Saturday, December 02, 2006

Birthday Memories

One day in the week that went by was truly blessed – because “I” celebrated my Birthday. GOSH! I am such a humble person hee hee.

My birthday was made one special day – all because of the Mr., Amma, Appa and all the loving friends who remembered this day and called me/emailed me/orkutted me & last but not at all the least, Jai & his sister(one of our newer acquaintances). The day before, my boss gave me a beautiful set of beaded jewellery that she herself made. The Mr. was an absolute sweet – took me shopping the weekend before and also on “the day”, decorated the “birthday corner” (it got its name when we decorated this corner of our living room on the Mr’s bday) with loads of balloons and baked(with my supervision of course) a carrot cake for me. Jai & his sister, Bindu, surprised us with a cake that evening when they came home for dinner. He had bought candles also (he got less number, as he was unsure how old I was , I felt sooo nice that he thought I was just that young hee hee) and after the cake was cut and we all had our share, he shocked me by applying some of the cream of my face – took me back to those days in college! I had not had this “treatment” on my bday since what 7 years? Guess it pays to have somebody young around at times! Over dinner, the topic was all about our college, how the Mr. & I met – the journey to our marriage – which stirred up the old precious memories and long after they had gone, the Mr. & I kept talking of those good old days. 2 days after the D-day when I opened my mail-box to find a gift from ex-colleague, the Mr. remarked in “J” – “Oh! Onnodu bday innum mudiyaliya” (Is your bday still not over?). 3 days later when I came to office, another colleague gifted me a beautiful chain and hand made pendant – when I went home, the look on the Mr.’s face was priceless – “How come the entire world keeps giving gifts and wishing you even after your bday is over?” The color of the week was “Green”

Days after the incident, the fond memories of birthdays in college & before keep coming back to me – so I thought I would jot (ahem! Type) some of them down.

Amma tells me that we had a birthday party for me when I was about 3 or 4, but I can hardly recall this party. That was probably the only birthday in my childhood (school days) when they had got a cake for my birthday. In school days, the most special thing about birthdays was being able to wear “civil dress” to school. I would hate it if my birthday came on a holiday. Then later I devised a new trick – we would celebrate two birthdays – the actual date & the “Nakshatram” (the day on which my star comes in the calendar of that year). So, I later start “choosing” the day I want to celebrate my birthday in school, based on how many of my favorite classes feel on my ‘date’ or ‘star’ birthday. I always liked Friday in school (don’t remember why I did so), so always eagerly hoped that one of the two dates was a Friday.

There was a “ritual” for bdays in my school. Now, I don’t recall if it was the same in all schools in Vizag or just in ours. I would bring a big bag of toffees (75 or 100 count) (my choice – some that I remember having taken are coconaka, coffee break, éclairs, melody – don’t even know how many of these are still available!) to be distributed to the kids in my class and every teacher who would teach on that day. If I had my class teacher’s session that day, I would stand up in that period, everybody would sing for me and then I would distribute the chocolates. If there was no class teacher’s session, I could do it in any of my favorite class. After distributing to the students in my class, I could take one of my best friend and go around, distributing the chocolates to the teachers in the other sections of the same class, teachers in the staff room and the principal. Now this created problems if you had more than one “Beeeest Friend” and you had to pick just one! Remember those kiddie days when the position of a “Best Friend” was the most zealously guarded and coveted one. As we grew vertically and academically this practice was slowly abandoned, maybe because we became more ‘mature’ and conscious and it was kiddish taking chocs to school or wearing ‘Civil Dress’. In fact most of us stopped even wearing non-uniform dresses on our birthdays. Growing up takes off the charm in small events huh?

From school days there is one birthday that I fondly think of. When I was in 9th class, I had a nice trio of friends – Rajani, Sowjanya and Usha. We were the inseparable back benchers in Class 9 and 10. It was when I was in 9th that my grandparents acceded to my father’s long time request and came to stay with us for a couple of months. That was probably what made this birthday all the more special. It is strange how elderly people manage to communicate even when they have a language barrier. My Patti did not know a word of Telugu or English and my friends did not know Tamil, but by the time they left she could tell us almost all about their background! I still remember the white plastic plates (they had been recently purchased) – the ones with partitions for placing different food in each portion, the laddoos that amma had made and the scent of the single rose that Sowji had given me! I would give anything to relive that 1 evening of my life.

In intermediate (ie 11th and 12th), Science students were so busy and lost in their own world of books, that in any college you could distinctly identify them. It was told that if any student had rough, unkempt hair, and oil face and crumpled dress – it was sure to be a science student ; and all students wearing make up , modern dresses, smart shoes were Commerce students! Birthdays were hardly celebrated then. There was one birthday I can recall – Smitha’s. We had the privilege of enjoying this, because it came appropriately after we all had given all sorts of entrance exams and before the results were announced – the right time when we were all in uplifted moods. It was probably the start of the many celebrations we had in the recently opened “Hot Breads” in Siripuram Junction. It became quite a landmark for teenagers for a long time after. 7 of us that day – all decked up well, girlish giggles at seeing some guys that one of us knew approach us, wild teasings and loud conversations.

The wildest of birthday parties I have been to were in the 4 years of engineering hostel. We would celebrate the birthdays at the stroke of 12 with lots of gusto. Money was limited, so the cake was small and each one got only small pieces, but they tasted a whole lot better than huge chunks of cake. Maybe it was the atmosphere and the company. In our room, we always made it a point to decorate the room for the birthday gal. Small gifts were exchanged, the cream from the cake was adorned on the birthday baby’s face, snaps were clicked, the food disappeared seconds after the clock struck 12 and within no time the room was cleared for the dance floor! We would dance to good music for a long time before retiring to sleep. I have loads of snaps of these birthday parties at home and each time I look at them, there rushes through me a warm feeling of mushy memories. One birthday stands out in my memory – for which Lalitha (my room mate) and I did some really crazy and whacky. Two of the girls had their birthdays in the month of May and so we never got to celebrate those (May was off for College). So, in the Final year, we decided to celebrate “Half Birthday” for them in the month of November. For some reason, we wanted to be “different” and so Lalli and me bought weird gifts for them – 2 tender coconuts, 2 Mangoes, 2 Apples and some other stupid eatable stuff. How we laughed after making those purchases.

Hmm… these are just small incidents in my life, but each one holds a special significance. In each of thee incidents itself, I have forgotten the minor details. I fear that someday, with age, I will forget all these incidents and will no longer have the chance to give that half-muse smile thinking of these. The lovely girl in “Rebecca” remarks : “If only memories could be bottled like perfumes and I could remove the stopper to smell them whenever I want to”. Wish this could happen, the moment I smelt the perfume , I could go back into the memory ; or better still wish I had Dumbledore’s Pensieve!


Usha said...

belated birthday wishes - have a wonderful year ahead.

sirisha-my-thoughts said...

very very nostalgic and how can anybody expect me to work for a whole day now!??!!!
Anyways...have a great time and yeah the memories are too precious and sure won't go away!

Anonymous said...

Sorry I forgot about your b'day this year...belated b'day wishes to you!


Asha said...

Ah!!! Memories.

Happy Birthday!!!:)

Vidhya Rajesh said...

$$ Usha - Thanks for your wishes!
$$ Sirisha - Seriously ne, sometimes the memories are just too much kadha ? Wish all of us could get together once again in the rooms of CB!

$$ Thanks for the wishes Deepthi!

$$ Asha - Welcome to my page! Thanks for the wishes :)

Trupti said...

Belated b'day to you! your times in India sound wonderful...funny how the simplest of things leave such an impact on us...enjoy your present time too...and make new ones.
I am adding you to my blogroll, hope you don't mind.


Vidhya Rajesh said...

$$ Trupti - Thanks for the wishes! And thanks a ton for adding me to your blogroll...

Gomathi Sarma said...

And I should also add to the fact that you got so busy on your bday that I had to call you at least 4-5 times before i could speak to you directly and wish you..

Have a great year ahead sweetie