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Aanya’s fifth birthday was coming up. Sanjana looked at her lovingly, not believing how fast she had grown. She was having her breakfast now, talking non-stop about her friend who would not share eraser with her. She was in her school dress, neat and prim, and looking so mature and old. Sanjana had asked Aanya what she wanted to do for her birthday and Aanya had asked her with expectant eyes to take her on a trip. That kept Sanjana thinking. She will have to take a leave with just less than fifteen days’ notice. She had to make Akhil accept to take leave, too. There was shopping, packing and a lot of things.
Aanya was still looking expectantly at Sanjana and Sanjana found herself saying yes. She did not know how she would manage it, but she had to. They had never gone on a trip since after their honeymoon owing to the ever-growing business of Akhil. She had asked for a trip for Aanya’s sake for a lot many times, but Akhil always told her that once the business was running smoothly he could leave it on someone’s shoulders and they can go on a vacation. That “running smooth” part had never come.
This year, she decided to force Akhil to take a break. She called him immediately after dropping Aanya at school. He was busy as usual and requested to call an hour later. She went to office and waited for three hours and on receiving no call, she called him back. When he tried to tell her that he was still busy, she told him to spare five minutes for her immediately. In an irritated tone, he accepted and asked her what the matter was. Sanjana cut the chase and told him immediately about the trip. His reaction as expected was that of exasperation. How could he leave his business like that and come, he is busy and she had to know that, how did she promise Aanya that they would go on a trip without consulting him? For everything, Sanjana patiently calmed him down telling him that it was a long weekend during Aanya’s birthday. She even said that five days before Aanya’s birthday, her birthday was going to fall, so he can give that time to them this way. Sanjana told Akhil that she would look after everything, he only needed to be there.
After a lot more convincing and persuasion, Akhil accepted. Sanjana was overwhelmed. Finally, they were going on a trip. After coming home, she took Aanya into her hands and danced for a while and even Aanya became so happy that they were finally going to go on a trip.
Sanjana did all the preparation for the trip, she booked the tickets, hotel reservations, tickets and passes for all the best things to do, shopping, packing, and everything. She was granted leave at the office, and she kept reminding Akhil about the days to go for the trip. The excitement in the house was palpable. There was no saying as to who was more excited about the trip, Aanya or Sanjana!
The plan was to go on 10th which was her birthday, and come back after 20th. 15th was Aanya’s birthday. Her mother came three days before their trip to give Aanya’s gift to her and to help Sanjana with the packing. While Sanjana was talking to her mother, her phone rang. It was Akhil. With a smile, she took his call. But, whatever he was saying from the other side made Sanjana’s face falter. By the time, she cut his call, Sanjana was fuming with anger.
Sanjana’s mother asked her what the matter was. Still fuming, Sanjana told her that Akhil had cancelled the trip because of some client who was coming during those ten days. He was a major client and Akhil had to be there.
Sanjana’s mother tried to console Sanjana. She told her that even Sanjana’s father had cancelled on numerous trips and she had never been on any trip since she her childhood. Sanjana never realized this. Sanjana had gone on college trips and on her honeymoon, but her mother had never been anywhere. She wondered how she never noticed this.
After a while, her mother left. Sanjana did not even have the heart to break the news to Aanya. She slept beside Aanya hugging her. Akhil had come very late into the night after both of them slept. Even the next day, Akhil came late telling her that the preparation for client’s visit was rampant. Sanjana was not finding the right words to break the news to Aanya. She did not even like to cancel the expensive tickets and hotel reservations. The disappointment was too big. Somewhere she kept hoping that Akhil would come and tell her that they would go.
Finally, on tenth, at midnight, Sanjana was tossing in her sleep not able to sleep due to the disappointment of her trip getting cancelled. The clock struck 12 and with that her phone rang. It was her mom. She picked up the phone and her mom yelled, “Happy Birthday!” She spoke for ten more minutes and kept off the call. She waited for four more hours. Akhil had come home somewhere at two but hadn’t wished her. Her dad also hadn’t called her. Sanjana reflecting deeply on this, hurriedly took the phone at four in the morning and rang up to a number. She spoke excitedly for half an hour with a gleam in her eyes and cut the call.
When she woke up in the morning, Sanjana saw that Akhil was not at home. Good for her. At top speed she started packing her suitcases, the work that she had left halfway. The flight was at 9 in the night and she decided to go on the trip, even if Akhil was not going to come.
Aanya woke up late and wished her mother a happy birthday. By 6 in the evening, both of them got ready and were ready to go. She got into a cab and drove directly to the airport with just one stop in between. A person got into their car with luggage and Sanjana’s face glowed seeing the person all ready to go with her. Even Aanya seemed excited!
While at the airport, she messaged to Akhil – “I am going on the trip! See you after twentieth, happy client’s meeting!”
Akhil’s reply was instantaneous – “Trip? Are you kidding with me Sanjana? Are you going on the trip alone?”
Sanjana replied, “Oh no, not alone, I am taking Aanya with me and along with us, there is another person who is really excited to be with us on this trip, unlike you!”
“Who the hell is that? What are you saying Sanjana?”
The boarding announcement was made, Sanjana had to go. She messaged him,
“Got to go, the announcement is made. By the way, today is my birthday. Thanks for not wishing me.”
With that she switched off her phone. She was not going to switch it on till she reached back home. With a big wide smile, she took Aanya’s hand into one of hers’. Into the other hand she took her mother’s hand and told her, “Ma, I am glad that both your and Aanya’s first ever trip, first flight experience, first really happy time is with me. Let’s have fun, mom, let us three girls rock it!” The tears in her mother’s eyes told her all the things she could not say through her lips. They were going to have an amazing time, Sanjana knew it!
P.S : Something to add to your bucket list – plan a trip with your mother!