“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)