A Celebration of Life
excerpt from a letter written by Erica to her friend Jill dated
5th September, 2010:
that matter is over and done with. A most unusual thing happened
to me about a week ago. Aashna and I met up at my house for a while
and then decided to go for an early dinner at Dominoes. The sky
was overcast and a slight wind prevailed. We walked down to the
As we entered it –
it had one of those absolutely fascinating doors that open and shut
automatically when they sense somebody close – we noticed a whole
a group of school children, probably of our age, sitting at various
tables and relaxing after an examination. Just as we sat down
to order, the sky darkened , a sort of gloomy dullness spread everywhere
and almost in no time, it started pouring.
Soon thunder and lightning
caught on too. We all became a little uneasy at this unexpected
turn of events. However, hoping that it would clear out in
a while, we continued with our orders. As opposed to the scene outside,
the inside of the joint, where we sat, was bright, warm and comforting.
Some of us (I mean the group of school – kids too) got calls from
our mothers and just as we were assuring them of our safety, the
electricity went off.
Now was the
time when the two automatic doors did not really look fascinating
to me as they were now sealed shut. By some unspoken
mutual consent, all of us moved closer and sat on just one
table in the centre. All the people working there had
taken refuge in the warm kitchen.
For a while
none of us spoke. But then, one by one we got about
talking and pretty soon we were introduced to that group of
four friends. Aman was a tall, lanky guy with a sardonic expression
on his face (the occasional flashes of lightning afforded
the view) and a sarcastic remark for everything. Perhaps
for this very reason I liked him the best!
The other people
were Jahanvi, a sweet good-natured girl with a knack for listening
to everyone as if her life depended on it, Rhea, a moody girl
who mostly kept to herself, and Ishan, a great guy who was
out sole entertainer. We chatted for a while and were
getting along very well.
To use the clichéd
expression- time flew by. Soon enough, it was a quarter to twelve
(midnight). Making the restroom an excuse, I got up and went to
the back of the counter and sat there for a while. I was feeling
very low at the prospect of spending my birthday stuck here in the
dark, unwelcoming pizza joint when I should have been home, in my
lovely bedroom, with all my family laughing, joking, opening presents
and teasing my little brother.
A few minutes later,
my phone vibrated in my pocket to signal that it was midnight. An
involuntary tear left my eye as I whispered to myself ‘Happy Birthday!’
Then I got up and went back to join the group. A flash of lightning
illuminated the entire room and what I saw left me speechless. I
stood there and started in disbelief at the scene around me.
Using a small pizza
slice, all the people had made a small cake and had put a small
chocolate at the side. Each of them shone their phones at the impromptu
cake so I could take a better look! And then, in an absolutely unmelodious
chorus they began singing ‘Happy Birthday’. Just like a mother thinks
her new-born child’s crying is the most melodious sound in the world,
that extremely out-of-tune chorus, to me, was bliss.
I sat down with this
huge smile on my face and thanked each of them again and again.
In answer to my profuse thanks, they each took out whatever they
found in their pockets and gifted that to me. They laughed and talked
and chatted once again, while I savored the small Cadbury chocolate.
We snuggled together
for warmth and after a while some of them began to nod off. I sat
answering all the texts from my other friends and then, with an
assortment of small presents in my pocket (that included a broken
key chain, a black scrunchie hair band, a yellow and blue hair-chip
and an empty candy wrapper) I, too, went off to sleep.
You had asked me how
my birthday celebrations had been and now I hope you are satisfied
with my answer. Unpredictability and life they are synonymous! So,
have you seen five hundred days of summer?………
Contributing Story Teller: Anvita Budhraja
is a student of Class 10, Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai and
can be reached at [email protected]