This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 40; the fortieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "MAKE A WISH"
Tick tock tick tock tick…the wall clock ticked away incessantly as Manick stood by the window staring into the sunlit skies. He was officially twelve years old today and yet, he was unhappy – consumed by the gloomiest, darkest sort of unhappiness possible. Of course Pradhan uncle had come around with the ceremonial birthday kheer and the kheer was perfect. It had lifted the gloominess for a while, but it seeped back in soon enough. All his friends were with him – Paul, Kuntu, Zara, Ashesh, Piyali and even Khalid (his best friend) – and yet, the sadness covered him like a blanket protecting him from the potential onslaught of cheer.
Manick thought of the birthdays gone by. His parents always had a surprise gift and a card waiting for him on his nightstand on his birthday morning every year. A whole day of comprehensive pampering would follow with more gifts from family, phone calls, outings, more surprise gifts (on some good years) and celebrations in school. The evening would be ‘spotlight’ time for Manick as his friends and their parents arrived in hordes with gifts and ‘Happy birthday beta’ wishes and fun times would be had. Ah! The silly games and songs, blowing the candles on the birthday cake, cutting the cake, his parents beaming with pride and joy as he became older and wiser. Such glorious times!
And then one day, all of that disappeared. This birthday (to be precise) was a complete contrast. No surprise gift/card waited for him on his nightstand, there was no pampering whatsoever, he hadn’t gone to school to celebrate and no party was planned. Manick was grown up now, but he couldn’t fathom how his parents and everyone around him could change everything so drastically. All that was tradition before, was now merely a memory. He did feel all grown up and this barely felt like a birthday at all.
He was a man now – with an adult responsibility to himself and the world he lived in. Maybe that’s what his parents wanted to make him understand. Maybe they had wanted to show him that life isn’t a fairytale – far from it. It’s a tough place to be and they probably wanted to harden him to life’s realities as soon as he reached an ‘age of understanding’ as they used to put it to him sometimes.
He sighed and played around with an ant moving determinedly across the windowsill. “How odd,” Manick thought. “The ant has a huge family and tonnes of brothers and sisters and yet, it carries out its individual duty to the colony, as best it can.” He smiled to himself. Ma would have been proud of his sharpened analogical prowess. Perhaps he was like the ant too. He would have to pull up his socks and start behaving like a man now. He was no longer a boy.
And yet, the feeling gnawed at him. “Why did everything have to change so suddenly? Why was it not more gradual and slow so that I COULD ADAPT MORE EASILY?” And then all of a sudden, it hit him - just how lonely he felt. In his sudden transition to maturity, he was suddenly all alone. He would grow wild and henceforth all his birthdays would be similar to this one. He would be like a wildflower that one sees lining muddy raw village paths, but nobody seems to care much about. Why would one care about a wildflower, when there are roses, jasmines and lilies to be considered and appreciated?
Manick felt the bitterness stemming from his heart. He could taste it in his soul. He despised growing up. And eventually the despise turned to despair and he looked at the clouds outside longingly, a wish forming rapidly in his heart. He clung on to it because the evanescence of life scared him. He remembered how his father would say on the night before his birthday every year, “Make a wish son. If you believe in it, it’ll come true.”
So while his friends played hide and seek in the corridoors of the building, his beseeching wish was thrust violently into the cosmos. “I don’t know why ma and baba left me so suddenly, but I know they’re not coming back for me. Please let them know I love them and please….please…..send me a new ma and baba soon.” He felt a hand on his shoulders and he burst into tears as Khalid hugged him tightly – like only a best friend can.
That night the orphanage was very still, when Pradhan uncle burst into the room and woke up a sleeping Manick and his friends. His face was glowing and he held some papers in his hand. As he sauntered up to Manick’s bed, out of breath and smiling from ear to ear, Manick and Khalid exchanged knowing glances. Their hearts beat faster ever second and they knew full well that the cosmos had just created a miracle and answered Manick’s prayer. He would be a wildflower no more.
--------------- Shreyasi Majumdar
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