In keeping with the tradition of birthday merrymaking, I placed my demand on the table like a portfolio to be studied. My birthday was two days away and in the exasperated desperation of last minute planning, they had finally asked me for my birthday wish list. They gave me puzzled looks. They raised their eyebrows and squinted, checking if they had read the wish list correct. Two words spawned the entire white expanse. They read- “Something… big.”
My cousins hooted, for this was just another challenge for them. Ask what I may, I knew what I would receive from them. The little one would choke me awake, wish me ‘appy budday didi’ and say that the gift is not ready but I am not to worry for it was on its way. ‘On its way’ was really code for ‘I’m looking for my sketch pens’ and indeed, later in the evening I would find a handmade card magically appearing on top of my bookshelf (sometimes even on my dinner plate!) and happy, I would kiss her thanks.
The older one is a little quieter. She too would greet me, cheerful as the moon but there would not be much comment further in the day that it was my birthday or that I, even though I’m older, expect a gift. Yet she would go out of her way to share her world with me, as if letting me in on her stickers and hair bands and any other prized possession of hers would be a priviledge I must be honoured to have. Perhaps, if I am lucky, she would let me take a few pictures of her, for I find few things more beautiful in the world than my cousin.
Maami, my dear maami, would be different. She wouldn’t bother with waking me up or entertaining me. Her focus would be stuffing me up like a Thanksgiving turkey, with delicacies sweet as cake and doughnuts. She knows everything I like to eat. She does one better and surprises me. I know I do not need to ask her for anything, for she will ensure that I eat for every single second that I’m not playing with the cousins.
This is also that time of the year when my real sister gets a little possessive. She is hit by this sudden realization that I am, first and foremost, her didi and that it is her moral duty and right to give me the biggest present of them all. We all know that nobody can top mom’s surprises, but we like to try anyway. From hampers of food to movie plans to this crazily short skirt for January, my li’l sister partners with all sorts of financers, dads, brothers, uncles and whatever money she can find around, to put together a gift she can offer me with pride.
Enough ado about gifts. My birthday certainly is not all about that. There is my uncle whose job is to ensure I find myself on the floor. Not as a prank, it’s just his routine to make me laugh so much that I inevitably find myself rolling on the floor, tangled with my sisters, all trying to hold our stomachs in and keep our food in our tummies.
There is mom who smiles at me in the breaks between every dialogue and every act, as if she and I share a secret. Sometimes I begin to think we do. Is not understanding a secret in itself.
This birthday, however everyone was perplexed. What do I mean big. What do I want. I grinned, enjoying my little private joke. Go figure, I teased them with my eyes.
For a day they all wondered what to do. When answers failed to appear, jokes did, and everyone said sure they’ll do lots of big things: they’ll wear big clothes and sit in big chairs and eat with big spoons. Content with the genius they had just exhibited, they returned my grin and teased me back. My birthday was just as great as ever, just as I had expected.But that is not my point.
My delight and amusement rests in that one day before the big day when everyone was firing up their brains, thinking, thinking, thinking what they want to do for me. And what would be ‘big’ enough. As it turns out, my wish list was a present from me to myself. Who said a birthday has to be just a day. Mine wasn’t.
It was much… ‘bigger’ than that.
Note: Take a moment to smile at that post before we get down to business, y’all! So apparently 19 of you shared my comeback? I’m sitting here and wondering who you guys are, angels really, so how about when you feel like doing that, you leave a comment simple saying “Facebook Shared” so that I can count you in in my bedtime prayers? Hehe.
A wise sage once said:
Forget about the past, you can’t change it.
Forget about the future, you can’t predict it.
Forget about the present, I didn’t get you one.
Clearly, the sage speaks from years of experience, years of wisdom. I’m pretty sure he’s had a lot of birthdays.
It is indisputable that birthdays are milestones of life. I for one firmly believe that birthdays are all about the person who was born many years ago on that date. The families must make it special. The day must be jovial.
Birthdays are to look back at the year and laugh and cry. Birthdays are to measure the ‘wisdom’ we gathered over the year, though funnily enough, on my winter birthday, I am as mentally retarded as the previous day. Birthdays, more than anything is to think about the person and wish them good for anything they ever do, even if it’s just survival. Birthdays are for directing the special energies of earth, the unexplained miracles, to maybe make the year ahead happy and cute for that person, and we NEED that special day to appreciate the person because we tend to forget to love everyone all the year. Everyone needs their special day.
Of course, I love birthdays. 🙂
Of course, i love others’ birthdays more than my own. Because well, what’s the fun in saying “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you” all day when you can laugh at someone else say “thank you, Thank you, Thank you” all day 😀
Think about your b’days someday.. Not too many years ago you were just a big round baby, so unlike anyone else! Its a funny thought, imagining your teacher crying for milk, or your boyfriend running in knickers around the house 🙂 Lol.. Meanwhile, happy b’day to the beautiful people who are a year wiser today.
A very happy birthday in fact, for gaining the wisdom over the years of how to poop, when to sleep, and how to explain this oh-so-strange grumble in the tummy as need of food!That at least we learn for certain, if nothing else!
Oh and one last tip for all the people who are critical of birthdays-
If you really think birthdays are all about age and getting older and hence dying away, don’t worry, I’ll love to have your piece of cake too.
Dates invoke all kinds of reactions.
Some live by dates- “23rd I gotta go to the barber, 24th gotta meet Ike, 25t is it someone’s birthday?”
Some people hate dates- “live each day like there’s no tomorrow! So don’t leave something for a later date! Don’t put things away! Fall in love today and marry today! Okay, maybe don’t do that, but don’t put it on a calendar!”
Some people manage to stand straight in the middle of all that ideological gymnastics. Yes, I want to remember important dates and No, I don’t still LIVE by dates.
We have all sorts of dates that we call ‘important’. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and for me, countdown days, to many big goals.
Some of us remember these important days by circling the calendar all sorts of colors, some of us have hot phones that do the job, some of us, a rare lucky few, have awesome brains that remember EVERY thing they once heard. (Really, my friend… I told her ONCE, mentioned casually ticking off things in my To Do List, that a friend had his birthday later that week and now? She remembers his name, his birthday AND what I decided to surprise him with. Great! So I can’t remember all my friends’ birthday and she remembers hers AND mine!)
Dates. Dates all around. Dates in the past, dates in the future, definitely in the future until some wise guy puts a limit to the counting. Imagine, 25th December 927873o4803 (year). Do you think Christmas would be big deal then? I don’t. But then I can’t imagine green-skinned three-toed typical aliens giving a shit about Christmas.
Okay, back to this post. I am writing about dates today because 29th means a good deal to me. Never in my life have I come across a more useless thing as the number 29. No reason. Just never liked the number. And then last month, on the 29, a miracle happened, like a Superman-landing-on-Earth miracle, and since then 29 has been bringing all sorts of mixed feelings!
So this 29th, this awfully confusing date, 🙂 I wish you all a very happy time with all dates, forever. Cause that’s just a way of saying that you have a hell of a time everyday!
And as to dates, yeah sure, forget all the calendar days like Full Moon (not for werewolves) and Columbus Day (not for Columbus’ family) but surely, DON’T forget birthdays!
Oh and PS. Carpe Diem 🙂
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard that oldie (goldie) from The Wizard Of Oz- Somewhere over the Rainbow.
I actually first read it in my English coursebook in seventh grade. And since I was traveling then, which means no Internet, I gave it my own little tune and sang through the night with my little sister. She was little then. Only when I reached the destination, did I get to check if I was even remotely close. Nah. No luck. But I liked my tune better, I remember, it was a little less drawn out and a little more peppy. Though I can’t compare now, because the tune got lost somewhere over the years.
Anyway, here’s what came out of the whole ordeal. The idea’s back from seventh grade, the expression is today’s.
Maybeline would never have known what was going on, if she hadn’t woken up early that one day. Just that once and it had proved so wrong.
Rubbing her eyes softly with her little fair hands, May came in to her mother and father’s room to wish them a very happy morning. But it wasn’t to be, because neither was inside, and the bed was already made up.
As is often the case with mysteries, people have misunderstandings, and they live in them till the person they loathe shows his true divinity. At once, May frowned and wondered if her parents were hiding something from her. But just as the two little eyebrows came together, the truth was out, for out jumped her mother and father behind her and cried out, “Surprise Baby!”
Maybeline would never have known what had been going on for so many days if she hadn’t woken up early that birthday.
“Oh May dear! A very very happy birthday dearie!!! Ohh, we heard you get up and couldn’t get the flowers in time! But you just wait and see, we HAVE planned a grand party all day, down to the last firecracker!”
And there was hugging and kissing and wishing and laughing. And it would all have gone on throughout the day had there not been a sudden loud blast nearby.
Then everyone panicked.
May clutched her mother, who picked her up and ran after her husband onto the street. And what they saw was probably the most amazing sight ever. Also the most baffling, for how a rainbow could have dropped right into their backyard, Maybeline’s family could just not explain.
Maybeline was delighted. Her mother was scared, because she believed in alines. And her father was ecstatic, because he had been an enthusiastic mountaineer. Yet, none got to do anything about it, because as is often the case in The States, the Law came in between. Police, two Fire Brigades, FBI cars were already on the scene and the sirens were yet not ceasing. It was the best birthday Maybeline could ask for.
Like a good little dreamer, she thought this was God’s gift to her for being such a regular church-goer. So she begged mommy and daddy to let her run just a little bit over the rainbow.
Now in the real world, the parents would be so scared stiff that they would probably run down to the cellar and hide. (But then in the real world, a rainbow couldn’t possibly come down to land because it isn’t really a physical thing but a spectrum in the sky. Science on my tips.)
So in the real world, it was a decisive ‘NO WAY!!!” birthday or no birthday. But this is a story. And the bottom line is May will go (what’s the point otherwise?). I could have her run off OR sneak away OR really bring the aliens her mommy so fears OR levitate her to it OR what not. So I’ll just skip to her ON the rainbow.
What’s that? Not so interesting? Oh if you must!
May: Daddy, I want to go on…
Daddy: Oh May! But…
Mommy: May!!! BUT…
May: Please daddy please…
Mommy: We don’t know just WHAT there…
Daddy: All the police…
Creaaakk! Booom! Zooppp! Zzzap! FRIZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!
Little Green Alien: Hey May! Come on aboard!
So May ran as fast as she could to where the rainbow danced ever so lightly on the grass. And the police ran after her, and the firemen screamed and brought out their hoses, and the FBI glared at the police and stayed upright in their over-starched suits. And May ran on to the rainbow.
She looked down at her feet, and saw the colours glitter where she stepped. She walked forward, on and on, till she was so high in the sky she could have jumped and landed only on clouds. And finally she reached the point where she could climb no longer but must sit down and slide!
And what a slide! WHAT a slide! As she bend towards the red end, roses sprung up by her side. As she swept her hands through the indigo, the clouds danced overhead and laughed with her. As she slid, May saw some brave skyscrapers peep over the clouds, the birds make ample nests on them, the sun complete the picture, and the rainbow gliding through it all. For once May was scared when she saw one particular tower-top strike out through the rainbow. But as she neared, the tower bent down underneath and May passed over safe. What a swish, what a glide, what a flight May had that birthday.
And then a song floated through, and broke her thoughts-
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams you dare to dream
May the do come true!
And May remembered her mother and father and wanted to go back home when suddenly there was a very sharp swish and May closed her eyes.
“Happy Birthday May”, her mother whispered in her ears, and May opened her eyes.
“Good morning baby.” her mother said, as she cuddled her little one and gave her the white roses she had brought her.