Aryanka put in the final strokes of colour and paused to see her handiwork. The edges were a little off, she thought and set down to correct it. Finally, after two hours of painstaking work, she stepped back and looked at the clock. It was almost eight o’clock. The bell would ring any moment now.
She called out to Radha, their full-time help, and ran to freshen up. If mom saw her in the school uniform, she’d be upset. Radha didi was lenient that way. It wasn’t that mom was strict. She was just… just particular about clothes and cleanliness and homework and stuff.
She quickly changed into a more comfortable pair of slacks and top. She could do that now – change clothes all by herself. Today, she had even brushed her hair all by herself.
She’d be mommy’s soul mate, as mommy often called her lovingly.
As soon as her mother walked in, Arya rushed into her arms. She handed over the card she had made and kissed her mom on the cheek.
Under the drawing of a crooked giraffe and a burst of stars and flowers that looked more like drunk squiggles scattered across the page, it said, ‘Happy Birthday, Mommy. Love U. Yours, forever, Aru.’