Today is one of my friend’s birthdays. So yesterday night, as the situation calls for, we all went out, got her a gift, took her to dinner at this nice place and brought in her birthday screaming out loud at the top of our voices in a bustling and happening place here called ‘Clarke Quay’. She was quite thrilled at the end of it and we all had a lot of fun. I suppose the major factor for the thrill factor was the suspense or the surprise bit.
Anyways, all said and done it got me reminiscing about birthdays quite a bit, thinking about the surprises planned for people, the gifts given, the fun that we had and of course my birthdays too.
One of my favorite memories about birthdays is the one that I had when I was maybe in 5th or 6th standards. My birthday always falls during the summer vacations, so there has never been any particular celebration in school or any of those chocolate distributions or wearing ‘color-dress’ to school etc. Not that I missed it. I was an introvert when I was in school and any sort of attention towards me would make me fumble and not get any words out. This particular birthday party of mine was at Coimbatore – my native place – and my cousins were there, it being summer vacation. We had quite a lot of friends there back then. The nearby flats all had children our age and we all used to play together. (The hanging-out concept was introduced to me much later in life!)
So anyways, Mom and Vijaya aunty (the adjoining flat neighbor) baked me a cake, all fluffy and light, decorated it with gems and other delightful stuff, wrote ‘happy birthday’ on it with chocolate icing. It was the most marvelous cake. And then Amma had invited this whole bunch of people, friends and relatives and all the kids we used to play with etc. It was one huge crowd. I was wearing this pink and violet ghagra choli that my parents had gotten me the previous night (I still remember going through some god-forsaken alley to this north Indian lady’s place where she used to sell clothes and stuff. You know the contact of a relative of a friend sorts!). Coming back to the party, it was the most wonderful one and the most memorable one ever for me! Everything was perfect. All the people I loved were there then. I remember this incident when one of the guests asked for a second helping of the cake (it was THAT DELICIOUS!! And I only got one tiny bit of it!) and when I was about to take it to them, my cousin bro’ came up to me and said that ‘the birthday girl is not supposed to do any work on her special day’. I was all smiles then! (Anything to get out of work you see ;-)). That is and always will be one of my favorite birthdays.
Even now I find birthdays (not necessarily mine!) a lot of fun! I love the whole suspense / surprise thing, organizing something special for a close friend, making someone’s day in the literal sense and maybe gifting them something, that you’re sure they’ll treasure for the rest of their lives. It’s a whole lot of excitement and anticipation to plan something for people close to me. I love the look on their faces when they are surprised. I love the way their face lights up in anticipation and then the whole ‘100-watt smile’ that will be their expression for the rest of the party.
Funnily enough for the past few birthdays, mine have almost been sort of like an anti-climax. Either I end up guessing what the surprise is (the only surprise birthday I ever had!) or I am away from my family, or I am not with the people I want to be with. And of course now it brings with the sober feeling that ‘Sigh – I – am – another – year – older!!’.
But all said and done, for me the very fact that my birthday, always, every year, will be special to me because of the date. For I was my parents’ first wedding anniversary present as their wedding day is the day after my birthday ;-)
Or so I say so myself :P … !!!