Tara glanced down at her to-do list and frowned. It said:
Finish holiday homework
Go to the store to bring food for Rocket
Wash the dishes
Make a batch of cookies
Go to art classes
She couldn’t believe it was the day before New Year! It was the second last day of her winter vacation. She had thought that her vacations would go so merrily and she’d have so much fun. But now, she felt grouchy and grumpy. All her friends were outside, playing football, she wanted to play with them too, but mom shook her head and told her she had to finish all the tasks on her to-do list. Ugh. She decided not to dally further and complete all her tasks before the day got over. She wouldn’t be able to play then.
She re-read the list. Her family was having a new year party in the evening and she was making a batch of cookies for it. She decided to make the cookies now. No, chocolate chip cookies would be great. Cookies were fun and she knew how to make cookies like any pro. She put on her apron, took a big bowl and started putting all the ingredients together while humming a chirpy tune. She took the flour, baking soda and sugar and mixed them all together. In another bowl, she took butter, eggs, vanilla extract and mixed them as well. Then she mixed the ingredients of two bowls. Finally, she added the most important ingredient, chocolate chips! Yum. She put them in generously and kneaded the dough. She sniffed it. “Smells delicious!” she said to herself and laid the cookies on a baking sheet and put the tray into the oven.
Then, she pondered over what to do. The next most fun activity was to go to art classes but the art classes were scheduled at two o’ clock. It was only 10:30 right now. She looked over at the fridge where she had stuck her to-do list. It’s my turn to wash the dishes today; oh no! Only two days left for the holidays and I’ve still got to finish math and history homework; oh no! Her dog Rocket’s food has got finished; oh no! Tara’s mind boggled. She didn’t know what to do!
She decided that she’d better sit and complete her homework. She took off her apron and took out her books and sat down on the kitchen table to finish her homework. For the next five minutes, she chewed the end of her pencil and tried to figure out a hard math problem. Her big brother Jai smelled the cookies and was attracted to the kitchen like a magnet. He peeked into the kitchen and saw the cookies baking in the oven. “Hey, when are those cookies going to bake?” he asked. “Those are not for you, okay, those are for the new year’s party. Don’t touch them!” cried Tara. She ran and caught hold of him. “Please don’t eat them,” she said, looking at her brother with pleading eyes. “Okay, okay,” he said shaking her off. “But I’ll eat ten of them.” He walked off and started playing some heavy metal music at a high volume. Tara put her hands over her ears and groaned. “Ten cookies! I should have known. I only made three per person!” she sat down and tried to concentrate. Her younger brother Laksh strolled into the kitchen. Rocket followed him, yapping at his heels “Rocket is hungry,” he said. “And I am hungry too. Can I eat those cookies? Rocket likes cookies too,” he said. “No!” Tara practically screamed. “Don’t eat them, Laksh. And don’t even try giving one to rocket. He’ll get sick! Chocolate is not good for dogs.” “Why are you shouting? I was just asking,” said Laksh and went away with Rocket.
Tara started to complain. “Not only I have to complete all my tasks, but I also have these two pesky, annoying brothers to deal with.” She kicked at a chair in frustration. “Maybe I should just go and do something else. My homework will have to wait.” She took a deep breath and tried to get calm. “I’ll just go and get some food for Rocket.” She went and told mom and got the money, put on her shoes and made her way to the door. She decided to take Rocket along with her, so he could have his walk. Laksh trudged behind her and asked, “can I come too? I’m getting bored at home.” “Okay, but please don’t get me into any trouble,” said Tara. She put Rocket on his leash and went outside. As they passed the playground, Tara saw her friends Naina and Eshan playing badminton. “Come on, join us,” they shouted when they saw Tara. Tara waved at them and said, “Nah, got some work to do,” and jogged on.
They reached the store and made their way to pet food aisle. Tara grabbed the blue and white striped dog food packet from the shelf and as soon as she did this, she heard a CLANK CRASH THUD! She spun around and saw Rocket trying to climb on the shelves and all the tin cans of pet food scattered on the ground, some of them rolling away. “Aah!” screamed Laksh, as a can dropped on his foot. A clerk came running and freaked out and started shouting. Tara got some nasty stares from people around her. “Rocket! Behave yourself.” She held up her hands like a traffic policeman. “Don’t worry, I’ll clean this up. And please be quiet,” she told the clerk who was still shouting. She thrust Rocket’s leash into Laksh’s hand and picked up all the cans and put them into their places. After she was done, she gave a scornful look to Rocket and quickly paid the money for his food and got out of the store.
They went home, Tara muttering and fuming under her breath while Laksh and Rocket were running ahead of her. Tara’s mum opened the door and Tara slammed it behind her. Then she gasped in horror. She smelt something burning! Laksh and Rocket were sniffing the air too. They all ran to the kitchen and saw Jai leaning over the oven with his hand on his hips. “What happened Jai? Did the cookies burn? “Yeah. I saved them in time or they may have turned to black ash. I don’t mind eating burnt cookies though, they are all right,” Jai took a bite from one cookie. “Hmmm not bad,” he announced. Tara’s mom came to her and said, “It’s okay Tara, we’ll make another batch.” Tara was too stunned to answer.
She retreated to her room and plugged in her earphones and put on her favourite song. Then she sat on her bed with her history book in her hand and started flipping through it. But soon, she lost concentration and started moving her head to the tune of the music and started singing along, and then she jumped up from her bed and started dancing and twirling around the room. “Tara, lunch’s ready!” her mom called her. But she was too busy shimmying to the music to hear her. Her dad popped his head into her room. “Come on pop star, lunch is ready,” he said. Tara took off her earphones, “Huh?” “Don’t you want to eat?” asked dad, “come quick,” he said. She and her dad rushed to the kitchen. Jai and Laksh were already sitting there. Tara apologised and sat down to eat her rice and curry. Throughout the meal, Laksh talked with his mouth full and Tara constantly reminded him to not talk while eating. Rocket quickly gulped down his food and when nobody was looking, Tara gave him the rest of her curry. That’s when she looked at the clock and remembered her tasks.
She had only ten minutes before her drawing classes would start. She quickly took the dishes, put them in the sink and washed them. “Eat quickly, or I’ll get late!” she told her brothers. “I’ve to reach my drawing class at 2 pm!” She placed the dishes on their racks without caring to rinse the soapy water off them. She flew around the house looking for her colour pencils and drawing book. “I’m sure I kept them here somewhere,” she said as she rummaged around her room. “Ease down, Tara,” said her mom. She found her art supplies for her and packed her art class bag. “Thank you, mommy,” she gave her mom a quick hug and hurried down the street.
Tara ran as fast as she could. The classes were only two blocks away, but she still got ten minutes late. The class had already started. “Sorry ma’am, I’m late,” she apologised to the old Mrs. Smith, her teacher. Some girls at the back of the class looked at her and smirked. Tara realised that she looked like a joker. Her hair was really messy and standing upright on her head. And there was also some curry smeared on her face. “Come in, don’t stand there. We’re doing still life today,” said Mrs. Smith. Tara quickly wiped her face with the back of her hand and sat down at her desk. Everyone was drawing the fruit basket that Mrs. Smith had placed on a table. She took out her pouch and started sketching. The rest of her class went awful. No matter what she did, her shapes came out wrong and finally after finishing the drawing, and taking out her paints, she realised that she had forgotten her brushes at home and had to borrow them. After she finished the painting, (which turned out okay) she accidentally spilled the water in her bowl onto her painting, ruining it.
She felt really bad as she walked back to her house after class. Her day had gone so badly. She had been in a bitter mood the whole day and hadn’t had any fun. She was really sad when she reached home. “What happened, Tara?” asked mom. “Why the glum face?” Tara broke down and started sobbing, “mom, this has been such a bad day, no matter what I do, some disaster happens! First, that disaster at the store, then my cookies gets burnt and now my art piece got ruined. Now I have to make another batch of cookies and finish my homework. And I really wanted to play today.” “I know Tara, sometimes our day goes perfectly, and sometimes it is full of mishaps. The best thing to do is learn from it and make the best out of it,” Tara’s mom hugged her and said, “come on get up, we have a lot of work to do.” Tara smiled and wiped her tears away. While mom decorated the house with streamers, dad helped Tara make the cookies. Soon a tasty smell wafted through the kitchen. “The cookies are ready!” Tara announced. Tara grabbed a plate to put the cookies on. “Uh, you might want to wash the plate before using it,” said dad. Tara gave him a puzzled look and then laughed remembering how she had left the half washed plates before rushing off to class. She washed them all and Laksh helped her by wiping them. Then they both set the table with the delicious hot cookies and lemonade. “Done-dana-done!” said Tara.
Then she remembered her homework. She sat on the kitchen table again, chewing her pencil. “Need any help?” asked Jai. “Sure, thanks,” answered Tara. With Jai’s help, Tara finished her homework in record time. As there were 2 more hours left before the party would start, so Tara’s mom let her go down to play. Tara and her friends, Naina and Eshan rode their bicycles, while Rocket ran along with them giving shrill barks of joy and of course, Tara had fun at her party eating cookies and lemonade and dancing along the music. “This has been the best new year ever,” said Naina. Tara smiled and comically rolled her eyes.