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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sheela, Pinky & Happy Birthday

Shambhuji was the attendant-cum-sweeper-cum-peon-cum-nurse at the village school. He looked at the old wall clock which one of the trustees had gifted the school years ago after the trustee's son passed SSC at the district school. Shambuji got up and rang the huge brass bell kept at the centre of the foyer. There was a flood of kids of different ages that ran out of the school. The running was accompanied by jubilant cries and gushing laughter.

As Sheela walked out of the school with Pinky, she said to her, "My brother had his happy birthday yesterday. Mummy bought a cake. Then we put some candles on it. Many of my brother's friends had come. They all played cricket in the backyard while I helped mom make some spicy puris for them. It was so much fun."

Pinky said, "Hmm. My neighbour's son had his birthday last week. They had decorated the house with lights and had a party for all their relatives and us, their neighbours. There was kulfi, there was cake, they had everything!"

Sheela said, "When do you have your happy birthday?"

Pinky replied, "I... don't know."

Sheela's face had a 'I-knew-it' expression, "Aah! Even I don't have a happy birthday...Pooja and Ramya also don't have a happy birthday."

Pinky, the wiser one among the two said, "Maybe, girls don't have a happy birthday!"

Sheela exclaimed once again, "Aah!". Now she knew why Pinky topped all the exams, she was so wise!!


Pinky dropped out of school the next year. Sheela's parents sent her to a girls' school at the taluka level.

When Sheela went to submit her SSC form that her father had filled for her, she saw the Birthdate column... '20th July, 1987'.

She had a happy birthday! "Pinky wasn't as wise as I thought", Sheela thought as she handed the form to her teacher.

In her mind, she laughed at Pinky for being so unwise. The gender-based discrimination that had been going on in her family touched her thoughts nowhere ..


  1. "Maybe, girls don't have a happy birthday!" - I liked the most!
    fantastic - short and amazing as always!

  2. This is fantastic.... good work buddy... very well written and... completely unpredictable...
    excellent work

  3. this doesn't happen only in villages but in cities tooo.....nice way to put forth the reality...