“Maya, do you know what day it is today?” Ali asked.

Maya, engrossed in her homework, replied, “It’s the 5th of December.” Then suddenly she exclaimed, “Ali, it’s Daddy’s birthday today!”

“That’s exactly what I was about to tell you,” Ali responded with excitement.

“How could we forget such a special day? How careless of us!” Maya chided herself.

“Maya, we haven’t planned anything yet. We don’t have much time!” Ali regrated.

“It’s never too late, we still have time until dinner,” Maya reassured him.

Both of them were filled with determination to make their dad’s birthday memorable. They decided to gather some funds and remembered they had been saving their pocket money to buy comic books. However, even after pooling their money, they realised it wasn’t enough.

“Oh no, we can’t even afford a decent chocolate cake with this amount, let alone decorations,” Maya sighed in disappointment.

“But remember sis, Daddy likes simplicity, so we should make it as simple as we can. Let’s decorate the background with balloons only and simply order creamy pasta, Daddy’s favourite from any food service,” Ali expressed his thoughts.

“Hmm … you are right. I am thinking of baking the cake ourselves,” added Maya. “Now let’s see what’s in the pantry and what we need to get from the market and start working on our project for today.”

That evening, their parents had to attend a tea party, leaving the kids with ample time to experiment in the kitchen. Maya felt a bit nervous, but Ali encouraged her.

“Dear sister, have confidence in yourself. This is our last option, and we don’t have any other choice. Trust me, baking a cake isn’t as difficult as it seems.”

With Ali’s motivation, they started the task like scientists in a lab, creating a mess, but perfecting the batter.

After placing the cake in the oven, they cleaned up the kitchen. Nearly 30 minutes later, the cake emerged from the oven, and they both shouted with joy, “We did it!”

Everything was going perfectly according to their plan. As they decorated the drawing room, the doorbell rang. Quickly finishing up, Maya and Ali opened the door and upon seeing them, the kids hummed the birthday song together.

Their parents were surprised, even shocked, to learn that the kids had baked the cake themselves. It became a memorable day as they celebrated and experimented in the kitchen.

Later that night, Maya shared a lesson with Ali, “I learned something today, you know what?”

Ali, engrossed in his video game, replied, “What?”

Maya sat beside him and continued, “One should have a firm belief in oneself. Before baking the cake, we were afraid something would go wrong, but we did it. Sometimes, it’s only the first step that makes us afraid. Once we take that, everything becomes easy.”

Ali smiled in agreement with his sister’s wise words.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 20th, 2024

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