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Perfect birthday gift

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NANDINI NAYAR

Everyone looks forward to celebrating birthdays. But not me. The reason? I didn't want my brother to be there…

Most people enjoy their birthdays and look forward to their birthday parties. But I only became grumpier as my birthday came closer.

“Why does Anuj have to be at my party?” I grumbled to Amma. “Why can't you take him out somewhere or leave him with the neighbours?”

“Don't be mean, Anu,” Amma scolded. “He is your little brother! He has a right to be at your party!”

“Yes,” I mumbled, “he does.” But what about me? How was I going to feel, having my little brother tottering about at my birthday party, grabbing all the attention, while I was ignored? It had happened before and it would happen again. And that's why I wanted Amma to keep Anuj away from my party. But so far I had had no such luck.

Centre of attention

I went back to my homework and Anuj found me there.

“Hey Anuj!” I said, “How are you?” My brother babbled and I nodded. “So Amma isn't giving you a biscuit? Lets see what we can do!” I marched to the kitchen lugging my brother and after a short battle, got away with two biscuits. Sitting on my hip, Anuj babbled away into my ear. We were waiting for him to begin talking but for now his conversation consisted of these meaningless sounds.

By the day of my party I was resigned to having Anuj there.

“Your brother,” exclaimed my friend Smitha, “He's so cute!”

“Yes,” I thought looking at Anuj, his curly hair framing his round face, and his pudgy hands grabbing things, he was cute and I was glad he was at my party. So what if my friends had gathered around him and were passing him around, as if they were playing pass-the-parcel and he was the parcel, while I stood in a corner, ignored at my own party?

Anuj hated the attention, and seemed to want only me. His frantic eyes kept looking at me, as if begging to be rescued from my friends. I smiled and waved, but stayed away. And then, as if he could bear it no longer, my brother Anuj pointed at me and said, Anu! The room fell silent. I could hardly believe my ears. And then, as if to oblige me Anuj said again, Anu! This time there was no doubting it. My little brother had spoken his first word. And it was my name! A perfect storm of noise burst then. Anuj's face crumpled and he looked ready to cry. I grabbed him. “Anu's here!” I told him, “Don't worry, Anuj Anu's here!”

“Anu,” Anuj agreed, patting me on my cheek. And at that moment I felt like the most special person in the world and knew that this was the best gift my brother could have ever given me. And to think I had actually wanted Anuj to stay away! At the memory of my meanness my arms tightened around Anuj.

“Anu!” he yelled, “Anu!” I grinned, enjoying the best birthday gift anyone could have asked for.


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