Culture & Art, Fictional Storytime

Melissa’s birthday

by Pascal Fianke & Marcel Fianke

It was Melissas birthday this week and Jelesh was really looking forward to it. Melissa was the best friend of Jelesh, since they went to school together three years ago. Jelesh was a happy child. Other people said he was spoiled but he thought, they were only jealous. He was 14 years old and had everything a child in Nepal could dream of. His parents were very rich, so he was allowed to go to school. He lived in an enormous house, where everyone had his own room, wore pretty and expensive clothes, had a lot of friends and could play three instruments. But his biggest passion was to write poetries.

On this day, Jelesh couldn´t concentrate during class in school. His thoughts were far away. He mused about which kind of present he should buy, because he wanted to choose the perfect gift for Melissa. Most of the time Jelesh wasn´t a daydreamer, but sometimes he couldn´t struggle against it.

When the school bell chimed, he packed his belongings and ran outside. It was a beautiful afternoon on this day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and there was a moderated breeze. A friend gave him a ride on his motorbike to the city, so he could go shopping.  As Jelesh walked along the streets, he stopped suddenly. He saw a boy in his age, waving a basket. When Jelesh looked at the boy, the boy stopped working and returned the look of Jelesh. The boy’s eyes were brown and had a sad look to them. His shorts had holes in them and he was very dirty. Jelesh felt pity for him, but simultaneously he thought that this is fate. There must be a reason, why some kids could visit school and other had to work…

“Don’t look that way on me, if you were something better. Just because you´re wearing your school uniform and your family is rich…” Jelesh felt caught and on the same way ashamed, because this street boy seemed to divined his thoughts. “It wasn´t my intention to annoy you”, Jelesh said hesitant.

“Do you think it´s easy to live and work on the streets? Do you think I wouldn´t go to school, if I had the possibility as well? Yeah, I´m a damned street kid. But I have the same needs like you. I want to wear also pretty clothes, live in a big house to have my own room, and want to have food as much as I can eat. Unfortunately I haven´t got all these things. I´m working the whole day on the street and wove baskets, until my hands become bloody. Even this isn´t a reason to stop my work. You would certainly like to stop if you only had a scratch, wouldn´t you? But my family is poor and we need every money we can get. In addition I hadn´t got food the last two days. Usually I got only a little bit in the evening. This is something you can´t imagine, can you?

Jelesh doesn´t know what he should answer. The boy faced away from him and continued his work. Jelesh knew, that it was pointless to discuss with the boy. So he moved on. During his walk he thought about the boy and the things he had said. Jelesh superiored again, why some kids could visit school and other had to work. Probably he committed a sin in his previous life. So it had to be definitely his own fault that he was born in a poor family. With this thoughts he reached Durbar Square.

When he arrived at Durbar Square he began his search for the perfect gift. It was very important to him that his present wasn´t a vanilla present he could buy everywhere in the streets. Melissa should notice, that he had made an effort. After a long search, he found a little shop with a great selection of beautiful paintings. “May I help you?” an old and wise man came to Jelesh. “I need a birthday present, but I don´t know, what I should buy.” The old man showed him a lot of different paintings and explained their different meanings to him.

There were paintings with cultural, spiritual and religious meanings. After a while, Jelesh had a favourite: “It´s a difficult decision, because I didn´t want to make a mistake. But I think I will take…”


Jelesh felt, how the ground under him was moving. At first he thought it was an earthquake, but then…


Jelesh!! Stand up lazy guy!! Stop dawdling! You will be late to work. The baskets won’t weave themselves!!

Jelesh was very sleepy but he opened his eyes and blinked against the sunlight shining through the window of his little room. He knew, that a long workday would await him. But he didn´t care. He was looking forward to the next night, when he could dream of his perfect little world again. That was so much better than reality. And he knew exactly, on which point the dream should begin. It was Melissas birthday this week, and he hadn´t got her a present.


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