Because gifting is about love, not money
Nandini was desperate. She turned the contents of her little purse upside-down on her bed. Frantically, she counted the coins that tumbled out. She had known it already, but now, it was confirmed. She didn't have enough.
"Mamma," she pleaded, going in to her mother's study. "Mamma, please, I need some money."
Her mother was always irritable when interrupted at her writing. As a rule, the girls and their father stayed out of her study. If she went there, it meant she was concentrating on her book and didn't want to be disturbed.
"I gave you some yesterday."
"I added it to my savings and bought the shoes. Now I have only some small change left. I can't buy Mridula a good birthday present."
Seeing that Nandini was really upset, her Mom thawed a bit. "Well, Nandini, you'll have to think up some other way of giving her a gift. A gift doesn't necessarily mean money."
"Nope. A gift means love. Now, run away and let me write."
Back in her bedroom, Nandini thought. A gift meant love, not money. She had to show her love for her best friend, not spend money on her.
Slowly, a smile spread across Nandini's face. She had the answer.
The answer lay in her hobby.
She loved art. She loved painting, drawing and making collages.
She'd give Mridula a unique book celebrating their friendship. A book she made herself.
Could she do it?
There were a couple of days to go. She'd do it.
To start with, she logged on to WdC and watched Jessiboo 's Happiness Box Project video. "Note: Video I made of Happiness Box 2020's scrapb...". The video gave her some ideas for creative layout, and how to arrange pages attractively.
She then got out her art materials and set to work.
And she worked.
"NANDINI! Your dinner is getting cold!"
"Just finishing this page, Mamma!"
"You've been working there for hours. What are you up to?"
"I just have a little more to go, but I'll be ready on time," she remarked, as she emerged from her room and headed to the dining table. Her parents and sister had almost finished eating. Her Dad put her dinner in the microwave oven to re-heat.
As she waited, she told them of the book she was making. And when her Dad handed her her plate, she ate and continued to talk with her mouth full, she was so excited about how it was turning out. However, she refused to show her family the book till it was finished.
It was finished just in time for the birthday party. All of them had been invited - Nandini, her younger sister Natasha and their parents. They were all dressed and ready to go when she showed it to them with a flourish.
The family stared. It was a magnificent creation. Drawings, sketches, little poems documenting everything the two best friends had shared. The group hug the family now gave Nandini was heartfelt and spontaneous.
There were a lot more hugs from Mridula, and a few tears of joy.
"I'm sorry, but may I have the book back, please?" Nandini asked.
"Have it back, why?" Mridula demanded. "You gave it to me."
"I know. Just for a minute. I'll quickly add in a sketch of your face as you look at it. That'll make it up-to-date!"