Monday 13 July 2020

The Disastrous Birthday : A Short Story on Active Listening.

I have been working on creating content for a school project and decided to pen a short story for children, to teach them the importance of active listening. This story is written for children between the age group of 9-13.

Story: The Disastrous Birthday.

Rina was a girl of eight. She was an intelligent and hardworking girl. She scored well in her studies and her parents were proud of her.
The only problem was, she had two weaknesses. The first was she was addicted to video games. The second was that she would never listen properly to anyone.
Sometimes, she would do the wrong homework at school because she would not listen to the teachers. Her friends were annoyed with her because she would never listen to them when they spoke to her. However, they still liked her because of her wit and helping nature.
At home, Rina spent hours playing her video games. Her father would sternly tell her to finish her homework, before playing. Being a smart girl, she would quickly finish her homework and sit down with her tablet. While she began to play, she would go deaf to what was happening around her. Her mother kept Rina to be a better listener. She would say,
“Rina, one day you are going to get into real trouble because you don’t listen!” But Rina just laughed it off and continued playing her video games.
Soon, what her mother predicted did happen.
It was two days before Rina’s birthday and she was excited. Her mother had decided to throw a small party for Rina and they had already begun to decorate their house. The menu was ready and the cake was ordered too.  Rina’s father agreed to pick up the freshly baked cake
from the famous Ramlal’s pastry shop, because it was almost two miles from their house. It was designed with a Chota Bheem theme, because he was Rina’s favourite cartoon character.
But, on the morning of her birthday, there was bad news waiting for Rina. Mr. Ramlal called her and apologized, that he had an emergency at home.
“Sorry ma’am, we have shut our store today, we will be unable to bake your order for you. Please forgive us ma’am. Have a good birthday!” 
Mr. Ramlal sounded really distressed. Rina felt sorry for him, although she was bitterly disappointed.
"What do we do now?" she wailed after she hung up the phone. "The only other cake shop that sells birthday cakes needs three days advance orders!”
“Don’t worry darling, I’ll bake a marvelous cake for you.” said her mother. “But on the condition that you must help me with the work, too”
Rina was overjoyed. She knew that her mom was an excellent baker and all her friends loved her mother’s pastries.
“Yes, mom!” she shrieked in joy and ran to give her mother a tight hug.
An hour before the party was to begin, the chocolate cake batter was perfectly mixed with all the ingredients and poured into the baking bowl.
Wiping her hands on a dish towel, Rina’s mother gave a happy sigh and told Rina, 
"It’s all done. All we have to do now is to bake it."
She set the oven to the required temperature, cleaned the kitchen counter and decided to have a shower. Before going to her room, she told Rina,
“Rina, I will take some time to return to the kitchen. I need to rest for a while, before getting dressed. I’ve been working all day to get the dishes ready on time. Switch off the oven after the cake is done.”
But Rina was already on her way to her own room.
“Rina, listen. Switch off the oven exactly after 40 minutes, okay?” Her mother told her again.
“Okay,” yelled Rina from her room, already engrossed in her video game.
I still have one hour to wear my new dress and be ready for the party, she told herself. 
Just then, Rina’s mother called her again and reminded her to switch the oven off after 40 minutes, before she went to her room. 
"Yeah," murmured Rina, as she negotiated a brilliant curve on her racing game.
Can you guess what happened then?
Yes, you're right. Rina was so engrossed in her game, that she did not listen to what her mother had told her. One hour later, she was still hurriedly getting dressed when her friends began to arrive.
She ran out to greet them, when the sweetish, sickly smell assaulted her nostrils. What had her mother told her? Wasn't it something about her cake?
She rushed to the kitchen, but alas, it was too late. Her cake was completely burnt to a black mess.
It was the first birthday in her life that Rina had no cake to cut. Although there were many other yummy dishes to serve her guests, it was odd for everyone to have no birthday cake, in a birthday party.  They tried to cheer Rina up by singing the birthday song twice and even joked about it, but Rina’s eyes were swollen and her face was stained with tears. She put on a brave smile after sometime, but her heart was heavy. Nothing could make her forgive herself for not listening to her mother.
As for her mother, she did not say a word of disapproval to Rina. She knew that Rina had learnt her lesson well, that day.
Rina was cured of both her weaknesses that fateful day.


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