A forgotten birthday

Din Din was still drowsy when he woke up. Waking up in the morning was always an ordeal for him.

“Why does mom want me to wake up early today even though summer holidays have started,” he grumbled sleepily. After he had bathed himself in the huge stone basin behind the cave where he lived, he strolled into the kitchen where his mother was busy cooking up batches of delicious chocolate.

“Oh Din Din! Thank goodness you are awake,” she exclaimed from her place before the stove. “I have orders for a hundred berry chocolates for this evening for a wedding and I need you to pick fresh berries for me.”

“I will Mom, just as soon as I’ve had breakfast,” said Din Din lazily.

“Whose wedding is it, by the way,” asked Din Din as he seated himself at the stone table in the cave and grabbed an apple from the bowl before him.

“It’s a wedding in the Brontosaurus’ family. We are distantly related to them,” his mother replied. They’re having a mid-month summer wedding and the theme is berries,“ she smiled.

As Din Din chomped he glanced at the calendar on the cave wall. “What date is it today,” he wondered lazily. Din Din suddenly stiffened. “The 15th of June!” he thought to himself. “It’s my birthday today.”

Don, the youngest of the five brothers suddenly came into the kitchen. “Din Din, I’ll come with you to collect berries, please.”

Din Din snapped out of his reverie. “Uh…okay!”

“Be on your way Din Din,” said Mrs. Dee. “I need the berries before noon.” Din Din set off to the area of Fruit Park where all kinds of berries grew in profusion while Don skipped behind him.

“I can’t believe everyone has forgotten by birthday,” Din Din wondered in amazement. “Even if it’s a small celebration at home, mom always makes sure we cut a cake to celebrate. And none of my brothers’ have wished me!”

After Din Din had dropped off the baskets full of berries with his mother he announced, “I’m off to my garden. I have a lot of weeding to do today.” He waited for his mother or brothers to react but Mrs. Dee was too busy washing the berries and Derek, Dave and Don were already engrossed in a game of dominoes on the cave floor. At the garden too, the rows of beautiful bluebells and colourful dog flowers could not distract Din Din from his thoughts.

The summer sun beat down upon his great big body and he viciously pulled out the weeds which had begun to crop up, trying to lose himself in the task.

When he realized even his favourite hobby could not comfort him, he ambled towards the lakeside. “I’m sure my best friends, Delma and Dazel will remember my birthday.”

With hope in his heart, he skipped to the lake. Delma the dolphin was nowhere to be seen. Dell the beaver saw a dismal Din Din sitting at the lakeside in the afternoon sun.

“Hey buddy,” the cheeky beaver quipped. “Why are you looking so blue? It’s summer, no school! Time to party!”

Din Din winced at the word ‘party’. “Hi Dell,” he said smiling weakly. “I’m not blue! Just looking for Delma, actually.”

“Delma! The teachers’ pet is at the Aquatic School helping Olly the octopus sort out some stuff for summer classes,” grinned Dell.

“Oh! I see,” Din Din looked crest fallen. “Well, I think I’ll pop in at the pond to meet Dazel then.”

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Dazel and Swain are cleaning up the pond today and if you go you’ll end up helping out. I suggest you steer clear,” Dell said as he lazed on one of the rocks chewing on a stalk of wheat.

“Really,” Din Din thought he would cry but he controlled his tears and bid Dell a quick goodbye.

“Everyone has forgotten my birthday, even my friends,” Din Din thought to himself. His feet carried him towards the dark forest.

“I haven’t been here for ages,” Din Din wondered to himself. “I used to come here so often when I was lonely. But that was before I became such good friends with Dazel and Delma.”

The cool darkness of the canopy of the dark forest was a welcome respite from the glaring heat of the summer sun. The butterflies who were his good friends and resided in the forest were astonished to see the dinosaur after so long. “Hello stranger,” the colourful insects flitted around him and asked him all sorts of questions about what he had been up to all these months.

It was evening when finally Din Din ventured out from the depths of the dark forest. He lumbered back home as the sun was setting in the distant horizon. He was in no mood to go back to the lakeside to meet his friends and all he wanted to do was go to sleep.

When he reached home his parents were just returning from the wedding.

“Din Din,” his mother was glad to see him. “Where have you been all day, dear?” When Din Din did not reply she continued, “It was a perfect mid-summer wedding. I’ll remember this wedding because it’s just one day before your birthday Din Din.”

“What? What date is it today?” exclaimed Din Din with a start.

“It’s the fourteenth, dear,” said Mrs. Dee. “And it’s your birthday tomorrow on the 15th of June, isn’t it? I have planned a scrumptious breakfast of pancakes for us tomorrow morning and a tea time picnic which you can share with your friends at the lake.”

“Oh Mom,” cried Din Din as he enveloped his mother in a huge hug. “Thank you. You all love me after all!”

“Whatever do you mean, Din Din?” asked his father quizzically.

“I read the wrong date on the calendar this morning. I thought today was my birthday and that everyone had forgotten it,” Din Din explained ashamed.

“Why did you assume the worst, Din Din?” said his father. “Always give the benefit of doubt to the ones who love you. Most of the time there are negative thoughts in our minds, while the creatures around us don’t mean anything bad.”

“Yes, father. You are so right. I spent the whole day sulking and indulging in self-pity. If I had expressed my thoughts or confided in someone I would have found out that the error was made on my part,” Din Din admitted ruefully.

“Well then, get a good night’s sleep because you have a day of celebration ahead of you,” his father smiled as he patted his son on his broad back.

And Din Din had the most restful sleep of his life filled with beatific dreams of birthdays, cakes, parties and most of all his loved ones.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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