Those two eyes! Stern and disciplinary. Proficient at conveying a ‘no’ to his son without uttering a single word.
The poor twelve year old, Shakti, was simply awed by the way his classmates used to celebrate their birthdays. His father, a struggling theatre artist, never allowed him to go to such celebrations. He firmly believed that spending money on gifts is not a priority, but running their home is.
“If you go to these parties, they will expect you to throw one for your own birthday. We can’t afford it.” Those two strait-laced eyes served their purpose well.
Well aware of the toils of his single father, the son could not dare to argue with him.
Shakti’s most extravagant birthday was his first one, when he had cut a two pound rainbow cake. As he started going to school, he was given a packet of toffees to distribute while the others threw parties based on special themes. He, too, craved for a pomp and glitter sort of celebration. Certainly, this boy started feeling outclass.
“Shakti! Coming to Kunal’s party tomorrow? What else could be a better way to spend a Sunday evening !”Nikhil was more than excited.
“Umm… actually daddy will be out of the town, else he would have dropped me to Kunal’s home. And, you know, I am not allowed to roam alone.” Accomplished at giving reasons to skip such occasions, Shakti blurted out an excuse. After all, his acting prowess was an inherited one. But, deep down, this lad was eager to go and have fun with his friends. His heart was betraying him.
“Come on! The venue is not far from your home. It’ll be fun. Occasional lies don’t harm.”
“I shall try.” This was a quintessential response of Shakti to conclude a conversation.
The next morning was not a stereotypical Sunday morning. His father was planning to go somewhere. So what! Wait! This young fellow’s eyes gleamed.
Is he really going somewhere?
Now, his brain joined the heart in betrayal. He chose to stay indifferent to avoid any suspicion.
“I need to go for another audition, Shakti. You better go to your aunt’s home and play there.”
“With a headache, I prefer to stay at home. I shall go to our neighbour when I feel fine.”
Shakti quietly slipped away, planning to come back in an hour. Though reluctant for a while to go without a gift; he left all his hesitations and fear at home to enjoy with his friends.
Magic show, games, fritters and cake; he savoured it all. With so much fun and frolic all around, the boy forgot everything like our Cinderella did in the prince’s party.
The kids cheered when a pied clown spread humour with pranks and tricks. Suddenly, the clown slipped on the banana peels, everyone laughed but Shakti lent his hand to help him.
The two pairs of eyes met each other, again.
Uneasy and helpless. Those two eyes!
Photo By: Emmanuel Mwape
This is an entry for Five00-7, a writing event hosted by ArtoonsInn. Check out the event prompt and guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/five00-7/