HER 21ST BIRTHDAY

The happiest face there was of her father’s. 

He whispered to his first love, “How fast has she grown,  I still remember those times when her tiny little fingers used to wrap around mine.” He reminisced the day when his second love had set foot in this world. From that day to this celebration now, he had  been witness to everything that she had been through these 21 years. 

She said, “My love, I know what surge of emotions you are going through. I remember each moment that you both have had and the number of times I’ve lost to both of you.” Both giggled at this, as it had been the story always, when both the father and daughter won over every argument over their mother. “Baba, Aai”, as she fondly called them, “Come here, It’s time for the cake cutting.” 

A three-tier cake awaited them as they all gathered near the table. “How could she always go like Baba Aai and not Aai Baba”, she said. Her baba had the winners smile, as he said those two words again, “I WIN”. Everytime Baba quietly won over Aai as he was her superhero, her knight in shining armour, her saviour, her universe. 

“Ready?” the 21 year old asked as she cut through the first tier of the cake slicing of a piece from it amidst loud voices singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. She turned towards her superhero and fed him the first bite. “I WIN” he said to her mother again. 

The cake cutting was done with as the Father’s daughter had turned 21 today. 21 years of growing up that her father had seen. 21 years that her father had grew with her. 21 years of memories that her father carried with him. 

“Honey, do u remember her first bday?” he asked his wife. She kept silent as she knew it was a rhetorical question and her love would b going on with the story. 

“How tiny she was dressed in that white tshirt. I clearly remember. Even though people were gathered and hoarded around her, our little princess stood there giving the sweetest smile to everyone. And and you remember the way she used to wink. The way she held the knife that day as if she had conquered some big thing. My daughter has grown up”

“Indeed she has. And she has been your daughter only” she said with a made-up smile. “Why do u fell so love?” he said with a wide mischievous grin. 

“Ohh! As if u don’t know. Remember those tyms when she used to take my odhani and wrap around her and then wud take her elder sister’s purse. And she wud make u hole her hand and take rounds of our house saying we r going to d-mart. All that was fine but my heart shattered when she used to say, “Only mi and baba will go. Aai tu nko yeu.” How rude of her? “she said making faces. 

” How could i forget that? Carrying her fake bags. Stopping in the middle as she checked out a fake product. That and the game where i had to taste the tea made by her. Ohh! I so clearly remember the way she used to wave hands as if she made the world’s best tea” he said continuing,”Also the blindfolds game of hers where if i found her she would say,”Baba tula distay na sagla!Cheating krtoy tu” and wud make me again go blindfolded.”

“YES”, she said but some sort of gates of baba’s mind had opened and he didn’t listen to that yes. He continued,”The way her big cute cheeks bounced when I lifted her and ran everywhere in the house. And and do you remember that time when she looked at me with her tiny eyes wide open, the time I clean shaved. I bet that was the only time u might have won.”

“Also remember, when she was some six years old, she used to  forcefully put ur odhani in the back of her top making it look like a queens cape and she used to sit on her chair like a queen.”he asked her. 

“Oh!  Yeah and the queen then let out orders to her mother as she made her father sit beside her as her advisor. You would have had a blast that time making me do things right? ” she said as both of them chuckled. 

“Everything feels as if it happened yesterday. The time she used to wait for me at the door and seeing a glimpse of me would rush down and cling onto me. The time when she made that first greeting card. I still can’t forget those cute little strokes on her face as she made it.”he said. 

“Baba Aai where are my gifts?” came asking a 21 year old girl as she searched for her parent’s gifts all over the place. 

He slid his hand in the pocket and took out some keys which had a ribbon attached to it and a greeting which read, “HAPPIES BDAY SHARA! WE LOVE YOU!” 

Sharvari understood that it was the thing that she had asked him some time ago. He had never let her down. She hugged him tightly as she clinched those keys saying, “I LOVE U SOOO MUCH BABA!!” and she ran downstairs. 

He looked at his wife and said, “I WIN”  again

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