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Make A Wish

August 2019 Book Lifestyle

Make A Wish

Haruki Murakami, in his inimitable style, delivers this short story about a Japanese waitress, who, on her dull twentieth birthday, finds herself in a strange situation

By Aatika H. Jain

Birthday The girl is a short story that has been published to celebrate the 70th birthday of popular author Haruki Murakami. The story revolves around a young girl who makes a wish on her twentieth birthday, during her shift as a waitress at a restaurant in Tokyo one rainy night. The storyline, at first look, seems to be simple and unremarkable. However, in his signature style, Murakami leaves the readers pondering over the deeper issues of life. He gives them a chance to interpret the story in their own ways. The book, in a mere 48 pages, serves as a bite-sized serving of Murakami’s talent. The protagonist ends up working on Friday evening, which is also her twentieth birthday when her co-worker calls in sick. Her mundane shift takes an unexpected turn when the manager falls ill and instructs her to take dinner up to the reclusive owner of the restaurant.

Birthday Girl - by Haruki Murakami
Birthday Girl – by Haruki Murakami

The girl is granted a wish by the owner. The wish is never revealed to the reader, and you are left speculating what it could have been. Did the girl’s wish come true? You wonder what you would ask for if you were granted one. What do you want from your life? Even if you eventually got what you wished for, would your life be any better? Would it change who you truly are? Maybe that is the charm of this story.

It leaves so many questions on your mind, opening up a can of what-could-have-been. It also begs the question: if you have really achieved what you set out to do, how happier are you now? The story seems to say that our lives are a sum of what we wish to become, our yearnings and the spur-of-the-moment choices that we make. The dream of a perfect life might always remain elusive, the story suggests. Imperfection is the way of life and maybe, true happiness is learning to live with it, accepting the ‘dents’ in our lives along with the beauty of it. The simple story will leave you fascinated. If you scratch its surface, you will find yourself filled with myriad emotions and longings.

The open ending leaves it open to the reader’s imagination to find meaning, which is what makes it a great story. Each one of us might interpret it in our own unique ways. Each one of us could give our meaning to it, just like we do with our lives. Each one different, yet each one relevant.

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