Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Yet another birthday....

I loved my birthdays. Which kid doesn't? I used to wait all year for it, envying other kids who celebrated their birthdays along the way. My birthday was always yet-to-come, since it was in December. Even if we discussed birthdays in January, my birthday was not one that had just-passed-by, it was a birthday that was very-far-off. So the entire year was spent just waiting!

The approach to the birthday was very special! The chill in the air. Preparations for the sweets and the birthday cake. A final trial fitting of my new birthday dress (mom did the dress- stitching most of the time). Selecting the lace and the buttons to go with my dress. Selecting which chocolates to buy and take to school. Being hyper-active the previous night, pushed to bed.

Then finally D-day. Jumping out of bed at mom's first alarm call. Wished by everybody and phone calls from uncles and aunts and grandparents. Dressing up in my new pretty dress with laces and frills and buttons shaped like bells...and going proudly to school with the box of chocolates. Oh, the attention from everybody, the fawning, just to get one extra chocolate! Restlessness at school. Then back home to find some surprise guest - usually an aunt with a gift. Again, the attention, the pampering. Then the birthday party in the evening. All the kids in the township, dressed in their best, colourfully wrapped gifts in their hands. Their eyes on the cake, my eyes on the gifts. The blowing of candles. The cutting of The Birthday Cake, a new theme each year, designed and baked magnificently by mom. Singing of the birthday song - Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to youuuuuu, Happy birthday dear Shruuuuuuu ....... that dies down into a whisper as the combined attention of the singers goes to the cake being cut, and the goodies being piled onto the plates. The paper plates with the cake, the sweets, the "mixture" and chips. The juice in glasses (If its Rasna, your birthday rocks). All devoured in seconds. The bold ones asking for second helpings. The shy ones eyeing the cake hopefully. Another round of eats. Mess on the floor. Then some music, singing and dancing, and party games. More mess on the floor. Then waiting for the kids to leave, so that I could pounce on the gifts and tear off the wrappers. [Actually I don't remember even a single gift - it was just the opening of the gifts which was the highlight of the day.] Then off to sleep, contented, a year older.

In my teens, I was too big(humph) for parties. Birthdays still consisted of a new dress [Bought, not stitched - mom cannot stitch in that latest style, you knowww]....Then lots of phone calls and a postbox full of birthday cards, and letters written on pretty stationery. Some gifts [and now the contents of the gift wrapper was more important than the wrapper. Still the wrapper and the card were carefully folded and kept in a file]. Again some surprise visitors, and a "treat" by me for my friends at the latest hang-out. Then a sumptuous feast full of my favourite dishes cooked lovingly by mom. Detailed pennings in my diary about each card, each gift and who wished me and how. Then off to bed, again, contented.

When I moved out of home, birthdays started at midnight. Surprise parties. Cake and other unmentionables on my face and hair. Birthday bumps. Music and dancing. Cellphone ringing constantly. Wake up groggy, find the inbox full of mails and e-cards. Read and reply and copy-paste "Thank you!". More phone calls. Calls from people you speak to only twice in a year - on your birthday and on his/her birthday. Then back to work. Towards afternoon, missing parents. Missing sister's bear-hug. Talking to them on the phone ends in tears. Accompanying that mood, some more thoughts. I am more than two decades old. What have I done with my life? Slowly slipping into an abyss. But evening comes before it gets too bad. Back to partying. Have a blast and come back home totally exhausted, collapse in bed.

I stopped waiting for birthdays a long time back. But a birthday is still special. It is still that day you get sweet surprises, when someone long-forgotten calls you, and a friendship is renewed. It is still that day when everybody remembers you and reaches out in some way or the other. I don't buy new clothes any longer, I don't expect gifts any longer. In fact I am not sure if I really want another birthday to approach, considering that it's taking me menacingly close to thirty. But still, its an important day. Coz I am glad to be born. ;)


Global Indian said...

"Their eyes on the cake, my eyes on the gifts."

hehe.. :)

So, when is your birthday. I know its in December from the post. Must be yesterday, today or tomorrow if i'm not wrong. Many happy returns of the day!!

Shruthi said...

Tomorrow! Thank you Ravi :)

Sri Harsha said...

Happy Birthday shruthi...

Kalyan said...

hey, happy birthday!

When you recount this birthday after a few years, here is something to add

"A post on the blog about birthday, wishes on comments - thankyou replies - WORD VERIFICATION - more wishes - more replies :)

Shruthi said...

Thank you Harsha!

@Kalyan: LOL!! Perfect.. you have got the style also just right! :) and Thank you! :)

Supremus said...

So when was it ??? :) Ah, tomorrow - Many Many happy returns of the day then!!

Sigh - I luve Birthdays - Not just mine, but everyone else's around me as well LOL - main cake khaane ke liye kahi bhi jaa saktha hoon :P :P!!

Lovely post - you are right - its the opening of those gifts which were more important than gift themselves...I luv reading blog posts like these hehe!!



Swathi said...

'Appy Birday :)
i cud relate to most stuff that u mentioned esp. mom's hand stitched frocks...

Raj said...

Happy birthday!!!

Alex said...

Happy Birthday, dropping by for the first time. That was a warm account :)

anumita said...

Happy birthday Shruti!!! God bless.

indiacorporatewatch said...

HAPPY Birthday Shruthi !!

Your observations are bang on target

So how did you celebrate this time ?

Shruthi said...

@Suyog: Thank you :)
Yes, Saif's Cake dialogue in DCH, was written all over the faces of the kids :)

@Swati: Thank you! And thinking back on it...mom's dresses were the prettiest, weren't they? ;)

@Raj: Thank you! :) And thanks for linking to me too!

@Alex: Thank you! And please drop by again ;p

@Anumita: Thank you!

@Abhay: Thank you! Had bunked office - had a quiet and beautiful day!

Sayesha said...

Better late than never! :)

Happy birthday, babe! :)

Poorvi said...

brilllllllliant again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Amit said...

Hey, that was really a good post .. liked it a lot and relived all those moments . And that rasna thing...too good :-D

And by the way, Belated Happy B'day :-)


Devaki said...

Wow, are we similar or what! I guess same generation and similar family settings might have something to do with it.

I enjoyed reading your b'day post very much Shruthi. Felt sad I missed out on the midnight parties since I never stayed in a hostel. And I'm going to ask my mom why she never stitched dresses for me! But the rest was like looking into a mirror! :-)

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