Aayu thrashed the doll. She fell over the concrete floor. She would have bled, if and only if she had a bloodline flowing through her plastic heart. But she didn’t. One of her arms fell off, right after the collision.
Aayu looked at the lifeless doll. She felt sorry for a moment, at the condition she was in. She stared back at Aayu and closed her eyes. It is rare to find dolls that close their eyes.
‘Did you forget her birthday again?’ said a voice over the phone, almost screaming.
‘I might have.’
‘What might have?’ yelled the voice again.
‘How shall I make up for this?’
‘Get her something, immediately.’ The voice was cut off.
Mayur put down the phone. He had just forgotten Aayu’s 17th birthday. It could have been worse, but Mayur was not supposed to forget her birthday. No, not Mayur.
He picked up a jacket at random, assembled his wallet and headed outside. He now had to get something for Aayu. Had he remembered this 48 hours earlier, a gift would not have been necessary. But now it was an absolute must.
Mayur walked into the first gift store that caught his eye. He was not sure if it was Hallmark or Archie’s. They all looked the same to him, always, especially with the red ribbon decoration. The flashy decoration of the store startled his sleepy eyes. They had been asleep for the past 48 hours. He clumsily went through the pieces on display. Anybody who would have noticed him at the exact moment would have guessed, correctly, that this young man of 19 had not been to a gift store in years.
No, he hadn’t. Aayu was an exception, an exception by accident.
Across the room lay a pretty little doll, wrapped up inside a transparent box. She was dressed up in a gown. It was red in color and had a variety of laces on, perfect for a ball. But it was not a ball she was going to go to.
Mayur picked the doll box. Apparantly the doll’s name was Kaya, as the back of the box read.
‘Fake Barbie,’ he uttered.
He turned around to walk to the counter, nearly bumped on a salesperson standing close by.
‘It’s not fake Barbie,’ she said. ‘It’s a new brand.’ It was likely she had heard him.
Mayur flashed an awkward smile. Fake Barbie was what he thought all the while. For him it was going to be fake Barbie, always.
‘Shall I gift wrap it?’ asked the lady at the counter.
Mayur was in a deep thought for a second.
‘No, don’t,’ he said.
Aayu didn’t like wrapped gifts.
The cashier handed back the change and also handed him a paper bag to place the doll. Go Green the bag read at the top corner in black ink. Mayur wasn’t bothered. He walked out without a single clue on how to approach Aayu.
The phone beeped. Mayur flashed across and read the message.
‘I’d guessed she would have been mad,’ he said as he dialed a number which he was able to recall perfectly out of memory.
After three rings, ‘Hi,’ said the voice over the phone.
‘I’m really sorry,’ Mayur said apologetically.
‘How are you going to make up to me?’ questioned the voice and paused. Tension rose.
‘For forgetting my birthday,’ the voice continued, sharply this time.
‘Aayu, I will make up. I will,’ said Mayur, more confident this time. ‘Let’s meet up on Friday at Roadhouse,’ he added.
The conversation was over. Mayur sighed.
Mayur had placed the doll at one corner of his room, still inside the bag. He picked up the bag, pulled the box and placed it over the table. Kaya, was written at the bottom right of the bag. She was tied into the box with plastic wires, visible through the transparent box.
‘Kaya,’ he uttered and looked blankly at the doll. He was sure she couldn’t have heard him.
But she could.
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