Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan turned 40 today and celebrated the occasion by donating cash for cancer patients.
"Heartfelt thank you to everyone for the wishes. It's a good coincidence that my birthday comes with Diwali... It's a celebration time. I am thankful to God for this life... Thankful to my parents for this gift of life. It means a lot to me. I embrace everything that life gives me," Aishwarya said.
"Every year I help cancer patients and this year also I have donated some amount.
Every year I do something like this... It is something my parents have taught me - to do something meaningful as it makes a difference to those people. I believe in doing service for the society," said the actress, dressed in a red salwar suit on her big day.
Aishwarya, who married fellow actor Abhishek Bachchan in 2007, said her daughter Aaradhya is the best gift to her.
"Aaradhya means the world to me. She is the best gift of my life. Two years ago when I was expecting baby that time was extremely special," she said.
Her daughter even sang a birthday song for her.
"Since last evening she (Aaradhya) is wishing me happy birthday mama. Even at midnight she sang birthday song but with her name. It was sweet of her," she said.
This year it will be a quiet birthday for her with family and close friends.
Born to a family with no showbiz connections, Aishwarya's tryst with destiny began 22 years ago, when she appeared in style bible American Vogue. At the age of 17, she started out as a model, and later became Miss World.
"I never thought I will be here. Everyone in my family is an academician... So I also followed that part. But destiny had something else in store for me. I am happy God chose this route for me," she said.
Aishwarya made her first film appearance in 1997's Telugu flick 'Iruvar', directed by Mani Ratnam, opposite Southern superstar Mohanlal.
Her first Bollywood movie was 'Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya', which released the same year but tanked at the box office.
Her successful hits include 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam', 'Devdas', 'Dhoom 2', 'Guru', 'Jodhaa Akbar', 'Sarkar Raj', 'Raavanan' and 'Enthiran' among others.
She has also done international movies like 'Bride And Prejudice', 'Provoked', 'The Mistress Of Spices' and 'Pink Panther 2'.
"I have had a fruitful journey. I am happy to be a part of the family (Bachchan family) who are into this industry for years," she said.
While her comeback to silver screen is awaited, she says it will take time as the filmmakers who she is going to work with are busy with release of their respective films.
Aishwarya, awarded Padma Shri by the Indian government, has also been named Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS.