Chapter 2

One afternoon, Abhi returned with a birthday invitation from his friend Anand, who stayed across the road in a big bungalow. Anand’s father had a business of ready-made garments, and his mother Sunanda was a homemaker.

“What will I wear for the party today? I have worn all these clothes before. There is nothing new for me to wear.”  Immediately, he took out all the clothes from his cupboard.

“Why do you want to put on new clothes? Is it your birthday? Only the birthday boy gets to wear new clothes to look special. Friends wear good clothes but not new ones. Here, wear this for the party.”

Abhi was happy.  He was going to wear an outfit in which he looked like a hero, Mom would say.

Ajita had to accompany Abhi for the party at the insistence of her friend Sunanda. They reached the party on time.

The house was glittering with lights, and the party hall was very tastefully decorated with toys, streamers, balloons and flowers. A pleasant aroma filled the air. Children were dancing to the music. Ajita had never seen such a birthday party. The house showcased the wealth and richness of the family.

Abhi was enjoying every bit of the party. A huge cake was the center of attraction for every child. The table was crowded with gifts. Some small children were playing with expensive toys.

Sunanda greeted Ajita and took her inside, while the children enjoyed in the anteroom.

“You are always busy with your work. I never find you relaxing in your balcony. See, we last met in the grocery store, which was almost six months ago. Who will believe we both stay just across the road.”  Sunanda sat on an elegant couch in her living room, her crepe sari was looking gorgeous in the flashing light of a crystal chandelier.

Ajita hugged Sunanda and apologized. “How do you manage to get so much time? You have to look after a big house and a big family. Guests also keep dropping in.”

Ajita would get all information about Sunanda’s family through her mother-in-law, Jaya, who was a regular visitor at Sunanda’s house. Jaya told Ajita that Sunanda’s family was very friendly and social and they all loved to receive guests. To look after the house there were two full time domestic helpers. Sunanda kept busy in shopping, visiting parlors and gossiping.

Though the two ladies were poles apart in their attitudes, they shared a close affinity towards each other. Love has no boundaries.

After the party was over, Anand and his friends unpacked the gifts. There were lot of toys, games, outfits, watches and much more. All the friends were looking more excited than the recipient of those gifts.

Abhi was quite happy with his return gift, which was a box of chocolates. Abhi, although quite exhausted, described the party in detail to his father until Ajita forced him to go to sleep.

Ajita for the first time took a good look at her house. It appeared so very ordinary. Not a single piece matched with that of her rich friend’s house.  However, this was her home sweet home.

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