Published on: 24/Feb/2021
With the weekend approaching, the hostel canteen was bubbling with gusto; finally, they can enjoy their holidays in merry. The cold Pune weather had made it mandatory for the boys to have their usual cup of tea at the canteen.
Just then a group of seven boys broke into the canteen room, elevating the general chaos of the place. They breezily rolled towards the server and ordered four piping tea cups with pakoras. Dakshit, the commander of the group, led them to an empty large table and stretched out his legs, relaxing in the chilly morning. Others took to their places and were chatting about their plans for the weekend.
Just then the youngest, Anuj broke out of his reverie and suddenly exclaimed: “Isn’t it Milind’s birthday tomorrow?” Everyone paused for a moment and turned their heads towards Milind. The shy boy shifted his legs sheepishly and grinned in affirmation. Rehan exclaimed, “So you’ll tell us after a year or what?” and the table erupted with laughter.
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Milind smiled back and said, “I didn’t know it was a big deal here, I would’ve told you all then”, he played the cool guy. Now the boys turned to their alpha Dakshit and he asked the most anticipated question, a question that was dreaded by the birthday boy himself!
“So, party kuthe? Where is the party tonight?”
“Tonight?”, his voice faltered.
“Yeah! What else? We’ll celebrate at 12” the boys raised their half-drunk cups of tea and conferred a toast upon Milind. Rehan, being the planner, jumped at the opportunity and directed everyone to come at 9 pm with “just juice” at Milind’s place. Poor Milind couldn’t even have a final say at the plan as the bell rang and everyone scuttled happily inside the hostel for their classes. Everyone got up, paid and left for their respective classes.
Milind felt the weight of the party crushing him down, he walked at a snail’s pace to his class and sat at the last bench. While the teacher was busy teaching them the effects of carbon monoxide, Milind quietly removed his diary and started computing his expenses for the month. He only had notes to throw a so-called ‘lavish’ party for his friends. ‘What if they want pizzas and burgers?’ ‘What if they don’t enjoy the party today?’ ‘What if they stop being friends with me?’ More such scary questions kept buzzing in his head, leading to a severe headache during the lecture.
After class, he rushed home quickly without hanging out at their usual spot. He freshened up and sat down staring at his wallet, taking out few bucks. ‘What could he buy from so little money?’ He thought to himself. With no answer, he plopped on his bed looking at the wall clock. Four hours to the party. With that, he slept off, without any worries for a while.
His phone rang.
He realised that he had slept off and his eyes darted towards the wall clock. It was only one hour to the party; he had slept for those three precious hours in which he had to get food for the party. He looked at his phone, he had received 2 missed calls from his cousin Shaunak. He called him back. Shaunak picked it and wished him an advanced happy birthday. Milind smiled and then suddenly he realised Shaunak could help him with his dilemma. He briefed his cousin on his problem and asked for a solution as soon as possible. ‘Food that is tasty, affordable and for the occasion!’Shaunak thought for a while and then squealed with excitement; he had finally found a local solution! LoveLocal of course. It was the best way to find the neighbourhood stores online. Everything from groceries and pharmacies to bakeries were listed on the platform. He just had to click a button and his order would arrive in no time.
And the party started, with much enthusiasm and a wide smile played across the birthday boy’s lips. He thought of the time when he did not know of a single good yet affordable bakery in Pune. If it was not for Shaunak’s suggestion to explore the online e-commerce platform, LoveLocal, he would not have been able to order pastries, cakes and snacks which were both scrumptious and reasonably priced.
He mentally made a note that he could also order on this app in case he ever needed to buy groceries for his mom, or medicines for his Aaji. He remembered feeling at ease, when the yummy noises brought him back to the party venue.
His friends all relished the food, as Milind and Shaunak beamed at the centre of the party. The party went on in full swing for the entire night and Milind’s smile never wore off!