Birthday # 4


Today’s Scintilla Project prompt that inspired my story is “Post a photo of yourself from before age 10. Write about what you remember of the day the photo was taken. It may not be a full story—it may just be flashes of event and emotion—but tap into the child you were as much as you can.” 


When my father posted this picture, on Facebook, of me cutting birthday cake the day I turned four, someone was quick to notice the undivided attention the cake was getting from the children around the table. “At that age, is there much else to look forward to?” I asked in return.

Indeed there was nothing much else to look forward to… except maybe birthday gifts? But that was still a few birthdays away, when my response to “Happy birthday” would be “So what did you get me?”

That day, I remember a lesson… the alphabet, maybe? Or an activity… how to somersault, perhaps? The doorbell sounds and the teacher answers the door. The next thing I remember is dancing around my father, mother and pudgy 6-month old brother as the words BIRTHDAY and CAKE fill the room. My mother is fashionably dressed, a paradox for the eighties, in a salwar khameez and carries my brother dressed in cute little blue onesies, his eyes wide open in wonder at this strange human ritual. My father takes pictures.

In the picture, the cake says “Happy Birthday, Dear Anju”. Anju, my short name, my pet name, for in those days not many insisted I be called by my birth certificate name.

I don’t remember much after this, but I must have enjoyed that cake. Nursery was a fun place to be in as a child, so why wouldn’t I?


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