I am blogging after months, and thanks to the nature of my job! Business consultancy keeps you so busy that you hardly have time to spend quality time with your family, writing for leisure is a distant dream, no doubt. I don’t regret, that’s my choice of life. And, when the choice is mine, I have nothing to complain about.
Well, what prompted me to write today? Reason? No gifts from my closest people on my birthday…a birthday that I celebrated all by myself (self effort so to say) 🙂 Sounds juvenile? Sounds insane? Well…Allow me to explain.
Yesterday was my 33rd birthday – a day, that has not only been special to me and my twin sister since our childhood, but also for my mother, my maternal uncles, maternal aunt, and my dear ones.
Memories of Dhula mama (my eldest maternal uncle) cleaning the entire house – including its windows, doors, and ceilings, since morning, just because it was our birthday, is still so clear in my mind. He hummed songs from Hindi films and did this chore, with all excitement and happiness.
Kalyan mama (my second maternal uncle) pulled his bicycle, hung a jhola (a cloth bag) to its handle, and went to fetch vegetables, spices, dry fruits, and meat from the market, to be cooked for dinner at night.
Piku mama (my youngest and fattest maternal uncle), raced his bicycle through the busy roads of Fancy Bazar to get the most delicious mithai (sweets) of Guwahati, from the famous sweet shop – Bharatiya Jalpan.
Maasi (my maternal aunt) cooked whole afternoon for the lavish birthday dinner. And my mother offered special puja that day. She gave us loads of love and blessings, along with tiny gifts – mostly things that we really needed (panties, slips, chappals etc. :D). She always said: Celebrate each birthday with great excitement because you are gifted with another year of life by the Almighty. These words got printed on my heart and mind.
With the sunset, the festivities began. Close relatives and neighbors started pouring in with little tokens of love – a Rupee 5 ball-point pen, a set of two handkerchiefs, a set of Pencils, a towel, and sometimes just chocolates, all wrapped in golden, silver, red, and green shiny papers.
I remember, my mother’s cousins – Ranju mama, Baali mama – gifted just Rupees 11 with a toffee, nana (my maternal grandpa) gifted Milk Bikis (wrapped in newspapers; tied with white thread) and a Rupees 5 note. Aah! What a happiness it gave to my heart.
This tradition of birthday celebration lasted until year 2006 – then I moved out to join the race of rats in Delhi. Lost all the beauty and charm of a “home sweet home’ with loved ones who valued my existence to such an extent.
And behind I left, those warm and giving hearts – lost many in these years. Dhula mama died battling Schizophrenia; Ranju mama fought and succumbed to cancer; Bali mama died a day after this Diwali, fighting a prolonged sickness. Nana-nani left for heavenly abode in the year 2003 and 2004 respectively.
I miss those little gifts, those warm and jovial hearts surrounding me. Now, it has become more like a “must-do” ritual of cake cutting and nothing beyond this. No surprises, no gifts, and no tradition of making me feel special.
Yesterday, I realized for the first time that in 32 years of my life, that I am growing old – old enough for others, giving them a reason not to celebrate my birthday.
But for me, a birthday – of mine or somebody else’s – will always remain a reason to celebrate with gifts, balloons, and sparkling papers.
Reasons to celebrate life are limited. So, this should be the one, my heart believes! What is your take on this thought?