Seven Birthdays

Seventh birthday cake


9:30 AM

Phone ringing, Kanishk sees the screen, its unknown number.

Kanishk: Hello?

Unknown: Hello Kanishk?

Kanishk: Yeah, who is it?

Unknown: It’s Latika here…

Kanishk visibly elated, his heart racing. It has been nearly two weeks since he has seen Latika in the college and was waiting for a way to talk to her.

Latika(continued): Happy birthday Kanishk.

Kanishk: Thank you so much but how you got to know it’s my birthday.

Latika: Kanika told me, I got your number from her.

Kanishk: Yeah she called me earlier.

Latika: Oh…anyways enjoy your birthday. See you tomorrow at the college.

Kanishk: Yeah. Thanks again for calling. See you. Bye.

Kanishk hangs up the call. His heart filled with euphoria. He is grinning ear to ear.



12:03 AM

Phone ringing. Kanishk looks at the screen. It’s Latika. He smiles and takes up the call.

Kanishk: Lati, you are a whole three minutes late. Rahul was the first one to call.

Latika: Sorry Kanu, next time I will be the first.

Kanishk: It’s okay sweetie, you are always forgiven.

Latika: So what’s the plan for today?

Kanishk: Let’s meet at the college and then we will plan something.



11:56 PM

Phone rings and Kanishk picks it up instantly.

Latika: Happy birthday baby.

Kanishk: Thanks baby but it is still four minutes to my birthday, you are a bit early.

Latika: I know, I wanted to be the first.

Kanishk(playfully): Why?

Latika: Because nobody loves you more than me.

Kanishk: Really?

Latika: I love my baby more than anyone.

Kanishk: I know baby but where is my gift?

Latika: What do you want?

Kanishk: You.

Latika: Me? Where and how?

Kanishk: Here at my room ASAP….and unwrapped.

Latika: Unwrapped? Naughty boy. Ok, see you there baby. I am coming.



12:25 AM

Kanishk waiting impatiently near the phone. He checks the mobile screen every next second. Phone rings. It’s Irfan. He talks to him.

12:45 AM.

He finally gives in, dials Latika. The number is busy. Kanishk is furious.

One minute passed. Phone rings, it’s Latika.

Kanishk(shouting): Whom you were talking?

Latika: Why are you shouting? It was my sister.

Kanishk: You were busy with your sister at this time? Really?

Latika: Yeah, I talk to her every night.

Kanishk: Really? You guys weren’t even on talking terms a few days ago. Anyways, aren’t you supposed to call me tonight?

Latika: Why?…one minute…oh my god. I am so sorry baby…I am really sorry. Happy birthday baby.

Kanishk: It’s ok. It doesn’t matter now. Now you sleep, it’s too late. Your entrance exams are coming up. Don’t waste your time and focus on your goals.

Latika: I know baby. Thanks. I am sleeping now. Bye goodnight.

Kanishk hangs up the call. Looks at the mobile screen. Unsure of her words, his heart knows something is amiss.

Ten minutes passed. He opens his Whatsapp. Finds Latika still online. He dials Latika, the number is busy.

He calls Latika again, this time number is ringing. Latika picks up.

Kanishk: Whom you were talking now?

Latika: A friend.

Kanishk: Who?

Latika: You don’t know her.

Kanishk: I know all your friends, tell me her name.

Latika: She is an old school friend. You don’t know her.

Kanishk: Ok, just tell me her name.

Latika: I can’t.

Kanishk: You can’t or you won’t.

Latika: I can’t tell you.

Kanishk: Why? I am your boyfriend goddammit. Just tell me the name. Who is he?

Latika: You don’t trust me.

Kanishk: What? I am just asking you the goddamn name. Tell me his name.

Latika: No. I can’t talk to you now. I will call you tomorrow. Bye goodnight.

Kanishk: Don’t you hang up the phone. I am only asking you the name. Just tell me the name. Then you can hang up the phone.

Latika: You don’t trust me. I am sleeping now.

Kanishk is on the verge of exploding.

Kanishk: Just tell me the name and then you can sleep all you want.

Latika: You are not reasonable at all. I don’t think we should talk anymore.

Kanishk: What do you mean by we shouldn’t talk anymore? I am just asking you a name, you moron.

Latika: If I tell you the name, we won’t date anymore.

Kanishk: I don’t care. Just tell me the bloody name.

Latika: I am tired. I am feeling sleeping. Bye.

Kanishk: You can sleep all you want. Just tell me the f***ing name.

Latika: No.

Kanishk: No? Seriously? You know what. Just tell me the name and I will not call you again. You can break up with me.

Latika: No. I am sleeping.

Kanishk: One more no. I will f***ing kill myself. I want the name.

Latika: Let me sleep. Bye…

Kanishk loses it completely.

Kanishk: Listen sweetie…are you choosing a name over your boyfriend? Is that name that important to you?

Latika: You are not my boyfriend anymore.

Kanishk: Yes, yes, yes. I don’t care. I just want the name.

Latika: Rehan!

A silence of 10 seconds.

Kanishk: Rehan? Rehan who?

Latika: That is not your concern.

Kanishk: Yes it is my concern. I want to know about him. I am your boyfriend.

Latika: You are not my boyfriend anymore. We are just friends now.

Kanishk: No, I am not your friend. I love you.

Latika: But I don’t love you.

Kanishk: You are only mad. Tomorrow you will call me and everything will be normal again.

Latika: Sorry Kanishk but I don’t love you anymore. I can’t see you tomorrow or later.

Kanishk: Why? Do you love anyone else?

No response.

Latika: I am sleeping bye.

Kanishk: Don’t hang up the phone. Just tell me. Is it Rehan?

Latika: Bye Kanishk.

Kanishk: Just tell me if you are dating him.

Latika: Yes, I am dating him.

Kanishk is heartbroken. He is in tears.

Kanishk: When this happened? What was my fault? Where I go wrong?

Latika: You love me too much.

Kanishk: Is that my fault?

Latika. Yes. I don’t want to feel bounded. I want to be free and your love suffocates me.

Kanishk: Is that so?

Latika: Yes that is how it is…Sorry.

Kanishk: It’s ok…I won’t bother you again…Bye…Take care…and thanks for the birthday gift…

Kanishk wants to hang up the call but the wet fingers do not have the strength to press the keys. He still hopes Latika will tell him that all this was a joke, a birthday prank played perfectly by her and she still loves him, only him.

Latika hangs up the call. Kanishk looks to the screen. It’s 3:50 AM. Last call duration 2 hrs 50 minutes.



10:30 AM

Phone ringing. It’s Latika.

Kanishk: Hello Latika.

Latika: Hi Kanishk. Happy birthday.

Kanishk: Thank you.

Latika: How are you?

Kanishk: I am okay. You?

Latika: Great.

Kanishk: How your MBA going?

Latika: Good.

Kanishk: Still dating Rehan?

Latika: Yes.

Kanishk: Does he love you more than me?

Latika: Nobody can love me more than you.

Kanishk: So why you are with him not me?

Latika: You still love me that much?

Kanishk: Yes and always…

Latika: Don’t…please don’t love me. You are a great guy…perhaps the best. Move on. You will definitely get someone who will love you as passionately as you love me.

Kanishk: I don’t want anyone but you.

Latika: Sorry Kanishk, I am not made for you. Don’t wait for me.

Kanishk: I will always wait for you.

Latika: I will not call you again. Please don’t wait for me. Goodbye…take care.

Latika hangs up the call. Kanishk tries again, she doesn’t pick up. After 30 minutes and 35 tries, her phone gets switched off.



08:00 PM.

Phone ringing. It’s Latika. Kanishk takes up the call.

Kanishk: Hello.

Latika: Hi Kanishk, Happy birthday.

Kanishk: Thank you Latika. How are you?

Latika: I am good. How are you?

Kanishk: I am great.

Latika: What’s birthday boy doing? So who called you first today?

Kanishk: Sonali.

Latika: Yeah, I saw your Facebook photos. She is very pretty.

Kanishk: We are getting engaged next month.

Latika: Oh…that’s nice. You look happy with her.

Kanishk: Yes I am happy.

Latika: More than when you were with me?

Kanishk: No, not that happy but at least I won’t have my heart broken for loving someone too much.

Latika: I am sorry. I treated you really bad. You didn’t deserve so.

Kanishk: It’s ok. It was my fault. I should have noted that I am strangling you with my love.

Latika: No, it was not your fault. I was wrong. Sometimes, we realize the true value of something when we lose it.

Kanishk: Yeah…Can I expect your call on my next birthday to remind me that I am one more year older?

Both forced their laughs.

Latika: Yeah maybe.

Kanishk: Bye…Take care Lati

Latika: Yeah bye bab…Kanishk…



02:00 AM.

Phone rings. A message from an unknown number.

“Happy Birthday”