Wednesday, February 25, 2009


"I'm going to Savandurga tomorrow for a trek with my friends" announced Gaurav.

There was momentary silence in the Kulkarni household. Everyone was waiting for someone else to begin. No one wanted to be the first to take the blame for starting the whole drama.

"So does that mean you are going to miss physics tuition tomorrow?" sister asked. Gaurav's silence was answer enough. This was promptly followed by a derisive snort, some rolling of the eyes and a few coughs from father, mother and sister respectively.

All knew what was to come next. There would be an explosion of fireworks from four big mouths. Each person would chip in to give very well meaning and very bitter advice to Gaurav. Gaurav would declare he was fed up of being controlled by everyone.

"But you just went to the farmhouse party last week"

"All my friends are going tomorrow. I cannot miss it"

Ah, using the friendly example to evoke feelings of emotional repent. Now mother and sister began to tread carefully, trying to modulate their voice so that they cannot be perceived as being unjust or sadistic. The situation was a little like India Pakistan fighting for Kashmir.... either a constant war or undercurrents of it other times. But no solution in sight.

"Friends or enemies, you cannot go. That’s it." Dad said.
So it was decided then. Once dad put his foot down, NO one could lift the handkerchief from below it.

Next Day Gaurav started using the next tactic in his bag of tricks. He began pitching for his upcoming birthday. "You didn’t let me go to the trek, at least get me a nice birthday present" he told amma, the softest target. Gaurav was really competent in using diplomacy.

"You spend so much on makeup. Have you ever considered making up with me by buying me a good birthday present?" Gaurav said to sister.

Gaurav knew such tricks won't work on his father though. Dad was an accomplished diplomat and was a role model for Gaurav in a weird sort of way. Probably he had pulled off similar tricks when he was a kid. But dad had one weakness : studies.
"I got 86/100 last maths exam. I need money for books and maths tuition, or else I may not get good marks in the coming mid terms"

Ah, he had touched a soft and wanting-to-help-at-last nerve.
"Little kiddo wants to buy books and study! He wants to do well in life!!
This birthday I'll will break the rules and give him a present." thought dad.

The birthday dawned.

Gaurav got a home made cake and few Tin Tin books from amma.

Gaurav got an original Reebok sweatshirt from sister.

Gaurav knew he would get nothing from dad for his birthday, but he was to get the money for his books and tuition today. That would be his biggest present!
Gaurav's dad came and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I have always thought giving presents on birthdays is a stupid idea. Look I never got presents on any of my birthday's ever (wife glared at him now). Other than from Amma of course..heh heh..Sure... Correct!!"

Whenever amma stared at him, he forget his lines and suddenly became very optimistic in general. "Er..anyway, this birthday I wanted to get you something."

Gaurav's throat became dry after hearing this in spite of the Pepsi he had drained a few moments ago.

"I remembered what you asked for sometime back!"
Gaurav also desperately tried to remember what he had asked for last time.

"See you always complain I don’t take any spontaneous actions! So I personally went to Manju sir and booked the maths tuitions for you!! " (When no one clapped, dad continued) Lucky chap! Not many people can afford tuitions for two subjects. Now you will definitely get super marks in the coming mid term!"

Mother and sister looked at dad with mock disbelief.
Gaurav looked at Dad with real stomach wrenching disbelief. He was screwed. This was the worst birthday had ever had. What a terrible sirprize!

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