There are days when you feel like everything is crumbling down on you. You feel like every breath you take turns into wispy ash inside you. The curve of your smile becomes bleak. But even on the saddest of days, you have to remember that your family is there for you.
Bhaiya’s birthday was on the way.
I still remember the cake I bought for him. It was my first time going into a shop on my own and purchasing something worth more than Rs. 100. As I walked past the bakery, carrying the big bag with me, I saw my friend on the street. We greeted each other.
“Is everything okay?”, she asked me.
“Yes, everything is fine”, I mumbled.
“No, something’s up. I can tell.”
I sighed deeply. Should I tell her, I wondered.
“Yeah, actually, mammi-papa. They…they had an accident a week ago.”
Asmita’s eyes widened and she gasped. As I looked down, she hugged me. “Oh, I am so sorry”, I could hear her muffled voice as she spoke while hugging me.
“How are they now?”, we broke apart as she asked,
“They are better. Mum had her leg broken and papa broke his ribs. They had the operation 3 days ago and were discharged from the hospital yesterday.”
“Okay”, she muttered and smiled at me. “If there is anything I can do…”
“Oh, thank you for saying that. It means a lot”, I said.
“What about the cake?”, she pointed at the bag I was carrying.
“Oh, it’s bhaiya’s birthday. I didn’t want anyone to feel gloomy.”
I got home. My mother was lying on the bed, half-asleep. The drugs made her sleepy. My father had his left arm wrapped around his chest to keep the ribs in place. My grandma was in the kitchen, cooking dal and rice.
“Hey, what did you get?”, papa asked me, peering into the bag.
“Cake for bhaiya”, I replied.
As dusk approached, I set up the balloons and the streamers on the walls. A knock came and everyone went silent.
‘SURPRISE’, everyone yelled in unison as bhaiya appeared at the door. His eyes widened in happiness and he chuckled softly.
The cake was cut, the balloon popped, and dinner was served.
Mammi asked me, “Why did you go through so much trouble?”
“It’s no trouble. We have to find the silver lining in every situation. Birthdays are special. They remind one how grateful we all are that they were born. It was not just about bhaiya. We all are going through some tough times right now. But it will pass. With every night, there is a promise of the morning. And if our night can be passed through with some cake and chips, then why not?”, I smiled at her.
She gave me the warmest hug. A tear trickled down her cheeks.
As I watched my family, with broken legs and ribs, with sweat on their foreheads and wrinkles under the eyes, they reveled with a rejuvenated spirit. At the moment, the past didn’t matter. All that mattered was that we were together. Who knew some cake and balloons could win over the sorrow of a car accident?
Isn’t that what life is about? To get up after Fate smites you down?
I found my solace within my friends and family. Life can be gloomy and bleak but it is up to us to add a little spark and glitter to it. If you care enough, if you dare enough, life is just a piece of cake.
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