There’s something amazing about my birthdays .They more or less coincide with the calendar, so when it’s new year in the calendar, it’s also new year in my life. Yeah, I’m a January born! So unlike kids who went, “When’s my birthday this year mommy?” at every other kid’s birthday, mine was always right at the beginning. There’s no better way for a year to start than with a birthday of your own!
Now it is a different matter altogether that I have never really ‘felt my age’. The last age I remember clearly feeling was 25. I used to await my 25th birthday excitedly as the true rite of passage into adulthood and the grown-up-world. Even though you are officially an adult since the age of 18, I don’t think that quite holds in our family circles. Twenty five on the other hand is respectable enough for your opinions to merit more attention. The years since did not seem to make any difference to the status achieved on the 25th milestone and have passed by as uneventfully as the passing seasons. In that sense, 30 seemed to be the next milestone year. Or was it?
The weeks leading up to the milestone day were a curious mix of trepidation and incredulity.An alien space ship had suddenly appeared and hovered menacingly over my mind’s sky .It bore the sign “30” in big neon lights on its forehead and intoned to me , “Awaiting clearance for landing “ . “Roger that. Need time for preparing the mind for touchdown “, I tried biding time wearily. But then, when has time slowed down to accommodate my willingness for age change! Meanwhile the day called for celebrations and that I was game for any time!
A grand privilege enjoyed by people in this part of the world is that we have not one but two birthdays! One on the date of birth as the rest of the world, and one based on our birth star per astrology. In fact the second one is of more import for us and this year it was just 2 days before my actual D.O.B. Right on this day arrived my first birthday gift of all, from my dear younger brother. So what if he was also the main competition for my parents ‘attention throughout childhood and we fought innumerable battles in good old sibling rivalry , we also grew up to be the most loving brother-sister duos of all time . Suffice it to say, it was the most heart warming feeling to get this special birthday gift from him and it not only made the day for me, but it will invariably light me up with a smile at its mere memory though out the year. Along with a lovely dress and a tiny li’l book of birthday quotes, came the cutest birthday card that had pages adorned with pictures of us from our early childhood that climaxed with a picture from my pre wedding evening and a big “I love you Sis”. It now stands proudly on my drawing room cupboard filling my home with cheer unbound! I love you back to bits, brother; you are such a precious part of my life, my dearest!!
My husband meanwhile, coached by myself on gifting options by way of a casual gift shop visit the prior week where I Ooh-ed and Aah-ed at their curio collections and remarked loudly about my love for cute greeting cards , was not to be left behind ! This step had to be taken as I have quite the serious ,matter-of-fact person image with my husband and so had to be reminded that I am also just as faint-hearted when it comes to all things pretty . Things started rolling the morning of my birth-star-day with my newspaper-hungry husband asking me to, “Get the newspaper dear”, while he held back pseudo-casually. A lovely birthday card came for me with the papers that day. I wonder to this day, who in the newspaper office dares call me “darling wife”! Humph!
Mid night birthday wishes are something I am infamous for shunning. I love my beauty sleep so much that history states an instance where I even kept my mobile in silence during a birthday eve and slept through it! Of course when love comes into life, it also turns some of our pig headedness on its head. What’s a birthday when you don’t sit up with your soul mate, count the hours till the stroke of mid night and then indulge in a hearty birthday kiss? When midnight turned into my 30th year of existence, I was happily beaming into my husband’s face and rejoicing at the joy of having found each other in this big bad world – two people whose hearts beat together since that first meeting .If my narration is mushy by now, you should forgive and look the other way for a minute while I try to lose my stupid grin and then I shall tell you the remainder of the story in a bit.
Out came a procession of small gifts – each one something I had mentioned most probably in passing, fancies and little wishes of mine .They had all transformed into little beautiful gifts for me. A charming album to be filled with photos from our travels, a small mp3 player to fill music in my days , the movie CD of an obscure Malayalam movie I have been wanting to watch and had looked for everywhere but in vain . The list is topped by a serene watch we shopped for together. On Republic Day , my date of birth, when I get a holiday every time to celebrate my birthday , we also celebrate my parents wedding anniversary .It’s always a day of double joy in my household as we reminisce two wonderful beginnings on this day – that of my parents marital life and my own birth in the subsequent year. Being away from home this year, my brother and I had sent our presents online to our parents – a bouquet of the loveliest pink roses to mark the beauty of the day and an anniversary cake to savour the deliciousness of our togetherness. Distances can well nigh diminish the joy of our hearts as we all celebrate together!
Back in Bangalore, the two of us made our way to one of our favourite entertainment options – a movie to mark the turn of the decade for me. An inspiring tale of a woman’s struggle out of mundane life and into reaching her true potential set the tone for the evening. The movie was followed up with a dinner at a quaint little café in one of the hangout areas of the city. An open terrace affair, the café had decadent furniture and tastefully done low key décor. Kitchen island and bar counter made up the centre of the whole area, while the tables were set along the periphery looking out into the palm fronted night sky. The food was so delicious that it satiated not just our famished tummies but also our foodie souls with its taste, texture and pretty looks. The candle light glow and soft music began seeping into us once we were so taken care of. The gentle breeze and romantic ambience combined to transport us back to our honeymoon days in Maldives and we reminisced those lovely days of our life. After the dinner, we went for a quiet night stroll gazing at the decked up shops and night crowd. A beautiful night was coming to a slow end.
Thus unwound the 30th memorial day of my birth on Jan 26th of 1986. And this is the story of the day I turned 30 .Not that I wanted to. But the world has seen much worse. So I make my peace with it.”Remember being 25?” I ask myself .Hold on to it and never mind the numbers change!