Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Birthday Gift

Raju woke up with a start. His bedroom door was open and he could clearly hear though not understand what his parents where fighting about. This was very normal for him. Most evenings were spent with his mother inevitably picking up an argument with his dad as soon as his father got home. And there it would start. The constant bickering.
Raju remembered the days this was not so. His mother stayed at home till he finished his kindergarten school and only started to work when he started first standard. Now he was in his third standard. Both his parents worked in IT firms which involved long work hours.
After school, Raju usually was picked by his grandmother and he stayed with his grandparents till one of his parents came and picked him up. Mostly his mother.
Raju loved his grand parents whom he called with affection Thathu and Pattoo.
Thinking of them he closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
The days went by very fast and his birthday came quite soon. It was Raju’s favorite day. He loved to get new clothes and every year his parents bought him the latest toy or gadget or game. This year he had already asked for the Nintendo Wii and for 2 games to play with it. He knew for sure he will get it.
Next year he was planning to ask for a cell phone. He had seen a 5th standard boy use it and so he thought it would be cool to use it in the 4th standard. Also for his birthday his other set of grandparents, his father’s parents, would visit him. He was fond of them too and though they did not bring any fancy gift he looked forward to spending time with them. He always called them Thatha and Patti.
They arrived 2 weeks earlier than his birthday. Ever since they arrived they always picked him up from school and he spent the evening playing with them.
His patti cooked all his favorite foods.His thatha played with him and took him to the park. And more amazing for Raju was that his parents never quarreled or fought with each other. In fact they had modeled the perfect couple in front of Raju’s Thatha and Patti.
Lost in thought Raju was silent through out the evening. He did not understand why his parents did not argue in front of company or fight in front of his grand parents. Everything else they did the same. They both came home late and both left early. 
They both were very busy. His mother even after coming home, now that Patti was there, she took of to her bedroom and was on the phone making arrangements for his birthday. His father came home late and then continued to work on his computer. All seemed the same except that they did not fight and argue anymore.
Raju’s birthday party was a grand success. This year his parents had kept it in a local hall and invited around 60 guests. The next day, being a Sunday, Raju opened all the gifts with his Thatha and Patti and his other grandparents Thathu and patoo. Together both sets of grandparents had got him his Nintendo Wii. Raju’s mother had explained to him that she had not bought him any gift yet and waiting to see what Raju got before buying him any gift. 
That evening they all got ready to have dinner together. Raju’s thatha and patti were leaving early Monday morning and wanted to have dinner together as a family especially with his other grandparents too.
Over dinner , the topic was ofcourse Raju’s birthday party and how well his mother had organized everything. Before long Raju’s mother asked him,”What would you like us to get for you as a gift dear”?. To which Raju remained silent. Then he was prodded some more by his father ,”Come on Raju would you like some games?”. Raju looked up at his parents and said , “I would really like only one thing more than any in this world. It is for both of you to stop fighting.” So saying he got up from his seat and crying he rushed to his room.
His mother was about to follow him, when her father-in-law asked her to be remain seated. “It is true, you know. You both work very hard and are very stressed too. 
I too have noticed how irritable you both can get. You both have only one child. Don’t you want that child to be happy?, and he paused.
Raju’s mother’s father continued. “I totally agree. You both need to get your priorities straightened or else you might lose what’s more precious to you.”
Both sets of grandparents came to Raju’s room and spent time with him till it his thathu and patoo had to leave. Early next morning his thatha and patti left also.Surprisingly his parents had taken leave that day and spent the whole day with him.
It was very obvious to Raju they had taken things to heart and had decided to work harder to make their home more peaceful. Both his parents cut back on their working hours and Raju knew in his heart he could never have asked for a better birthday gift.

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