Happy birthday my girl!

The hand pulling rickshaw puller

Struggled his feet through the

Hot and burning stone street

The lady sat fat with lot of extra shopping weight

Her right hand never stopped feeding her mouth

She ate as if there would be no tomorrow

And the puller pulled like there would be no tomorrow

His feet all bare and rough

The soles tough, distracting the stones

The sun was merciless

He eyed a bunch of young people

Gorging on the colored drinks

Two children playing with ice cubes

The lady still munching the snacks

The puller rode like a horse now

He can’t waste any time

He has to meet his little girl

Who’s been waiting since forever

He needs 20 rupees more

To buy her a birthday gift

The gift she’s been wanting since last year

The puller got the fat lady down safely to her house

Took  the money, sidelined the rickshaw

He went to an ever old, shabby shoe shop

Shopped for a couple of chappals

Bought his choice and came home

Wearing the sandals in blue straps

His girl gave him a big hug and a tearful kiss

He finally made her day.

 

 

I wish I was your lover…!!

“Go up to that handsome hunk and talk to him; you always claim that you can charm even a complete stranger, but I know you can’t do it,” Sonam challenged Jiya, “I am damn sure that the guy won’t give any weight to you; best of luck girl, go try your luck!”. The place was Mumbai and they were inside a Ganapati puja pandal amidst lots of people and crowd. Jiya immediately was on her feet, she smartly walked up to a group of boys sitting diagonally opposite to the place where they were sitting. Jiya went to the group and said, “Hey guys I lost my purse and I need your help to find it!” A handsome guy stood up and came to Jiya and said, “Where were you  sitting? I guess we first need to search it there.” He added looking at his friends, “you guys enjoy; I will take care of this!” Jiya immediately thought that she won the challenge and she was so happy that she could not stop smiling. The guy asked her, “Hey gorgeous, I am Amit and what’s your name?”

“I am Jiya,” she replied. They both walked up to the place where Jiya was sitting with her friends, her friends were spellbound to see the guy with Jiya coming towards them. Amit immediately after reaching the spot started searching for the purse. But he could not find it and said,” I and my friends will try to find it from the other corners of the pandal; give me your contact number, if I find it I will inform you.” Jiya gave him her mobile number and they left. That night Jiya was thinking about the incident that happened and she started feeling guilty. Just for the challenge, she went up to Amit and said she lost her purse and now Amit and his friends were searching for the purse desperately. But Jiya didn’t take Amit’s number so she was unable to contact him; she had to wait hoping Amit to contact her.

A week went by and Jiya lost all hope for a call from Amit, but she couldn’t stop feeling bad and guilty, it was hurting her from inside. On the 10th day, morning there was a call on Jiya’s cell from an unknown number. Jiya received it and it was Amit. “Hey Jiya i am very sorry, my friends and me searched a lot but didn’t get your purse,” Amit updated. Jiya immediately said, “Amit lets meet for lunch today, its a treat from me.” Jiya also said him the time and place and immediately hanged up the phone so that Amit can’t make any excuse. Amit was waiting in the restaurant where Jiya asked him to come, but Jiya was late by 10 mins.”Is there any good news? Why you are treating me?” Amit enquired. Jiya smiled and said, “Definitely their is a good news, I got such a good and trustworthy friend like you, I am very happy for that and thought we must go out for lunch and celebrate.”

Amit said, “That’s fine, Jiya but I could not succeed in my mission.” Jiya added, “Amit I will say you the truth today…” and she told him the entire story and assumed that Amit would surely get angry and leave the place at once. But to Jiya’s surprise he was just smiling and finally said,” Thanks to your friend who have given you this challenge, because only for this I met you.” They had a wonderful evening and they became great friends. Very often Amit use to call Jiya and either they went out for dinner or lunch or just hung out in some coffee shop. Jiya was perusing her master’s degree in biochemistry and Amit took the privilege at times to drop Jiya at her tuition classes, Jiya was very happy to get a friend like Amit but from his side it was a different story. He was in love with her at first sight but Jiya had no clue about it!

One day when Amit went to drop Jiya to her tuition class he saw all her friends were gossiping outside the classroom since the teacher didn’t arrive by then. Jiya took the opportunity to introduce Amit to the gang and everyone was very happy to meet her new friends except one; a guy named Inder, who had a massive crush on her. Jiya once mentioned about Inder to Amit; about the madness he demonstrates at times despite knowing Jiya is far from having any such feelings for him. This was the first time Jiya saw a different expression on Amit’s face when he was being introduced to Inder. Both of them stared at each other as if they were about to annihilate each other. Jiya became a little worried seeing such an expression; she knew about Inder but she was wondering why Amit too showed such a reaction.

It was Jiya’s birthday and she thought all this confusion must come to an end. She invited all her friends for a party and informed them that she had an important announcement to make.

All her friends were their in the party by 8 pm. Both Amit and Inder were also present and tried desperately to ignore each other as far as possible. Rest of Jiya’s friends were contemplating about what she was going to announce. They were almost assured that Jiya would be accepting one between Amit and Inder as her boyfriend.

As the clock struck 9, Jiya was ready to cut the yummy chocolate truffle cake, when suddenly a sharp, good looking, smart guy entered the party. He went up to Jiya and kissed on her forehead. He took out a ring from his pocket and slipped it in her ring finger. Jiya looked delighted and excited. After the cake cutting Jiya announced, “Friends this is the surprise. This is Abhishek, love of my life and i am sorry if I hurt any of you unknowingly. Abhi was out of Mumbai, he was perusing his engineering, but now he has completed it and is back here to me permanently and as you people witnessed my engagement with him, I am glad to announce that we will soon tie the knot once he gets a job.” All her friends clapped in delight.

It was only Inder and Amit who walked out of the party still snagging at each other and at the same time, they walked out of Jiya’s life too.

Oh! The Joys Of Birthdays

‘Happy Birthday’ was the song I liked to hear most when I was a little girl. The sound of friends and family singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in unison was music to my ears, a sound incomparable, evoking within me a kind of feeling that no other song could ever stir up. It felt great to be surrounded by a group of well-wishers being there only to make your day happy and special. I remember this now because it required very little to make children happy years ago. No fancy things, no expensive arrangements – just friends, balloons, delicious home made food, toffees and of course, the good old cake!

Now-a-days, theme birthday parties have become the rage. So, while you have one child clamoring for a Harry Potter theme, there is another one wanting a Barbie or Princess Birthday party not to leave out the pirates, the superheroes and the Star Wars clones. Just in case you find it too much of an effort to organize it all what with the designer invitation cards, attractive hats or masks, picture cups and plates, there are professionals to aid you with the entire procedure for a price of course! Today’s children are not satisfied with all that you were happy (nay elated) with in your heyday! They want elegant, fantastic and cool birthday parties. I remember way back when I was little, all that we did was to invite a few classmates of mine. Most of the other invitees were my friends on my street or those who studied in my school and lived nearby. Very few parents graced the occasion. Nothing was purchased from outside. No catering facilities existed then, so my parents did all the hard work. No fancy invitations, mummy and I just walked over to the houses to invite. I remember not having a phone for quite sometime. Even after its arrival, we always invited people over personally. That did take some time but it was worth the trouble. Then my mother got into the main part of preparing chole that she had already soaked the night before. And, the quantity was awesome considering the fact that my father and I usually went overboard in inviting people. Mummy’s chhole was usually the ‘birthday special.’ Sometimes I felt that people came home in droves on this day not for me, but just to taste my mother’s tasty dish!

If there was chhole, there had to be pooris. Unflinchingly, my mother would knead the dough, roll, and fry the pooris. Hand prepared sandwiches, Kissan Orange Squash (as it was known then) not Sprite, Cola or Pepsi and potato chips graced the plate and palate on this day. Plain paper plates were something we did purchase as plates at home were too less for the number of invitees. My father purchased the little cake. I still remember feeling oh! so happy just to see my name written on it. Of course, the cakes way then did not give you much of a choice – just having a birthday cake seemed a luxury. Little multi colored candles, no number candles then. Finally, when all was done, we sat down to blow the red, green and yellow balloons to hang precariously with the aid of ordinary thread.

Today, most of the edible stuff is procured from the bakery. Puffs, samosas, pizzas, cool drinks, pastries, chocolates fill the attractive paper plates. Children do not hesitate to ask for more now. We did not. Bad manners you see! Exotic games are played today. And, if it is a theme oriented birthday party then, a plethora of games are indulged in. Small time magicians or people dressed up like jokers entertain the little guests, handing to them gifts to take home in return for the gifts that they give the birthday child! I remember my friends just being happy to come home, see me cut the cake, eat and chat. Today, if you even delay giving the take-away gift to the little guests they ask for it, something unimaginable years ago!

The happiest part for me on my birthday was putting on my birthday dress that was usually stitched, not bought. Mummy would select for me the most beautiful material and then take me to the tailor to stitch a dress for me, maybe a frock or even a pair of trousers with a smart shirt to accompany it. Today, nobody has the time to breathe so, stitching is out of question. Rushing to a ready-made shop is most convenient as you get a variety of choices suiting your budget. It is another fact that the dress finally purchased tends to exceed the budget! But, you indulge your son or daughter anyway. After all, it is their special day.

Coming to the gifts, nobody gave anything expensive yet; just opening the gifts gave so much joy. I was fortunate to receive books most of time – an Enid Blyton, a Nancy Drew, some Amar Chitra Katha comics. Some even took the trouble of giving little steel dabbas or plates and putting my name on it. Today, who has the time for all that stuff? Children give gifts to their friends depending on their parents’ relationship with the birthday child’s parents today. Way back, it did not matter. Today, most of the children want to know what is inside each gift (I have seen children force the birthday boy/girl to open the gift packets). Way back, the gifts were kept in the bedroom to be opened only by me when all had left. What joy that solitary opening of gifts gave me then!

When I flashback into my treasure chest of birthday memories I relish every moment spent to make my day special. I appreciate my parents for unconditionally taking the initiative to make me happy in spite of all the inconveniences that it caused. Today’s generation is a demanding one. It is always on the move. Today’s Birthday Special Express moves fast with no stations to pause, ponder and reflect. It is a non-stop train of classy demands! Welcome to the modern birthday celebrations!

A Memorable Birthday!

30th August, 2006. My sixteenth birthday, the best and most memorable one of all!!

I got up in the morning, stretched out comfortably and smiled at the dappled sunlight filtering into my room through the bay windows. The sun was firmly in place and the air balmy, with no sign of rain or the occasional cold. The weather was perfect and I hummed a tune as I had my shower and changed into a new white shirt and blue jeans. So far so good!

All my friends were waiting in a bus. They greeted me with a loud song of “Happy birthday to you!” and a huge cake. After cutting the cake and cramming it we left. We had planned to go to an amusement park that had opened recently and were very excited, since we had heard it was a fantastic place.

On reaching the place, we rushed inside and were thrilled! The rides looked amazing, huge and fast. We got in for all the rides and had a great time screaming our heads off! Between the rides, we even found time to stuff some popcorn and chips inside.

After an exhilarating morning, we decided to go for the water rides. The boys went to their changing rooms and were such a long time coming that we left without them. Getting into the swimming pool we paddled, raced and had fierce water fights. Time just flew and finally, our muscles screaming in protest, tired and sore, we got out of the pool.

Suddenly, it struck us that the boys were nowhere around. We looked around the entire park but they were nowhere to be seen. As a last resort, with much trepidation we went to the boys’ changing rooms and knocked, to find the door open. It was pitch dark inside and we stepped in quietly, clutching each others’ hands, trying to be brave.

Just then out of the blue, there was a huge crash and a boom. We screamed at the top of our lungs and lunged for the door when there was a blinding flash of light and we were rooted to the spot, stupefied. All the boys were standing in front of us laughing their heads off!

After hammering them for answers, they told us that they’d been in the disco all the time and wanted to surprise us with a bang. Still fuming, we refused to talk to them. With much coaxing and cajoling, they persuaded us to go with them.

The disco was fabulous, the music great and the ambiance comfortable. We sang, danced and had a great time. We then sat down to a formal dinner at the hotel in the park. Replete with happiness, we got into the bus. The journey back was uneventful. When I reached home, I didn’t feel like leaving, the day had been so good!

When I lay down on my bed at night, glimpses of the day danced in front of my eyes and grinning to myself I went to sleep. It had truly been a memorable birthday!!

The gift of love

Nihaal was a ten year old girl who loved gifts. The small, carefully wrapped ones tied with colourful little ribbons and the large sumptuously decorated ones with glossy, expensive wrapping paper, boasting of surprises. Little wonder then that her birthday was her favourite time of the year when gifts of all shapes and sizes found their way into her room. The thrill of carefully unwrapping the gift and discovering the secret treasures bought just for her gave her unspeakable pleasure.

Mrs. Sharma, a widow was Nihaal’s neighbour. An old frail little lady who doted on her. On every one of her birthdays, Mrs. Sharma prepared a small chocolate cake decorated with pink icing. Nihaal enjoyed the cake, that was delicious, but never valued it as much as her precious gifts. Nevertheless, the cake was placed on her table unfailingly year after year.

On her eleventh birthday, Nihi received her usual melee of gifts and was thrilled to bits. After she had lovingly unwrapped each one and admired them enough, she joined her parents for breakfast. Her mother put an arm around her and said slowly, “Nihi, I’m really sorry but your Dad and I need to go out today to get some very important work done. It’s urgent. Could you spend the day with Mrs. Sharma till we come back?”. Tears sprang into her large brown eyes. After much cajoling and coaxing her parents dropped her at Mrs. Sharma’s house and waved her goodbye. Gloomily, she unlatched the wicket gate and walked up to the door. Ringing the bell, she waited but no one came. She pushed the door slowly and walked in. Nihaal could not believe her eyes!

The small house was decorated lavishly with paper streamers and pictures of her favourite cartoon characters. Purple orchids, her favourite flowers occupied almost every available surface. As she walked further in, she spotted the old lady busy in the kitchen. As soon as she saw her, she took off her apron and came bustling out, her face all smiles. “I’m so happy you came today child”, she said.

Nihaal was speechless. After a snack Mrs. Sharma took her to the local music school. Nihaal was thrilled. She had always been passionate about music. They took front row seats and listened to the person playing. Nihi enjoyed herself thoroughly. After the concert, they went back to Mrs. Sharma’s house.

Nihaal chatted happily about the concert as the old lady set the table for lunch. The chocolate cake with pink icing was placed at the centre. All of Nihaal’s favorite foods dotted the table and together, they had a sumptuous lunch. Later, they sat in the verandah, talking.

“I hope you enjoyed yourself today Nihi. I’m a poor lady so I couldn’t buy you any gifts, but I tried to do as much as I could”, she said apologetically. Suddenly, Nihaal was struck with grief and she cried out, “Oh don’t say that aunty. Today was my best birthday. I can never thank you enough. I agree I love gifts and  today I got the biggest and best one of all!”. “What was that child?”, asked Mrs. Sharma curiously. Enveloping the old lady in her arms, she whispered into her ears, “The gift of love”.

The Joy of Giving

It was my eighteenth birthday… and my most memorable one till date. I had been gifted a brand new Hero Honda CBZ by my brother. I had taken a fancy for bikes at a rather young age, about which I had made no secrets to my brother and therefore, as soon as I had reached legal driving

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age, my brother had given me one. And I was happy, to say the least. It was the morning of my birthday and I was trying to polish my already squeaky clean CBZ before hitting the road for the first time. A few feet away, a street urchin, barely twelve to thirteen years of age, stood there, admiring the piece of beauty. I had bet he wanted a ride on it. As a matter of fact, I had known the kid for some time. He was the child of the gatekeeper of the neighbouring building. I looked at him, smiled and offered him a ride on my CBZ, which is, piggybacking. He came closer, his eyes still on the bike and touched it gingerly, as if the machine had a life of its own. Then, for the first time, he turned towards me and asked, still wonderstruck, “Is it yours?” Slightly irritated that he had ignored my offer to take him for a ride on it. I proudly stated that it was a gift to me from my brother on my birthday. His eyes widened even more and turned to the bike again. Then a slight bit of sadness crept into his awestruck eyes, as he started to say, “I wish …” He paused. I knew what he wished. He wished that he had a brother like mine. But what he said, instead, jarred me from head to foot and made me learn a lesson for life. He said, in a melancholy touch, “I wish … I could be a brother like that”.

My birthdays over the years

There used to be days when we would eagerly wait for our birthdays since it implied that we would get older by a year. UntitledI remember how happy we used to be. We were in a hurry to grow up. 🙂 Then we were teenagers. I was confused on when the teenage will get over – was it eighteen or nineteen. Anyways I was a little bored when I turned twenty since it implied that I was no longer a teenager. Then it was the age of indifference, where I didn’t care much about my birthday. Where birthday meant just another year gone by. Then I got married and I still remember that on my first birthday (after wedding) I was waiting for a surprise party and a nice gift from my hubby. I waited all day long but no gift. Towards the evening I got very restless and asked my hubby about when he was going to give me the gift. He sheepishly told me that he has not got anything for me. I threw him out of the house and told him that he can enter the house only when he gets gift for me. Poor fellow, he got gifts for me. And I gave him a stern warning that I need gifts every year on my birthday. After that every year poor guy used to be tensed around my birthday thinking what gift he can get for me. But I can tell you that he has improved drastically, last year he finally threw a surprise birthday party for me. And what a party it was. He didn’t allow me to come out of our bedroom. He told me that he is cooking breakfast for me. Knowing him I didn’t suspect anything. I was still in my bed reading newspaper very lazily. At around 11 when I was thinking of taking a bath I heard lot of commotion outside. I could hear my friends outside. Then they started singing happy birthday to you. I was so thrilled that my hubby has finally given a surprise birthday party for me but I was embarrassed also because I was looking so shabby in my night dress. Anyways it was one of the most memorable birthdays for me. 🙂

Then I reached that age which every lady dreads – yes you guessed it right. I turned 30. I purchased an anti-wrinkle cream for myself. I don’t know how effective they are but I didn’t want to take a chance. Then it was followed by another birthday. And gradually I realized that every birthday for me and my friends was following the same trend. There was no special emotion in us on birthdays but we would always cut cakes and it was followed by mundane parties where people would crack jokes about aging. This continued for another 2-3 years.

It was my friend’s birthday and I called her to wish her birthday as I was having my morning tea in the balcony. She sounded a little sad and told me that another year has gone by and we are growing old so what is there to be happy (later on I got to know that she had spotted her first white hair hence was in such a somber mood). I tried to lift her mood but I was unsuccessful. But this set me thinking about how we can be happy on birthdays. The answer didn’t come to me immediately.

However after few days I found the elusive answer to my question. I had recently learnt car driving and was very happy at the new found independence. My driving also meant that I and my hubby could spend more time together since we could split the weekend tasks and finish them faster. I had not been so happy since a long time. I scratched my head and tried to think of the last time when I had done something new or learnt something new. I was blank. That’s when it striked me that if I could accomplish something new every year I would not be afraid of turning one year older. All my years would be fulfilling and I can associate something with them. I have tried this for last 3 years and it has worked for me till now. 34 years meant car driving, 35 meant first time bungee jumping. Every year after my birthday now I start making plans about what will I achieve for my next birthday. The target for this year was swimming. However I didn’t make any progress apart from buying swimming-suit. I was getting all tensed on what will I gift myself this year. When I realized that I have probably already achieved the target for this year since for the first time in my life I have started blogging. Along with that I learnt that you cannot plan for everything.  I am relieved……already waiting for my birthday so that I can make plan for my next birthday. 😀 😀 May be it is childish for lot of people but it works for me. 🙂

My 50th Birthday

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I wake up with the first rays of sunshine that comes through the bedroom window. I look up from my bed and see my mother and father till asleep. So I gurgle once… no reaction… I gurgle again… my mother stirs in her sleep but goes back to sleep. So then I start crying loudly. Good, I now have their attention. Both of them get up and rub their eyes. My mother is the first one to realise what is happening. She picks me up and takes me in her arms. She puts me across on her shoulder and tries to put me to sleep. But I am through with the night’s sleep and I resist by trying to rise from that position. But I am again trust back into sleeping posture by my mother’s firm hand. So again I start crying. My mother then changes my position and puts me in her lap and starts rocking and patting me on my forehead and sings a lullaby in her sleepy voice. I again try to resist by trying to rise up but the lullaby only gets louder. So then I decide that the only way to put an end to this is to close my eyes and pretend to be asleep. I put it in my agenda that I will teach my family about the pleasures of waking up at 5:30 am when I grow older.

As soon as I do that, my mother kisses me lightly on the forehead and puts me in my crib. I wait patiently for their day to begin because mine began quite some time ago. It is a good 90 minutes and I am almost again dozing off to sleep when I hear my sibling (Anna as I have been taught to refer to him) come and proclaim to me “Good morning, chelli.” (Chelli means younger sister in telugu). I give him a wide smile and look forward to being carried to the living room. My father comes and gives me a warm embrace and all of us are finally seated in the living room for our morning tea.

My mother comes in with a tray with some bread sandwiches and tea for everyone and a bottle of milk for me. She goes back to the kitchen to get a glass of milk for my brother. My eyes sparkle at the sight of my milk bottle. I show my excitement by telling in gurgling sounds that I need to be given my bottle immediately. I don’t know why they don’t understand my language. I resolve that teaching them the language is one of the next things in my agenda as soon as I am older. By then, my mother comes in and thankfully takes the bottle of milk and puts it in my mouth. I feast on my breakfast like a juicy piece of hamburger. I have had more than half of the milk when my plexus sounds off and I am full. So I drop the bottle of milk from my mouth. My brother immediately sees that the bottle has fallen off, and he takes it and puts it again in my mouth. I again kick it out with my tongue. This time my father does the kind deed of putting the bottle back into my mouth. I was almost sure that I would have to repeat my morning behaviour of satisfying their wishes and hence gulping down the entire milk, when the door bell comes to the rescue. Everyone is distracted by the coming of the laundry fellow. My mother starts complaining to him about the poor quality of clothes he has been ironing and my father catches hold of the newspaper which is stuck to the door.

I am left to play by myself and everyone busies themselves in the daily routine. Mom and Dad are off to work and Anna comes to me and tells me that we will be watching “Spiderman” on the DVD player. I have seen the movie umpteen times along with Anna. I don’t want to see it again but I give in since I have nothing better to do. In the middle of the movie, I start gazing out at two sparrows that are playing in my balcony. Anna suddenly sees me straying and boxes my ears. He tells me to concentrate on the movie. Learning to box back is something that I quickly add to my agenda.

In the meantime my nanny comes and sees that I have wet my pants. She whisks me away for a bath and puts me to sleep. The rest of the day quickly passes by and my resolve to learn boxing only gets stronger.

Evening is marked by the arrival of my parents. My father remarks “How is my flower petal” and picks me up. Mom readies to take me and Anna down to the park. I ride my blue and pink pram proudly while Mom pushes me around in the park. As soon as we set our foot in the park… a hoard of kids surround me calling me names like baby, Kavya, etc. Anna takes great pleasure in shooing them all away as if they were insects. Mom tries to show me off to her friends by telling them of the new antic I picked up recently. She tries in vain to get me to do the antic in front of her friends but I refused to budge. I am no joker here. As soon as my mom’s friends move away, I start doing my antics only to get a grimace from my mother. We head back home as the sun sets.

After dinner, we prepare for bed. Mom and Dad are having a tiff over a wet towel left by my Dad on the bed. Meanwhile Anna is playing with me with my rattle. He holds up my rattle for me to catch it in the air. On the 10th try, I managed to grip it tightly and Anna is exhilarated. He rewards me with kisses. Meantime Mom comes and takes me away to put me to sleep. I gurgle and show resistance but with little success. Teaching the language is pushed up at the number one item on my agenda.

I am cradled to sleep in my mother’s lap and I snuggle and am soon lost in wonderful dreams.

I am six months old. I am not sure what my name is since I am being referred to as Chelli, baby, Kavya, Guddan, Flower Petal and what not. I will let you know as soon as I find out my name.