My niece recently turned 4. To celebrate this landmark day, my sister had organised a gala party, full with electric train, darts, hoopla, tattoos, dora pin ups ( she loves Dora), hats and a 5 kg cake. Everyone arrived, with beautifully wrapped gifts in shimmery glittery paper. Her friends were turned out in their best – matching shoes with dresses, flowing lovely tresses, some in pink, others in blue. The elders all trotted in alongside, sporting the usual sarees and suits and the men in pants and shirts. The kids shrieked as the train made its customary circles and others tried conveniently played the hoopla by standing atop the throw and dunking. On the other side, the adults occupied chairs and tables and quietly got about talking business, as usual.
I was hit with a sense of Deja vu. It took me back to my childhood when preparations and plans began a month in advance. Exhaustive birthday list with a carefully vetted menu, sure to keep mum in the kitchen for all remaining days were part of the birthday. Then, I always had a ready answer when asked what I wanted for my birthday. I could even provide multiple choices. The whole school knew it was my birthday when I dressed in my CV bests and trotted in with bags full of sweets. Shy coy smiles all the way. At home, I wound around my mum and sisters like a bee near honey as the cake was made, shaped and finally dressed. Whole bowl fulls of gulab jamun were devoured the night before the party, long after everyone had gone to sleep. AAh, I loved those days. You had to do nothing, no one could scream, shout, pull my hair – I was after all the birthday girl. So, it was like being princess for a day.
I still love birthdays. Not for me are the quiet, I am too old to celebrate my birthday kind of emotions. I like it all. The colorful presents ( the more the merrier), elaborate meals and dressed cakes. Of course, with age wine has replaced rasna and baked potatoes have replaced samosas, but for the rest of it, I am only too happy to oblige.
I believe it is a miracle that I was born a human being. That one act has given me countless opportunites for experiencing everything that life has to offer. Its like standing outside an amusement park called LIFE , with god handing out the tickets to a select few and I am in the line when suddenly, my name is called out and a ticket is stashed in my hand. He tells me ” You can go in now. But be sure to take every ride. It is all for you.” Then how can I not be excited. I was chosen and this is all for me and so I have every reason to be happy when my ticket time is extended and I can stay on and play for another day.