Unique Birthday Gift

By Lakshmi Menon

After the class was over Keerthi called her friends and announced that the next Sunday is her birthday and invited them to her house. She did not forget to invite her close friend Nimmi specially.

“I’m sorry I won’t be able to come, Keerthi,” said Nimmi separately in a lower voice.

“Why? What happened to you now? Being my best friend how can you tell me this, Nimmi?” asked Keerthi in disappointment. “If you don’t come I will feel very sad. I will excuse anyone else, but not you,” Keerthi was stubborn.

That left Nimmi in a very sad situation. Nimmi knew Keerthi was her best friend. She had no doubt about it. But there was a great difference between them. Keerthi was a daughter of a rich man and Nimmi came from a very poor family. Her father had to work very hard to meet both ends meet. If one day he did not go to work his family had to starve. He had to look after his aged parents, unmarried sisters and his wife and two children with his meager salary of a painter. He was working in a nearby construction company and it was only because of his daughter being very intelligent and brilliant in her studies she was sent to an English medium school.

That day after returning from school Nimmi sat in a corner worrying about how to go to her friend’s birthday party and what present she could give her. All other children belonged to well to do families and they would bring beautiful and attractive gifts to Keerthi. Poor Nimmi! She had not got even a good dress to wear for such an occasion.

“What are you sitting here alone and worrying about?” she heard her aunt Uma’s voice at the back when she was sitting on the kitchen step at the backyard of her house.

“Auntie, I have a problem. Could you help me out with your ideas?” asked Nimmi hopefully.

“What is your problem? Tell me dear.”

“I’m invited to my friend Keerthi’s birthday party on Sunday. My first problem is I have no good dress to wear for such a function. Secondly, what gift can poor people like us give to a rich girl?”

Uma decided to help her. After thinking for a moment, she sat next to her loving niece and placed her hand on her shoulder fondly. “I have an idea. Listen to me and tell me whether you like it or not,” said Uma.

Nimmi became very curious. Her little face glowed with happiness. “Please tell me soon auntie. I’m very eager to know it.”

“I will make a good dress for you with my red silk half-sari, and keep some beautiful frills in white colour with a thin red lace at the edge. I have a pearl chain and ear rings which can go very well with it. So I can make you look like a smart and beautiful girl! How is my idea?”

Nimmi was relieved of her tension for a while and smiled and thanked her aunt. She knew her aunt is very good in tailoring work, and is capable of making a good looking work with little bit of her imagination. But soon, her face became dull again.

“Now what’s your problem?” asked Uma again.

“What about the birthday gift to Keerthi? I know we can’t solve this problem easily.” Nimmi gazed at her aunt with a tinge of regret.

“Who said we can’t solve it. We will find a solution for that also. There is no problem without a solution. Plan of making a unique birthday gift to Keerthi,” consoled her aunt, patting on Nimmi’s cheek.

Nimmi anxiously looked forward to know about her aunt’s another bright idea, and wondered what could it be. Suddenly she got an idea looking at the planted pots in the garden.

“Keerthi is fond of plants and flowers. I will gift her with a potted plant,” said Nimmi joyously.

“That’s an excellent idea, my dear! This is the time you must use your intelligence and imagination together along with your skill of creativity. I’m sure you have all the three in you,” encouraged Uma with excitement.

With a cheerful and creative mind, Nimmi immediately rushed to put her imagination into action. By the evening her unique and wonderful gift was ready. She had taken one of the mud pots her mother had kept in the garden and beautifully painted it with bright green and white curved designs over it, which soon turned out to be an attractive pot. She was stunned at the look of her unique gift, created by her paint brush, which was a gift she had received from Keerthi last year. She then picked up her three different rose plants which were planted in three small plastic covers, and removed their covers individually, then put them together in another bigger plastic cover. She placed the three plants into the newly painted pot and then covered it with little more mud. She tied the pot with a golden colour ribbon and also made a bow on one side. She looked at her own creation and awestruck with its stunning look for a unique birthday gift! It looked as though all the three plants, red, yellow and white roses, had grown on the same plant.

Nimmi’s ego was further boosted when her aunt complimented her at the beauty of her creation. She suggested her to write the greetings to her friend on the pot. Nimmi wrote in the paper and painted “Happy Birthday to Keerthi" in a circular design, and“From Nimmi” at the bottom in another color, and pinned it to the rose plant. Over all, the whole gift was looking attractive and she thanked her paintbrush for coming to her rescue.

She anxiously waited for the Sunday evening to arrive to attend the birthday party. Finally, the day arrived. Nimmi put on her new dress, which looked pretty on her lean body with the white frills and the matching pearl chain and ear rings, though cheap in cost, stood out brightly and attractively. She had left hair neatly combed and loose, pinning a white rose , on the side. Feeling confidently with her new appearance, Nimmi walked towards Keerthi’s house, carrying her unique birthday gift in a thick plastic cover.

Story "Unique Birthday Gift" - concluded..here. ..