Cheerful was the word of the day, she mused as she applied her Maybelline Colossal, she had bought while coming back from work. It should be the word everyday but it just resented making its presence felt every moment. She picked up her Galaxy Y to check for the fifth time to check if there were any messages from anyone. She picked up her bag, opened the zip and deposited the cell-phone in it.
Roshni Sharma was twenty two - had turned twenty two today. Birthdays either made her joyous or they made her cry. Sometimes she would laugh heartily during the day and let her tears seep into her pillow at night. Her birthdays did that to her. She had never had many cakes - only one or sometimes none. It wasn't anybody's fault. Neither their nor hers. She hadn't grown up, they had.
With her Belle bag on her arm, Roshni looked into the mirror to check her appearance and stepped out of the rented room after closing the door. 'Good Morning, Aunty,' She wished Mrs. Mehra who was the owner of the apartment she lived in as a paying guest. 'Morning, Roshni,' replied Mrs. Mehra replied back. 'Your cup of chai and omelette and toasts are on the kitchen counter.'
Every age and every birthday is supposed to special. It is supposed to be different and almost a new beginning. Some would say growing up was not easy but it was beautiful like life. Life was always beautiful just not pretty.
Roshni rushed out of the house and walked towards the nearby bus stop. It was only eight and the bus she took everyday to work wouldn't be here until eight twenty. She popped in her ear phones and scrolled to the T-s and allowed Taylor Swift to tell her what twenty-two was about. She was very cheesy that way - listening to songs and sometimes keeping some particular words in her mind to define herself or her day. Roshni was like any body else with expectations and disappointments. She wanted to be different and she wanted to make a difference. She wanted to be loved for her own self. She laughed at the little joys and was sorrowful at every next painful thing.
Stepping on the city bus, she took a seat in front by the window and looked at the buildings and trees and cars pass by as the song changed to something else. She stopped paying heed and lost herself in her thoughts for the twenty minute long ride. It was so strange - how they had all sworn - never to forget each other, to keep in touch when they had left school. And now, phone calls were rare and dates once so important long forgotten. She hadn't kept in touch either - well not with errant classmates. She had made decisions - decisions which had made difference. She had decided to move away from home - take up teaching to support herself while she took a break before doing her masters. It had changed the dynamics of her relationship between her family and herself. As much as her parents might have wanted to support her, they didn't understand why she had given up on her future. Roshni, on the other hand, saw this as a way to strengthen her future. Her mind raced from her parents to the conversation they had had today morning.
'Happy Birthday, Roshu.' She heard her mother's voice. 'Thank you, mumma.' She smiled into the cell-phone.'Papa wants to talk too,' her mother said. She heard the cell-phone being passed, she heard her father saying something inarticulate to her mom and then she heard his deep voice coming louder into her right ear. 'Hello,' she said. 'Happy Birthday, beta' Her father wished her. 'Thank you papa.' she replied back almost joyously. 'What are your plans today? Why don't you take the nine o' clock bus home? You know, we can celeb-.' She interrupted before she could form any beautiful and beguiling plans in her mind. 'Papa, it's a weekday. I have school.' 'But Roshu, can't you take an off? Anyways, that ain't really job. Really.' 'Sunita..We discussed this before.' She heard her mother's voice and then her father's. So, the phone was on loud speaker. So they had planned the whole thing. Either that or her mother was being just herself. Mother's heart after all. Roshni smiled and took a deep breath as if the new air down her lungs would conjure mental strength to calmly discuss and avoid this matter. 'Maa you know I don't like missing school for such stuff. If the teacher is careless, the students won't really benefit, will they?' She hoped that it was the right thing to say if not the real and true reason. 'That's correct, beta.' She heard her mother conceding with a defeated sigh. 'Thanks for understanding Maa. I'll try coming home this weekend, okay?' She tried to put the conversation to an end. 'Sure. Do you know Rhea is getting married?' Her mother said almost as if she was delivering a normal what-I-ate-for-lunch fact. 'What?' The news had made Roshni jump off her single bed. Riya was her first cousin and only a year older to her. She had been at home for a year after completing her MBA from a local college. 'Yeah. Since she wasn't going to study further and she hadn't any job.. Ramesh bhaiya decided it was time she settled down.' Her mumma told her. 'And what are your plans further, Roshu? I hope you are not going to go about this job for the rest of your life. It's a wastage of all that you've studied. As far as I remember, you had dreams larger than these.' At that Roshni had said an abrupt bye and ended the call.
Teaching primary students was just a way to calm herself - she didn't want to tell her parents this. The reminder of her dreams - no matter how gently and motherly had been harsh, not when she wasn't even sure about herself let alone her dreams.
As she saw the bus entering the lane in which MrsGraham's School was situated, she got up from her seat and went to the door. The bus stopped and she got off the foot board. Roshni knew it was going to be a long day - birthday or no birthday.
A/N - Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I hope you'll tell me honestly if you find something wrong or illogical about the update. :)