(Contd. from Birthday Diary I)
13th July, 2009, Monday:
It's amusing, how different the past looks every birthday. Like last year, when D didn't know me enough and thought I'm not the cake-"wrapped" gift type and when Ma was here, 13th July ended with this blog "Just another day called Birthday" and I piled it up in "Drafts" with my other intensely senti ones.
This year, it was nostalgia.
When I was a kid, the 'birth day' would typically start earlier than other days. Ma wakes up about the same time as crows (since I always hear the crows first, me-thinks they're the earliest risers) and being in India's North-East, it means her day begins at 4 am. On birthdays she wakes me up by 5 with a deluge of wet greasy kisses. I was in Assam Board (Jan-Jan cycle) and Julys and Decembers were vacations – so I could never relish hopping to school in my Bday dress (Bdays & Children's Day were no-uniform days) with my bag of toffees and flitting from one bench to another distributing them in the class. Only once, in my entire schooldays, vacations got postponed and I went to school wearing a super-frilled, white 'umbrella' frock and Pa so bloated my bag with toffee packs that instead of one, I distributed four per head.
By evening, guests would begin to pour in and after all important ones have arrived, I'd cut my Mani Mahi (=Mousi/Aunt) made cake (still the bestest in the world) and blow the candles exactly as many as my age. The entire evening would be spent scuttling about the entire house amidst people. All the while I'd also be waiting patiently for everybody to leave so that I could open the gifts. To my dismay, no Barbie doll, box of chocolates or teddy bears ever came out of those wraps, but almost always came out books and comics, Legos & board games, dresses & tiffin/pencil boxes and the likes. Much later I discovered that that was MaPa's doing – advising people WHAT NOT TO gift me.
That was the ideal-case-scenario – birthday bashes and all. More than often it would end at that greasy kiss, a hug from Pa and my favorite roasted chicken for dinner. Advent of telephones made birth days important.
After I hit mid-teens I even began to secretly imagine I am a princess waiting for Charming and would most unabashedly accept just every gift that came my way on Birthdays (from you know who all). Besides the usual soft toys, chocs and by-default Archies cards, there were few interesting gifts in my compilation, I have to mention – a silver ring with a moon-stone (whether that implied I need to calm down or that I remind him of the moon, I could not tell), a dog-collar (he must have taken my love of dogs and the fact that MaPa wouldn't let me have one, too seriously, and meant he'd let me have one if we got together. Second thoughts, did he call me a "bitch"?) and a Jaipuri quilt (presumably from his father's shop, but when he brought that to my hostel, on a hot July day, that quite made history!).
Kamrupa's (my Hostel during Grads) birthdays were special. Like we dressed as gypsy women for Shaheeda Ba's (=elder sister in Assamese) and as vampires for Nilanjana Ba's. Along with other gifts, the Birthday bonus was a hand-drawn, super-vulgar greeting card, with the obscenest thinkable message. But for me, once again Julys were spent home, as Delhi University opened every 15th July and MaPa would let me go never before July end.
Next came this phase when I'd plan special birthdays for those close to me ("exes" mostly). But as luck would have it, I was almost always home or un-engaged just when it was my birthday.
This year, 13th July was spent at work. Varsha & Harleen (D's colleagues) came over with a bag of my favorite Chocolate Hut chocs, just when I was sighing and Twittering – all books, no chocs for me. Boo Hooo.
Where to for dinner was again a surprise. I was expecting Lebanese, but it turned out to be the pool-side Mexican joint at our neighbourhood Novotel. We were only settling down when the manager came with a cake and a bouquet. Over-kill – I thought. Besides, more than half of my Bday cake was waiting back home, and I'm trying to lose weight for gods sake. I was little embarrassed at first, but when the waiters began the birthday jingle and everybody turned to see who it could be – I got back to being 16 and gave D a quick kiss right across the table. Had I dared that on any other day, I would have got a nice one on my rear there and then. Later found it wasn't D, but the divinely chocolicious cake and the bouquet were complimentary and D had no clue they're coming. He just happened to mention it's his wifey's bday when he reserved the seats.
We then went on a long drive with Boom. I was high and we sang aloud like madman&wife. And it was drizzling.
Tell you the truth, dear readers....this was my grandest birthday. More than the events and incidents that spanned that 24-hour, it was the contentment – there's somebody who takes my little wishes seriously, tries hard to decode my subtle hints, loves and respects me with all my imperfections and now when I'm terrified at turning 28, he does everything to preserve the child in me.
Here's to all husbands who make their wives feel 16 all their lives.
And to all wives who groom their husbands' right and make it possible. :)