Gift

Little Sanjay knew what went on behind the closed door. That was why it was closed. His parents never closed the door otherwise.

Sometimes he’d stand and listen to the muffled voices, whispering to each other urgently. And he’d move away when the voices went back to normal. Because he knew that when that happened, they’d be taking a pause in their conspiring and they’d open the door.

They were planning his next gift, you see. They would be tired and haggard when they opened the door, but Sanjay knew it was because they loved him so much that they put everything they had into discussing his gift. Sometimes the voices got raised, and stayed that way for a while, and Sanjay would grin at their pretension of fighting, just because they didn’t want him to suspect anything.

And if the discussions went on too long, Sanjay would be very forgiving, and he’d just tell them what he wanted. They’d look at each other, a sad look that betrayed their shame at not having thought of the right gift.

And by evening, the gift would be on Sanjay’s bed (his parent would never make a big fuss about giving it – they knew it was the gift that mattered), and he’d be playing with it, or reading it, or simply admiring it, while his parents retired to their room again, to discuss the next one.