“The month of May is just awful!” Khushi, whose birthday is on May 27th, told Sahana during our recent visit to Kolkata.
“It is your birthday in May. Why is it awful?” Sahana asked.
“Didiya mamma and dadai died in May.” Khushi replied. Those are my parents, her adopted grandparents. Sahana told her despite those terrible losses May is wonderful because the world got Khushi in the month of May.
Little Khushi is 9 years old today. Every time I see her I marvel at her maturity and poise at this young age. Even at this tender age she sees her mother’s struggle to give her a chance at a better life and most importantly, she recognizes it. She knows that they live in extreme poverty and she is resigned to the fact that she has to go without. She goes to a school where her peers come from middle class background. She is a popular child, kind and well liked by others so she gets a lot of invitations to her friends’ houses to play. When she goes to their houses she sees how the other half lives. She can never invite them to her house because she lives in a tiny room where the bed takes up the entire space. There is no space to even move around. Her mother cooks somehow in a tiny space in the same room. Water leaks when it rains. They have to put a bucket underneath and stay up at night if the storm is too bad. She knows all this. So she never asks for anything. I sent her some gifts through Amazon. I have asked Gouri to buy her a cake. Every year my parents celebrated her birthday at our house with cake, pizza and gifts. Last year was a year of loss but this year I want to acknowledge that the world is a better place because little Khushi is in it. But she does not know any of it yet. I called her mother to keep all this a secret. I asked Breshpati if they are celebrating Khushi’s birthday with their family. Breshpati said, ‘Na didi.’ Money is short and Khushi knows it. She told her mom she does not need anything but if it is not too much would her mother make her pizza? She LOVES pizza. That will be the celebration – home made pizza. They do not have an oven. The pizza will be made on stove top.
On this day, I hope you will join me in blessing this little girl and wishing her a wealth of happiness in her life. And success – whatever is her measure of it. I am so very happy to have her in my life.
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