Secret Santa

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“Argh! These assignments, I hate them.” Riya complained like for the millionth time.

Riya had planned for this weekend like a zillion times in her head. The perfect outfit and the fun she’d have with her friends she had always wanted to go for one of these weekender concerts. She loved the whole atmosphere and the euphoric feeling that came along with it. Being a part of the concert crowd was what she loved. And she had also being saving money for it since quite a few months now. And now to let go of all this just for a stupid assignment was what she was more than pissed for.

So she halfheartedly sat the whole evening with Tanya in her room and somehow after all the nagging and cribbing; managed to complete the whole assignment.

Next morning, we went to Miss Sengupta in the staff area and handed over the assignment.

“I didn’t expect you girls until evening.” she smiled.

For a change we did not return her smile.

“Seems like I did after all spoil your day, did I?”

“Well kind of.” I muttered.

She heard that.

“What were you going to do anyway?” She enquired.

There was silence.

“Well, now that I’ve already ruined your plans, why don’t you both help me with a little work that I have?”

“Ok.” We both said with no enthusiasm at all in our voices.

In my mind I was so pissed off. Anger at its peak.

She walked us out of the college and on to the street.

“So, what was the plan anyway?” she asked.

“We’re going to attend the weekender” Riya said.

“We had that planned for quite some time now.” Priya added.

“Ah, the weekender. The one they are having at the outskirts right?” she asked “Isn’t it too pricey?”

“It’s alright once in a while” Riya answered.

“Sure it is.”

There we reached. To a not so well off place named Aashiyan.

“Auntyyyyy” a small little girl came running to Miss Sengupta.

“How’s little Aanya doing?” she asked cheerfully

“I’m fine. But has Santa arrived yet?” she asked.

“Tonight, only when you go to sleep. He’ll come.” She narrated, as if a story.

“Okay.” She smiled and ran off.

Me and Tanya were so confused to say a word.

Miss Sengupta turned to us and said “They’ve been waiting for this day all year around. And work hard to be good the whole year only to hope and receive gifts they wish for. And you know what are their wishes?”

“Come along she said.”

Inside she greeted the manager in a room inside. She came out with a file.

She handed it to us.

“Why don’t you two go and read it in the garden?” she said.

We left without a word.

The kids were playing just there, they all looked so happy to see us.

We took a bench and sat. We couldn’t believe what we saw in the file.

Neatly written in what felt like handwriting on 6-7 year olds were wishes.

Arun Remote controlled car
Aanya Barbie doll
Tina Tea set
Rahil Birthday cake for jiya because the last cake got spoiled by me.
Siddhant Encyclopedia
Muskan Make up kit
Jiya Frock
Nupur School shoes

I and Tanya literally had tears in our eyes.

Just then a little girl came to us and said “Did Rahil hit you too? He’s like that only.”

“I did not do anything!” A boy said who we did not realize was hiding behind the bench

“I saw you, you’re out! You’re out!” the girl shouted happily and ran off.

“I’m not!” he too ran behind her.

Just then Miss Sengupta came, and sat at the bench next to ours.

“They’re all orphans. 2 of them the manager found left alone on the road.”

We were still speechless. We realized that we were cribbing about such petite issue.

“”They’ll finally get all their gifts, well most of them. With the humble donations people do for them. And after paying all the school fees and making the ends meet. Not much fund is left for their gifts. Last year we could only get 4 gift items, but you know what? Neither did they crib nor did feel jealous of the friends who got their gifts instead they all share whatever little they had. ”

“So, this year, do all of them get what they want?” Riya asked.

“No, just 3 of them. The organization hasn’t been receiving enough donations.”

Just then Riya had a little idea. She looked at Tanya with a huge smile and said “I have a plan!” she understood and so did Miss Sengupta.

They left Aashiyan.

Just when it was evening, they retuned back with huge packets in their hands, all beautifully gift wrapped.

All the kids rushed to us.

“Did Santa send you?” the little girl asked.

“Yes he did.” Riya Said.

They spent the whole evening with them and they were so happy to see all the kids jump with joy after receiving all they wanted.

Riya and Tanya reached their hostel, their friends were back.

“We had soooo much fun!” said Malvika

“So did we.” They smiled.

– The Lazyy Blogger.

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Close Call.

Another short story.

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So, it was Diwali in 4 days and the excitement in me grew like never before. I had never been so glad about Diwali when I was back in my hometown; guess these things suddenly become important when you are miles apart. But the best thing was that in less than 24 hours, I’d be home. Although I still live in the same county, Chennai felt like it was a part of a different county altogether. Especially when you compare it with Baroda. So I was all set. Came early from my office, bought a few gifts on the way almost done with the packing and answered my mom’s call thrice. Yes, that would be an unusual thing, given I never get a chance to speak to her more than once when I’m working. She was happier than I was. I was going to be back after 6 months. My roommate, Shri had been bugging me and constantly reminded me about getting her the yummy theplas my mom had sent the last time around. The flight was at 23:00 and I had to reach the airport by 21:30 (approx 75 mins early to board a domestic flight) I felt bad for Shri, who couldn’t get her holiday leave approved and had to stay back instead of going to Nagpur for Diwali. I decided to treat her, Italian (her favorite), so we left for Little Italy.  We had our dinner and Shri went to got into the car and just then my phone rang. It was mom. Again. Reminding  to leave so that I wouldn’t be late. Next thing I heard was a crash sound.  Even before I could think, I saw Shri bang her car into the truck passing by. Leaving a huge dent on her car and blood was flowing from her forehead. She had banged her head on the steering wheel.

My mind was torn. I had to reach the airport, but I couldn’t leave Shri alone at the hospital, although my other friends said they were on their way and they would take care of her. I just couldn’t leave.just then the doctor came with a list of medicines and broke my chain of thoughts.  I left for the medical store.

It was 23:40.my phone rang, it was from home. Damn, I thought, I had forgotten to call home to tell them what had happened. I answered the phone,

“Riya?!” It was dad, sounding totally confused and panicked and worried.

“Dad?” I replied bewildered.

“Oh thank god you’re alive!” “It’s her, she’s fine” I heard him tell it to people at home.

“What is..” before I could complete my mom had taken over the phone from dad

“Are you ok?  Where are you? Is everything alright?” She was crying.

“What is happening??” I asked after I couldn’t understand the whole reason for panic. I haven’t even told them about shri’s accident I thought.

“They showed it on TV. Ritu aunty from Ahmadabad called to inform” she said still panicking

“That flight IC107 from Chennai to Ahmadabad had crashed soon after it took off.”

I couldn’t believe what I heard. Almost went blank for a moment.

“I..I..missed my flight…” was all I could say.

“And thank god for that” my mom said with a breath of relief.

“Shri met with a minor accident, so I took her to the hospital and missed my flight.” I said recovering myself a bit.

Close call I thought. Very close call.

-The Lazyy Blogger.

The color.

Note: I had to describe the color ‘Blue’ without using the word blue.

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It’s what you feel on a full moon day, while you take a walk all by yourself. It is the color or relaxation, the color of holiday, be it is the color of the clear sky, indicating that the day is going to be perfect. Or it is the color of your perfect dream holiday villa’s view, the one facing the sea. It is the color of your everyday wear, your jeans. Something your personality is incomplete without. It is the color of the night, the time when it’s all calm and you spend your time with the most important person in your life; yourself. It is the color of the liquid you cannot imagine you life without, water! The color of your favorite cartoon characters because they are too cute and smurfy . But it can also be the color of loneliness or depression. The color of tension and the color of worry. It’s the color of your favorite superhero, who’s neither a plane or a bird. And thus, it is the color of faith. In India, it’s the color of a religion and the color we bleed. Something that connects people of different caste and creed. The color of royalty and class.

The color of life.