Twenty four was not a milestone age, nor was it the joyous early twenties indicator. All it brought with it was the announcement of the mid twenties arriving! Did it really bother me? I wasn’t sure!

Our greatest anticipations and fears are actually a repercussion of public opinion or rather hype. To think of it, it was just another milestone. But to argue the same, it was a new chapter in life. No college, no bunking, getting serious with work! I mean come on…serious with work? I advocate dedication but never seriousness. I don’t know how people can consider both these as the same. For me, life was going to be fun, as it always had been!

Tomorrow was the D day. I had not made any plans and anticipated it to be yet another day. Of course, in the morning Ma called, then my sister. Then the usual…getting ready for work. And to tell you the obvious, I felt like bunking! Tell me one person who feels like working on their birthday!

I got dressed and reached office. My friends wished me, then my colleagues. Lots of phone calls and lots of emails. But it all seemed like such a routine. When I received Gautam’s call, he asked me the usual. “What plans for today? We all can meet tonight and celebrate with our group. Everyone is in town”. I smiled and said I have work to finish. I suggested meeting on a weekend when it’s more relaxed and we have time on us. As the call ended, these thoughts started circumferencing my mind.

“Happy Birthday! Hope you are having a good time” said my colleague. “Listen, I have a family function tonight, can you cover up for me in the meeting?” I didn’t know what to say! I wanted to tell him that it was the height of insensitivity, and why the superficial wishes when you don’t even care! Analyzing my silence and the ‘blank’ shocked look, he smiled his widest at me. “Thanks yaar, you are so dependable! Have a nice day”. I was wallowing in the significant brutality when it struck me.

What am I trying to do? Be a pillow for people to cry on? Ignore my friends and postpone meeting them? Not wanting to celebrate my birthday? I had become exactly what I detested most. I always told people to live lives as they wanted to, not be pushed and dragged in the crowd. Was all that just mere philosophy? Was I light years away from what I was advocating?
I dropped all work and went home. As I was unlocking the door, I heard someone. “Hello there, how are you. It has been months since I moved in, I have never seen you.” “Oh, I have long working hours I guess” I said unsurely. I wasn’t the kind to socialize with the neighbours. It came with a lot of contribution of time, and food delicacies, so I chose to stay away. Sundays had always been the lazy ones, or friend’s night out.

From where I could see her, she seemed very old and frail. “Come here, I made something special today!” “No, thank you I have something to finish.” “You people never pay heed to us oldies. Now come here at once.” I could not refuse the directive, and something within me struck a chord with her.
As I moved closer, and the rays of the sun touched her face, her wrinkles shone and smile widened. She put a delicate hand on my back and welcomed me into her house. I was amazed to see the colourful interiors. I could surely never invite her to my house, knowing how shabby it seemed now!

There were hand embroidered cushion covers with beautiful dancing folk on them. There was an old rosewood bookshelf with various classics. The dining area had been carefully arranged with beautiful small pots containing pickles; the aroma could be felt from a distance. The balcony had a neat arrangement of plants and vines, which slightly hung from her balcony. I had often looked at it from outside and praised it.

“What thoughts worry you now? Please sit down.” She sat down next to me and adjusted the spectacles on her nose. “I moved in last year, my grandson helped me. He is a darling boy, but his busy life keeps him away from me. His parents passed away years ago, and he lived with us. But that time I was young and he couldn’t move a finger without me around.” I could see her eyes moistening. I did not know what to say or do to comfort her.

“He lives in the other side of the city, you know. He is a fine theatre artist, very dedicated. I used to go regularly to see his performances. But then I had my knee problem and I can’t move around much.” I felt unhappy for her. I could never imagine myself being stuck at home all day. Here I was, trying to break free from my monotonous job, while this lady had to spend almost her entire life indoors.

“Today is his birthday. He promised he would come to see me, but I guess he has plans with friends. I made some kheer for him. Let me get it for you.” Was God just playing his usual games? I did not understand. I never had a grandmother who adored me and prepared delicacies just for me. “Here you go. I hope you like it.” And it was true; it was the most amazing kheer I had ever tasted!

“I have a special gift for you.” She took out a beautiful off white shawl. On it was embroidered the vines in her balcony, and the small bright flowers. It was very artistic to gaze at. “It is beautiful, thank you. But I can’t…” She did not let me finish my sentence and pressed it into my hands. “It is for you.”

We started talking about my family, my job and how I lived alone in the huge city. “You must be very brave for living alone. I used to be a mouse when someone even knocked at the door.” I couldn’t stop laughing at that comment. And suddenly I felt at ease with her.

We talked about books and food. She took me to the kitchen and started to teach me how to cook. In no time, we were giggling and eating lunch. Then we sat in the warmth of the sunlight in the balcony. Her transparent skin made her look angelic. I felt wonderful and blessed.

“Today is my birthday too. And tell you what, I couldn’t have had a better day than this.” She smiled and put the shawl around me. “This is what grandmas are for.” I hugged her and a tear tickled my eye. “Now don’t you start crying missie. Or I won’t give you anything else to eat!” And we both laughed at the statement. I couldn’t have asked for more on this day. The job and my life would anyway go on. They would be mundane sometimes, and fun at times. The essence was not to get carried away by life, but to carry life further. If I believed in soul mates, I was sure I had found one…as for other things, time could wait!



02/03/2010 2:32pm

while going thru this one, i felt u r a cry-baby...but later on i see u as a pretty sensible one.
but thr r a few unanswered questions: y did it happen only on ur b'day? y weren't you able to say NO? why do expected things end up giving u far less pleasure than the unexpected or unforeseen event? Somehow, chaos is important for life..isn't it?

02/03/2010 2:47pm

Good one. I liked your storytelling style. Made me emotional.

02/04/2010 8:35pm

Nice story. Liked it! Keep writing...

02/04/2010 8:51pm

Thanks for liking it. @Donnie - I agree with you on life's viewpoint. That's the whole point of the blog..to capture the unexpected!

02/04/2010 9:32pm

if the purpose of the blog is to capture the unexpected, then i believe purpose of this Comments section wld be to retrospect a bit over the captured ones? wht say??

Soham Mondal
02/05/2010 5:10pm

Lovely post Lovya :D, beautiful, poetic and touching, its a work of art :)

02/08/2010 8:34am

@Donnie - Sure you can retrospect and Introspect the blog however you like it.
@Soham - Thanks yaar :)

02/08/2010 9:58pm

I started reading ur posts randomly, but, now, hv become regular follower. Great work!

02/08/2010 10:42pm

Thanks Chandra....glad to hear that!

02/09/2010 1:50am

Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese, or of course scotch!

02/09/2010 12:46pm

Exactly my point!

02/10/2010 10:24pm

Hi ,
You have a nice style to connect . Nice thought process. Simplistic in approach. Goodluck


02/11/2010 10:50pm

Thanks Mads. Keep reading!

02/23/2012 7:11am

Like your words. Welcome you to my homepage!

07/18/2012 3:20pm

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07/21/2012 1:19pm

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09/05/2012 8:53pm

The contents of this article is very interesting, I am willing to read it, thank you it brings me happiness.

09/05/2012 8:57pm

So wonderful!Very worth to read.


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