Friday, April 14, 2017

L is for lovely

Without any attempts at any subtle plugging, I shall go ahead and shamelessly proclaim it -- it was my BIRTHDAY yesterday!

After a certain age, birthdays are not that exciting. When someone asks, "Ooh, what are you doing for your birthday?" there's no real cool answer to that. "Nothing much... normal workday, then birthday dinner in the evening." has been my standard answer these last few years. And though you wouldn't associate the word 'exciting' with this scenario, to me, it's a perfectly acceptable way to spend an adult's birthday. However, this year, I felt a weird sense of inner joy and contentment and that was pretty exciting. Old age, I tell you. I wonder what else it has in store for me?

The days leading up to my birthday had been rather crazy. My magazine's current issue had to be sent to press urgently, a colleague wanted the proofs that I was working on so urgently he was ready to meet me at the airport (in-laws left for India today and I'd told him I wouldn't be home) to pick them up. On top of that, I'm organising the Easter party for our neighbourhood and I totally didn't expect 95 adults and 75 kids to register for it!

Viv has been literally living in the office in preparation for his US work trip, once in a while making it home, say around 3 am or 5 am. And not to even mention the April blogathon. In the midst of all this, I'd thought my birthday would just come and go. Like any other day. But it was quite lovely, to be honest.

I was working late on the eve of my birthday when dad-in-law popped his head in exactly at midnight (Why was he awake at that hour, you ask? I have three letters for you - IPL.) to wish me a happy birthday. At about 12.05 am, I heard the keys in the front door. It was definitely more likely to be a burglar than Viv. But it was Viv! My husband had crossed oceans and fought dragons cast aside screens and screens of C++ to get to me as soon as my birthday began! I was touched. We decided to take a midnight stroll and get some ice-cream. It was a privilege because we can do this kind of thing only when someone is home with Xena.

When we got back, I scooped her up from her bed and transferred her to ours. She turned sleepily and mumbled something. Viv said, "Hey Xena, what day is it?" She immediately got all alert, and kissed and hugged and wished me before promptly going back to sleep.

On the morning of my birthday, I put on new clothes after my shower. I can't remember the last time I'd put on new clothes on my birthday right from the morning. I do buy something new for my birthday (or save an outfit gifted by someone) but I wear it only in the evening when going out to celebrate. But this time, the in-laws had taken me shopping for my birthday and got me a whole bunch of outfits. I could wear one in the morning and then wear another one in the evening, and I'd still have two more to go! It was pretty exciting.

Then the WhatsApp fiasco happened. A neighbour, who occasionally plays badminton with me, decided it would be damn fun to wish me for my birthday on the neighbourhood WhatsApp group -- yes, the one with SIXTY-TWO people on it -- instead of messaging me directly. As more and more people felt arm-twisted into following her message with their own happy birthday messages, I had to literally beg for it to be taken offline so we could spare everyone the spam.

But this meant that everyone in the group now knew it was my birthday. And because I know almost everyone (because I'm the admin of the neighbourhood FB group and organise the social events), many of them took the time to send me personal wishes. I was touched. To me, if someone is taking time off to do something for you that is 100% optional, it's very touching.

Later, when I checked my FB account, I saw a lot of birthday wishes on my wall as well. Many of them from people I'm not really in touch with. Again, going by my 100% optional rule, it was touching that people had bothered to wish me. I decided to spend some time replying properly to each person. I didn't want to simply 'like' their wishes, or post generic thank you messages to everyone, or just write an FB post on the lines of 'Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday wishes. Feeling blessed.' I feel that is just lazy and also stresses everyone else out -- those who had not wished you and now that you have thopo'ed your birthday on their faces, have no choice but to sheepishly say 'Happy belated birthday'. So I took a moment to think about each of them, about our last interaction or something relevant about them that I remembered, before individually replying to them. I felt like it was the least I could do. I felt happy doing it.

It was strange to feel the kind of gratitude I was feeling, because in my 20s I used to be someone who had high expectations from everyone on my birthday, which on hindsight, was not a good thing at all. These days, I'm a lot more mellow and content with whatever I get. So much more soothing for the soul. For example, if an acquaintance wished me on FB, my first thought would have been 'Ha! You remembered only because FB reminded you!' whereas now I feel grateful. FB reminds everyone, but it's those who take the time to wish you when they didn't really have to, who make it that much more special.

The sister-in-law had sent me a very pretty wallet for my birthday. Knowing my practical self, she'd let me choose what I wanted and ordered it to be delivered to me. But she had a bigger surprise waiting for me on her blog -- a heartwarming post about me! (Well, it's about Viv and me, but mostly me, hehehe!) In the post, she's documented our friendship from the first time she'd met me some 12 years ago when I was just Viv's girlfriend. Who doesn't want to read stuff like "She fires on all cylinders, she’s living proof that it can be done. At any point in time, she’s juggling a dozen balls, and doing it in a fabulous dress and kickass heels." on their birthday? Because this week had been one of those where my super-efficient self was also having its doubts about itself, this really helped. It made my birthday extra special.

When I picked up Xena from school, her friend's mom who knows it's my birthday insisted on dropping us home in her car. "I have to drop you home. It's your birthday!" I couldn't say no. I'm always declining her offers to drop us home (mainly because we are bus people and I don't want Xena to get used to being ferried around in a car every day) but I had to take it. On the way she was telling me how much she loves her own birthday, and suddenly it struck me -- one should!

For lunch, mom-in-law had made puri and aloo ki sabzi. Like dad-in-law, I really like puris too, but I rarely make them because of the hassle and oil involved. She, on the other hand, had made about 20 or maybe more puris, and I swear I only had about 7 or 8 of them. Not more. Mom-in-law looked at my guilty face and insisted that the puris were really tiny so it was okay, but the truth is the truth. I told my inner fitter self that it was okay because I had gone to the gym in the morning and no one goes to the gym on their birthday. My inner fitter self just shook her head and said, "Riiiight."

And because I'd not already consumed enough calories at lunch, in the afternoon, right after I'd sent the issue off to the printer and the child off to bed for her nap, I made a cake. (Of course, I make my own birthday cake. It had to be homemade, low-sugar, yada yada yada.) I made a heart-shaped green pandan cake -- no icing. And I have no pictures of it because we cut it up and ate it. It was soft and spongy and homely and comforting.

In the evening, all of us went for dinner at Super Loco, a Mexican restaurant I'd been dying to go to for the longest time. I'd chosen an outlet which was at walking distance from Viv's office because I expected him to go back to work after dinner, but strangely he didn't. Yay! We wrapped the evening up with some tiramisu and cheesecake (definitely not homemade, definitely not low-sugar, but definitely tasty as hell).

It was a lovely day indeed. I guess growing older isn't that bad.


Ritu Raj said...

Happy Bday Sayesha !!
Keep Rocking !

Arun said...

Happy Birthday, Sayesha!

Because this week had been one of those where my super-efficient self was also having its doubts about itself...

Unscheduled?! Self-doubt is for 15 minutes at 8 PM on the last Friday of each month :) :) :) :) :) :)

Charan Deep Singh said...

Well written Sayesha. I feel the same about FB wishes. At times it takes me 3 days to respond. But i make it a point to respond individually to everyone. Your food references make me salivate.

Charan Deep Singh said...

Happy birthday to you... Belated though ;-)

Charan Deep Singh said...

I wrote about my time in Lucknow.

Horizon said...

Lovely day. A very Happy Birthday to you...

Prithi Shetty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Sayesha. I've been following your blog for years, but I don't think I've commented more than twice. We share the same birthday, so most years I know I will see a birthday post from you on or around the 13th of April and it always makes me smile.

I usually disable FB notifications on my birthday, because I always believe people feel too obligated to wish you, plus the attention scares me. But your post today made me think. It's true that we need to appreciate people who take the effort to wish us when they didn't have to. I actually feel the same way about comments on my blog too. :)

Prithi Shetty said...

Happy Birthday !
Sounds like a lovely wonderful day of celebration indeed.

shell said...

Belated birthday wishes.. Wishing you a fun year with loads of travel, beach picnics, giggles , music and all your hearts desires.

Sayesha said...

Ritu Raj,
Thank you! :)

LOL! Is it sad that it's kinda true? :P

Charan Deep,
Thank you! :)

Thank you! :)

Ah, a purani bewdi at the bar! Welcome welcome! :) Happy belated birthday to you too!
I really need to be more prompt with replying to blog comments! :O Thanks for the reminder! :)

Thank you! :)

Thank you! Tumhaare muh mein ghee shakkar ka healthy equivalent! :)

Jina said...

Belated happy birthday Sayesha. You are one of the few bloggers I still read. And I am so glad I do! Keep rocking

Anu said...

Belated birthday wishes Sayesha! Good to know that you had a lovely time! I think birthdays are a good opportunity to love ourselves a bit more and feel all happy inside! :D

Sayesha said...

Thanks! :) :)

Thank you! :)