Birthday Gift

I look at the calender hanging on the wall of my house. I realise that there are just two more days to go. Two more days until it is my daughter’s fifth birthday.

She has been asking for a teddy bear since long. But we can barely afford two meals a day. My wife tried getting a teddy bear from the garbage dump and patching the torn parts up, but I felt guilty in gifting that to my daughter.

Upon her birth, I had promised the infant that I had held in my arms that I would never let her face the hardships that I have faced. I would ensure that she gets the best of everything. So, even if we can barely afford two meals a day, we always ensure that she eats her fill first.

But this time, I am helpless and jobless. I walk out of my house for a job, again.

I go to various places; I go to garages, to shops, to malls, to hotels and I find no job. Disappointed, I sit on a park bench, watching the sunset and watching my hopes die.

Then, a sign catches my eye.

‘Job as an Entertainer available. Please contact the Main Office,’ it reads.

I rush to the Main Office and answer a few questions. I am given a rough idea of my monthly income and I finally have a job in a matter of an hour.

I go back home and tell my wife about my job. I tell her that I can finally gift my daughter a teddy bear. I tell her that I have her birthday planned.

* Two days later *

It’s way too hot in my uniform. I don’t understand if it’s because of the sweltering summer heat or if it’s going to be like this always.

I feel sweat forming on my face, on my arms, on my entire body.

But I can’t help it. I have a job to do, after all.

A while later, I see my daughter and my wife walking into the park. My daughter points at me. She runs and hugs me. I hold her hands in mine and I lift her up. She giggles.

And so do the numerous children surrounding me.

The teddy bear costume that I am in has worked its magic. The job to dress up as a cartoon character for the children in the park sure was a boon in disguise.

My daughter got her birthday gift that she had wished for; she got a huge, Dad-sized teddy bear.

And I felt happy and satisfied, two feelings which were more powerful than the heat and the weariness that I was feeling inside the costume.

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