi had asked Rita if she was giving anybody a Valentine. Rita shook her head, making her ponytail hit her face. “No! Valentine’s Day is silly.” Her friend tried again. “Rita, remember how Arjun gave you chocolate once? Maybe you could give him a card.” Rita laughed. She knew that Arjun didn’t like her.

The bell finally rang and Mrs. Gupta started distributing the boxes. “Class, please be patient,” she said because Partho was standing up excitedly. He was the most popular boy in class so he expected many cards.

When Rita’s box was sitting on her desk, she did not open it immediately. She wanted to go home. Mrs. Gupta walked over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Go ahead.” Last year, her box had one card from her best friend Ruby. This year, Ruby had moved to Delhi, so her box would be empty.

Everybody started going home. Rita decided to get it over with. She took the lid off her box as if she was uncovering a creepy lizard. There was one card from Rimi. It had a picture of a clown and said that Rita was a great friend. Rita put the card into her bag.

As she walked toward the school gate, she saw Preeti showing off her valentines including one from a boy. She continued walking to the gate, looking down at the ground to avoid talking to anybody. Suddenly, she heard a boy say, “Rita, wait!” Rita turned around. It was Arjun!

“Hi,” she said. Rita wondered if she should ask him about his new pet dog. They were neighbours, so she had seen his father walking their pet. Arjun interrupted her thoughts when he said, ” I have something for you.” Rita asked, “What?” He held out a chocolate. “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Before she could say thank you, he ran out the gate. Rita had a good Valentine’s Day after all!