Updated: Sep 13
A middle-aged man meets a twelve-year-old boy, all set to celebrate his third birthday. Since it was his third birthday, the excited kid tells the man about his plans for this special day.
“An Extra Special Day” by P. C. Ravuri deals with the idea of life putting people in unexpected situations. Through the boy, the writer shows how things do not always go as planned, and sometimes, even circumstances cannot be blamed.
While I was walking in the park near my home as I do every evening, I saw a boy probably ten years of age resting on a bench dissolved in thoughts.
He looked worried, so I approached him before asking, “What is your name, son?”
As he turned to me, I continued, “Is everything alright?”
Looking at me for a moment, he smiled. A moment later, he responded, “My name is Rahul sir and everything is alright. I’m just waiting for my mother.”
I couldn’t help but ask, “Why are you waiting for your mother in a park?”
The boy nodded before stating, “She instructed me to wait here. On her way back from work, we planned to go shopping. This park is closer to her office and the store.”
Presuming she was late, I sat beside him before saying, “Don’t you worry. Maybe, she is stuck with work today. You could go shopping tomorrow.”
Now the boy’s face turned black. In a disappointing tone, he confessed, “Tomorrow is my third birthday.”
I was certain he was mistaken but the boy explained, “I was born on the 29th of February. So I only celebrate birthdays once every four years.”
Comprehending his calculation, I replied, “So, that is why it is just your third birthday.”
He blushed and for a moment, it felt like his sadness disappeared. I curiously asked him, “So what do you expect on your third birthday?”
After a moment of thought, he said, “I want to celebrate with my friends. I want it to be as memorable as possible.”
For a moment, both of us looked at each other before I enquired, “Don’t you feel bad that you could only celebrate your birthday once every four years?”
Without a moment of hesitation, he stated, “As my mother always says, no one can help it.”
I loved what he just said. Meanwhile, he continued, “So I celebrate each time by wearing a white dress along with a new pair of shoes, a belt, a watch and a wallet. Everything as to what I love!”
Unable to see him becoming sad, I reminded him, “Your mother will be here soon and you will get to buy all of them.”
I could see his excitement mounting up and intending to keep him occupied, I asked, “So what do you do on your birthday?”
The boy took a deep breath before saying, “I pray to God. Wear new clothes, shoes and everything. Distribute chocolates to my friends and sweets to my teachers. Invite my friends to my birthday party. The rest of my time, I eat my mother’s delicious food and play with my dad after I devour the cake he brings me.”
I felt bad for him because he gets to celebrate his birthday only once every four years. Meanwhile, the boy asked me, “Do you celebrate your birthday?”
To which I honestly didn’t want to lie. So I told him, “I used to in the past but now I no longer do. However, when I used to celebrate, I did it every year.”
The boy’s face glowed. He asked me curiously, “How did you celebrate your birthday?”
I couldn’t remember what I did. So instead of answering, I asked him, “Why don’t you celebrate your birthday on 28th February for non-leap years?”
Looking on the ground he answered, “My father still buys me a cake and my mother feeds me sweets but there is no party during those years.”
I felt happy since he was at least not complaining about what they didn’t give him. Finally, his mother did arrive and I bid him goodbye as she took him shopping.
Two days later, I met the boy in the same place during my evening walk. Walking towards him, I wished, “Belated Happy Birthday, son! Couldn’t wish you the last two days due to the heavy rain. How did you enjoy your birthday?”
Dejected, he replied, “Due to the rain, my school declared a holiday and my friends didn’t attend my birthday party!”
Feeling bad for him, I suggested, “You could celebrate any day after your birthday now that the weather is favourable.”
To which he was totally unwilling. Looking at me, he even stated, “I’d rather wait four more years!”
This flash fiction is available in paperback & ebook.