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writingThe Present

The Present – a short story

Yona was standing at the corner watching intently her dearest ones
coming and going and was curious to know what the fuss was
about. Everyone was in a hurry and no one was acknowledging her
presence. She was hardly 4 years old therefore could not
comprehend the excitement brewing in the household. She could
only understand that her mother had gone to hospital the previous
day along with her papa promising her a present on her return.
Yona was expectantly looking forward to get her cherished dream
fulfilled. She saw dadi (paternal grandmother) and caught the
pallu(border) of her sari. Dadi gave her a stern look and asked her
to sit. Yona’s eyes wetted. She felt that all those who had adored
her, loved her till yesterday were behaving indifferently now
especially dadi who loved her so much besides her mother. Yona
rubbing her eyes and whipping her nose darted into her room
closing the door behind her with a bang.
She woke up soon on hearing the commotion outside. She came
out of the room and saw her mummy and papa coming out of the
taxi to the clapping of everyone present. Curiosity took her over
and she brought a small stool to stand on it to get a clear view. She
was delighted and clapped as she saw a doll like package in the lap
of her mother. “Mumma has brought the present for me, a Barbie.”
She thought. After a while, her mother was made to rest on the bed
made for her in her room by the side of a cradle. Her two little
curious eyes were taking stock of the situation and wondering why
her mother placed the present in the cradle instead of giving it to
her as promised.
“This is my present. My Barbie. I love you mumma. You are the
best.” Her girlish imagination ran riot. From bathing to combing and
dressing Barbie. Soon her mood changed when she found that her
father was lifting her doll from the cradle and passing goody goody
comments which she could not understand but knew by intuition
that he was talking about her doll Barbie. She could not however
reconcile with the fact that everyone was talking about the doll,
her present, instead of giving it to her. Then she saw her dadi, bua
(father’s sister)mami (maternal aunt), chachi (paternal aunt) taking
turns to sprinkle sanitizer before taking her doll in their lap and
kissing it while men folks were seen congratulating her father. Yona
got angry and stomping hard, she started crying. Immediately her
mother called her. She knew that she had got the attention of her
most lovable mother. She rushed and tried to sit on her tummy
when everybody present prevented her to do so including her
mother and she was almost dragged from the bed. This forcible
eviction surprised her. She never expected it from her mother at
least with whom she had a strong bond till previous days. Tears
welled out of her eyes. Her mother noticed her shocked faced and
gestured her to come to the left side of hers. She showed her the
new born in the cradle. She was taken by surprise seeing a live
Barbie like doll, but it was not Barbie. She asked her mother ,
“mumma, where is my present?”
“Which present, Yona? You have another seven months to
celebrate your fifth birthday,” her dadi said.
“ No dadi, mumma promised me to bring me a present and I want
that present now.” She insisted and started walking off.
“Don’t you see your present there ?.” her father fondly took her in
his lap and pointed to the direction of the newborn. She did not
respond but getting down disappointedly from the lap of her
father, Yona lunged forward towards the cradle again and started
playing with the new born rather reluctantly. Her mother was
watching her every move with great interest. After playing for
sometime she suddenly received a splash of water on hand. Yona
was startled and started making faces. “ Eeech,” She said, “this
cannot be my present. She is not Barbie. Mumma you promised me
a Barbie.” Everyone in the room laughed and went outside to do
their own chores leaving mother and daughter to settle the matter.
“Yona darling, this is your present. Your sister Sia. Didn’t you want
a playmate. You play with her. She is your doll.” Mother tried to
explain and make her understand. Yona simply listened bewildered
how a small baby can become a Barbie for her.
It was getting dark. Yona was still with the new born, touching her
small fingers, small feet, the face and sometimes cupping her own
face resting on the cradle and observing the new born intensely
who was sleeping. Her mother could not help but make Yona more
comfortable to develop a sibling relationship between the two. She
was about to ask her to sleep when Yona slipped inside her bed,
raised her chin, kissed her cheeks and asked, “ mum...mma where is
my present?”
-------------------------------------------o-----------------------------------------------
Copyright Tribhawan Kaul
All rights reserved
kaultribhawan@yahoo.co.in

The story wades through the mind of a girl of 4 year old.

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Writing by

Tribhawan Kaul

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