Monday, September 20, 2010

“Aaj Apun Ka Happy B’day Hai!”

Meaning “Today is my Happy Birthday”. This was what Aamir Khan had said in the movie “Rangeela”, wearing that bright, really really bright yellow shirt. That’s what I am doing today. Saying the same boldly to the world sans that yellow shirt.

After I had crossed 30, birthday’s became more like a reminder that I’m one more year closer to menopause. I more year of youth gone by. I conveniently let myself forget how old I am. It felt better that way. I know most people would prefer being 20 something or even sweet 16 forever..but, where I stand now, I’m happy with staying 30.

But today, just like this day last year, I feel different. I am happy that its my birthday again. I feel happy that my friends and family did not let me forget it.  Thanks to my friends on face book for their wishes for me. It really means a lot to me. Very valuable and I feel very fortunate to have so many of you wish me good wishes. You just increased my reserve of karma points. Priceless!!! (yeah, again). It really feels horrible, not to be wished on one’s birthday. To let you know what I mean:

Having gone to school in India, uniform was a requirement. But, one was allowed to wear a civil dress on their birthday’s.  In the class of 60+ students, the teacher never knew nor cared to know the kid’s birthday’s. The civil dress was clue enough for the teacher to understand, its the kids birthday today. 

I had worn that civil dress in one of those elementary school years. I’m sure it was the second grade.  I had worn a very nice Lehenga (long skirt) that my mom had sewn for me. She had also given me a packet of toffee’s to distribute to the class. I had gone to the school nervous and excited, that I would have the attention of the teacher today. Today, she would know that there is a girl called “Gayatri” in the class. She would call me and ask me, “Is it your birthday today?”    I would say..”Yes” and she would ask the class to stand and sing for me, the Happy Birthday song. Then, the day started at school. She didn’t call me. It was already recess time.

“Did she even notice that I’m wearing a civil dress?”, I had thought.

She had clearly noticed that. Who could miss that parrot green fabric, so strikingly visible. Then, it was time for lunch. I had thought that she would ask the class to sing for me at the end of the school day. But, the day passed and she hadn’t asked me, if it was my birthday, nor did anybody wish me “Happy Birthday” at school. That little girl, that I was, wasn’t bold enough to go and tell the teacher, “Today is my birthday” and give her a toffee or two. In the evening, the aaya (child sitter) came to take me home. It had hurt me so much. I had given that whole packet of toffee’s to the aaya and told her not to tell my parents that I had not distributed them at school.  That was the end of that day. Or maybe not, because, I still remember it so vividly till now.

Through school, college and up until the kids were born..I was the type, who couldn’t understand people who would forget friend’s birthdays. “So careless?!!” I used to feel. Without the internet’s interference, I had taken all that time, effort and money in choosing the right card for the right person. If it took 2-3 different cards that were apt to express my wishes, (especially to Pavan), I would do that. He understood how important this thing was for me, and reciprocated with the same fervor.

Then, one fine day, I had my triplets and immediately after that, everything went haywire. My father would call me up, on his birthday and if after some talk, he guessed,  that,  I didn’t remember, he would tell me, “Goodie, aaj mera birthday hai” (Today is my birthday, dear). I had felt so embarrassed and I would not forgive myself for days. Its been years that I remembered my friends and families birthdays on time. The people who know me, have almost given up on me, in that respect.

This thing about, remembering dates had become such a juggle, that when I got a call from a friend or family, my mind would race through the calendar trying to make a mental scan of all the relevant dates, if there were any dates relating to this person I had forgotten to remember recently.

I hadn’t remembered my own birthday, many times too. Pavan would just give that sweet hug and tell me, “Don’t worry, your a  mom now, too many things on your mind”. Obviously, my brain’s cache was not enough to maintain so much data on one page. All that data relating to birth dates had taken a page somewhere in the back. The ones with priority were the ones dealing with my kids, their activities, their appointments.  I needed a bigger memory box in my head, and a bigger processor, to be able to go through all the pages quickly. 

Now that my kids have grown, they are taking over these responsibilities from me. They remember theirs’, Richa’s , Pavan’s, Mine, their grandparents, and cousins and their friends birthday’s too. So at least, I’m covered on the family front. Today, the kids gave me their hand made cards that they have been creating ..for the past few days. This supposedly “secretive” project that made two of my scissors disappear. Their reply at being caught stealing my scissors..

“We are making something…a surprise, can you go to your room”

Neha wasn’t able to sleep through the night. I’m sure, the excitement to give her card kept her awake. She got up “before dawn” (in her words)..brushed, dressed for school and then fell asleep.  A picture of the trio’s cards for me is posted below. One of it, turned out to be the hit, the pop up card..(looks like all the 3 spent their creative energy on this one), but each of them had a card for me and so different. One was a fold up card, with very sweet words for me, one was a “peek behind” card..with hearts and smiley's…It was Kauvya’s. She loves books which have the “can you spot?” pictures. Her card was just like that. The wishes were hidden between the different pictures and pop ups.  She also had a P.S. for me…where she hinted me to watch out for Neha’s card.

Poojha was so sweet with words. Almost had to stop myself from melting like a wax candle!






P.S. I just love the way they draw me always in a salwar…So creative, showing the flare of the dress..And, don’t forget to notice, that in the drawing above, Neha has drawn herself..watching Poojha, Kavya, Richa, Papa and Mom celebrating with the big yellow cake.


Rachna said...

kya baap! Birthday achcha gaya ki nahin :). Hope your day was fun. I did send you an email wishing you :). PNK are so good with this creative stuff and making cards. I got a glimpse of it on gurdev's b'day. Very pretty cards!

Venky (வெங்கி) said...

We learn a lot about ourselves through kids. Secret project is creative and cute

GP said...

Hope you had a great day!
My nieces make the best b'day cards in the world! Where have they learnt to be so creative? I had the privilege of getting their hand-made cards this year :) Give them a hug from me too.
In that pop-up card, is that your signature they have imitated?? Even I used to do it ;) Heck my signature is a little copy of yours :P They seem to have taken a fancy for your hand-writing.
Hey, never knew about your school incident. I don't remember how I used to spend my b'days in school. I don't remember having distributed toffees in my school(maybe i did) ;)
Once again, have a great 30th year! ;)


bhagyareema said...

Belated bday wishes, the best bdays are the ones which our kids rememeber isnt it? Some days back it was my bday too and nobody wished me but my day was made when my 3 yr old lisped a happy bday. and yes how did he know it was my bday?? ... the rest of the family tutored him :)

R. Ramesh said...

ya belated wishes:) like venky says we learn a lot about ourselves through kids.

hari said...

belated birthday wishes to you.. Realised after reading the blog, that it was ur birthday. The cards are so cute, and ur kids so sweet :). Give a big hug and kiss to each of them from my side :)for being so caring to mommy. u may not believe, i got tears hearing they planned surprise cards for u :)

gayatri said...

@Rachna..B'day toh bahut accha gaya right!..handmade cards joh mil gaye mujhe..aur tum sab ke wishes toh sone pe suhaga.

@Venky...Will let the kids know that their cards were so appreciated. I know what they will do then..start to make more!!

@GP..Thanks GP. Yeah! u were a baby then, right! I will send the hugs to the girls. Your signature is far from a copy of mine, mister. Me too, I don't remember how my other b'day's in school went but this one. Like I said, maybe I felt so bad. I can't imagine how PNK or any 7 year old would feel if their b'day is not even acknowledged by their teacher. You know, I still remember the teacher's name too. About your bday's. As I remember, lots of sweets at home and distributed through out the colony.

@bhagyareema. Belated Happy B'day to you too. Nothing like getting those wishes for the first time from your baby. And welcome back from your vacation. How much I agree on those comments of yours about India.

@Ramesh, Thanks for the wishes. All these wishes made my day. Everyday is a learning experience for me.

@Hari..Thanks for the wishes. That was so sweet of you to say such nice words for my kids. Will pass your feelings on to the kids.