30 years and 2 day later, it looked like a well celebrated birthday. I last celebrated my birthday last year but that was a low key affair. Before that, I celebrated my birthday, let me see, ummmm, ok I don’t remember the last time I celebrated my birthday before last year. I am not used to celebrating birthdays so it is really embarassing to be a center of attraction. I can sit, work, stand in the background but feel highly uncomfortable when many eyes look at me.
It was obivious that everyone was planning something for my birthday. Sheena as hyper she is, could not keep her excitement in check and asked me how many days before my birthday. And what they did was a total surprising and heartwarming experience.
The celebration started one day before when Vijay called me a on my way to office asking me to tune to Ujala Radio, a popular hindi radio channel in Amsterdam between 9 to 1 when they dedicate songs to people. I managed to tune through the internet. Till noon there was nothing and apparently I thought, they had forgotten it, when Sheena called me up and asked me to tune to Ujala again. They were playing the song for me. No one had dedicated anything for me in my life and here they were playing a song for me. A really emotional moment for me. The song was a racy number “Yeh Dil bole” from the movie, “Fight Club”
The lyrics are somewhat like
chhore ki baatein meethi chhuri hain
chhore ki lekin aadat buri hain
chhore ki aankhen sharabi hain inmein nasha bhi
yeh dil bole..
Loosely translated it means
The boy’s word are like sweet knife
But the boy has bad habits (?)
The boy’s eye are drunk and are intoxicated
This heart says.
Well the meaning is completely lost by my translation, the message in between asked me to get married. It look like everybody don’t want to see a smiling face and want me to get married.
When I came back from office, I wanted to prepare batata Vadas for my colleagues in the office. Its become a custom now. If I bring vadas to office, it has to be my birthday. The making of the ingredients took so much time, that it was 11:30 PM when I finally cleared everything. I just wanted to hit the sack and sleep. I had to get up early to fry the vadas. So it was going to be a long day but Vijay and pranav sat there insisting that they wish me at midnight. They surely sat there till midnight. It is not normal for Vijay to sit so late as he is deep in his sleep by 10:00 PM so 2 hours extra was indeed a great thing.
At 12:00 Midnight, both of them wished me, gave me birthday bumps and said good night. I was tired and really wanted to sleep. I shut off the lights when all four barged into the room singing “Happy Birthday to you” their hands filled with my birthday present. I got a sweet greeting card from Sheena highlighting the ’30’ years in bold letters and ofcourse the dog on the covers. Nowadays every thing that Sheena choses has to have a picture of “doggie”. I also got a wrinkle free shirt so I did not have to worry about what I was going to wear on my birthday. I got a box of chocolates and one gift that I did not really expect, a 1 GB iPOD nano.
The iPOD Nano with 1 GB capacity given by the family and the cover given by my friend, Rajesh.
I also got a custom-made soft statue made specially by order which resembled me to a very large extent. I am touched. How many times does any body go to create a soft toy which looks almost like you.
The specially custom made soft statue that looks like me. Ok. a little 50-60% here and there and also not so much hairs.
The card from Sheena. Every thing concerned with Sheena nowadays has to have “Dogie”. Below the inside.
I get the 30 years! No need to print in bold.
The iPOD was a big distraction. I wanted to play with it and when finally I slept it was already past 1:00 AM. The midnight wishes was a good surprise for me when people tend to forget my birthday the whole year.
The next day, that is on my birthday, I got up at 5:00 AM to complete the vadas. By 8:30 I was still preparing them. I prepared almost 70 Batata vadas but had to throw the remaining as they were deformed beyond belief. I was going to be late for the office. I somehow packed the vadas and wore the new shirt Vijay and Ranjana gave me.
When I reached office, talked to mom in India. She was wishing me and then without telling me switching to the neighboring aunties. All were wishing me. These are the people I grew up with. This are the people who saw me as a toddler and watched me grow into what I am today. They know as much about my childhood as my mother knows. It was nice to talk to them again.
I took out the vadas for my colleague. My team members had ordered cake too for people who don’t eat ‘vegetarian’. Almost everybody eat vadas and some even tried twice and even thrice. So it was a hit. I always make good vadas. Its become my trademark. Vadas matlab apun ka birthday!
The rest of the day was spent taking greetings from friends and colleague. Talked to a few friends in India. Coincidently, it was Rakesh’s birthday. I called up Sandeep’s number and talked to him. Rakesh said he could not forget my birthday because he was getting married on that day. As expected, he forgot and so did Sandeep. I could not talk to Rakesh much as he was surrounded by friends and relatives.
The day in the office was good. In the evening when I started for home, Vijay called up and asked me to get something from the shop. Now I knew these things already were present in the house. I smelt something fishy. They were up to something. By the time I reached home, there was a huge banner waiting for me on the door. It announced my name and age. Courtesy: Sheena.
The big banner on the front door announcing the age. I guess everyone who does not know will also now.
Vijay and Ranjana had cooked lots of food so it was obvious that we were expecting someone. Aman was already present. I cut the cake they had brought for me. The house was decorated by Sheena and she did take a lot of efforts planning and decorating everything. She even went a step further and decorated Sheru with ribbons. Sheru was too excited to notice anything. He tore the ribbons and jumped around the guest who had come.
Then people started arriving. They were all colleagues from my office, my friends here. I did not expect them to come. It was surprising and heart-warming. Rajan and family, Hariharan, and Rajesh, all came. Hariharan and Rajesh gifted me a shirt, a t-shirt and an iPOD cover which I was planning to buy myself.
The card given by Rajesh and Hariharan. The pig has no hidden message. It was just that the card was the only english card left in the store.
The shirt and T-shirt given by Rajesh and Hariharan. I wore the blue T-shirt on friday for a office outing. A girl in my offiice of mine actually said that I have become thinner and the t-shirt looked nice on me. Nice! I can see that big smile on my face. If only she was not engaged.
It was nice to have all my friends and family to celebrate my birthday.
All in all, a nice birthday which will be remembered for a long, long time.
(*) in the title :- “Kab Tak” is the name of the imaginary channel which I give while capturing the event on my camcorder with a lot of live commentry. It actually mean what it says – Kab tak? i.e. How much time more he (thats me) is going to talk? Thats what my friends expression are.