my birthdays

I am not the regular cakes and candles girl, no balloons and no confetti. In fact, my 1st public birthday in school was at the age of 4, in the month of March! I saw birthday girls and boys getting a lot of attention and me, the show-stopper being ‘sidelined’ and ‘ignored’ totally! The solution is to throw a birthday party. My dad had little idea of the days to come. He ordered lollipops for 60 odd people and packed my Duckback bag with them and I felt like Alexander! Oh my god, I love birthdays, everyone is my best friend. The boys would try to be nice to get an extra lollipop and the girls would smirk, wishing it was their birthday. Oh, it used to be so hilarious. Then again in the middle of the year I would want to have another birthday. Dad obliged, this time with moti churr ki ladoos. God knows, what he told the teachers I never celebrated my birthday on my birthday that year! Probably my parents did but I was not aware, I don’t remember any of my friends coming home or did I forget to insist. After that, all I remember about birthdays were temple visits and feeding the poor and remembering the departed to seek their blessings. I used to hate giving away to unknown people. Dad explained that my less fortunate brothers and sisters do not know what a birthday party is, that’s why you are the privileged one to share with them. “Hmff” was all I had. Now it makes sense.

College saw me with treats and all, Chinese or continental. Then, the Archies gifts and all, trinkets and stuff. Within 300 bucks I would treat an army. Univ was dedicated and special. My birthday came in the summer break and the phone calls were never ending. Wishes and blessings were more important. Cakes and more were no longer novelty.

As a teacher, my birthdays were even more fun. I loved the cards and the flowers and the enthusiastic singing and –“ma’am, where’s the treat?” It is a different birthday experience when your students (for whom you are surrogate mother/sister/friend) see you doing the normal things like everyday and still feeling like a diva! My boss threw a surprise lunch for the entire faculty at work, which was a pleasant surprise!

I miss my best friends and family. Last year, my birthday was spent admiring Salar Jung Museum, boy! That was an educative lesson!

This year, I was a lil’ unabashed and boisterous. I announced to everyone it was my birthday tomorrow and bla bla… People were offended, pretended to ignore but who cares? I made my point. I love my friends at work. I waited for my birthday- from 28th to 29th watching some forgettable movie on TV and my roomie trying hard to keep awake. My brother and comrade-in-arm, Gowtham lands at my place. Ahan, I can smell something. My cake was set up 15mins before 12. I was all –“Aww!” Man, I took 15 mins to blow those candles off! Shalini and GTM had great fun laughing their lungs out

And I was struggling with my lungs. Yes, I was OLD, they certified and sealed it. The cake smashing was not all that welcome. I was more worried about the uninvited ants. But it was the best birthday in years, away from home and familiar surroundings. Felt like a kid!

This morning when I got ready, I remembered Kristina’s dedication of Britney Spears’ “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.” She always sang that whenever I attempted wearing a saree. And yes, I wore a saree to work. It was a great day, affection poured from every corner of the world from midnight. It is just another day in the calendar but I will always feel special. Thank you.

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