what a birthday

gifts of the heart
It is said that your 60th birthday is a special event. I do not know what this really means but mine was truly an exceptional and unforgettable one! Would you believe me if I told you that it dawned with the news of the passing away of the father of a dear friend. Many would say it was a bad augur. But quite the contrary. The demise in question was excepted and the true crowning of a well lived and happy life. It was a beautiful death. It was also a gentle reminder of its inevitability and of the indubitable fact that our time is limited and hence we would be wiser to spend it in gratitude and not waste it in unnecessary pursuits. So the morning began by paying respect to the departed soul. It was an intense moment but a powerful one.

Then it was party time. And what a party! It began with a visit of the office where the staff had decided to celebrate big: balloons (yes for the old biddy) and streamers and when I sat on my chair and the fan was switched on petals fell on me. Wow I had never been showered with flowers. Then a cake, home made and delicious and my first set of gifts. Before I go on I would like a little aside to unravel the mystery of the picture you see on this blog. These are my most precious gifts. In front you can see a strange contraption with an old picture of Utpal. Well that is gift that Utpal made for me before he left for school. Utpal loves makings things from anything he finds so this is an assembly of an old CD, some thermacol box, a lot of glitter and an old picture of his. It is a pure marvel as he spent hours finding things, putting them together, breaking and remaking it till he was satisfied. And then before he left he brought it to my office and gave it to me with a huge hug. Needless to say it occupies centerstage in my office. The bouquet is not one bought from a flower vendor. It is the gift from the Okhla kids and each flower has been painstakingly hand made. I do not know how long it took, but I am overwhelmed by the gesture. The cards are precious too: one was made by the special kids and everyone of them signed it and the other by the tiny tots of the creche.

But where was I? I think at the first cake of the day as there was one more shared with the special children where we had more flowers and heartwarming hugs. The next stop was the women centre was there was yet another cake. It was here that I also had a mind blowing experience. I was distributing sweets to the children when I asked the tiny class I and II ones what they thought my age was. Fifteen said one! I shook my head with a smile and promptly another one who thought his pal had been politically incorrect jumped up and said ten! I laughed and told them I was sixty. You should have seen their faces, somehow sixty seemed too far fetched and one of the boys put both his hand on his face and said Bap re bap which I guess is best translated as Oh my God! I guess to them sixty was way beyond their imagination and belief!

After all the project why festivities and all the wonderful gifts I came home. Shamika and Rani had planned a party for the evening and the kitchen was out of bounds to me. Now this was a new situation as I am quite the control freak when it comes to parties in my home. Feeling a little lost I decided to treat myself to some retail therapy. It was nice to spend time just ambling around. Not finding anything I came home and decided to open my computer and answer some mails. Here again another surprise. Hundreds of birthday messages on FB. For one who has been an only child growing up in nomadic manner and having few friends it was a joy. People from the world over finding time to write such nice words to someone who has always been private and now almost a social recluse it was indeed a wow moment. I was overwhelmed. I realised with a smile that I was at least not a virtual troglodyte.

Evening came and I spent more time than usual getting ready. I knew some of the people that were coming but the girls had another one up their sleeve. They had managed to shepherd the whole project why Board, even the ones that lives thousands of miles away. Could I have asked for more! The meal was out of this world and I was speechless. A beautiful table, food to die for. Shamika and Rani had surpassed even me! Time to retire old girl! The night ended in laughter, reminiscences and plans for the future. For that blessed moment everything seemed possible.

It took me long to get to sleep. Too many sensations to process. When I woke up I knew everything would be allright.

Thank you for the best day in my life.

Oh and how can I forget the special song via skype that my darling grandson had composed for me and the most unexpected phone call from Utpal who had managed to convince his warden to allow him to wish me a happy birthday.

I could not have been a better birthday.