A glow that only birthdays bring

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

“Just two days more to go for your birthday!” my mother gushes every year, making me feel like a child again. My father dedicates a special poem every year, and my daughter, who loves celebrating not only her birthday but also everybody else’s meticulously plans the event along with my husband. Every detail is taken care of, leaving no space for short cuts. From a very young age, even before she was able to read or write, she would only open her gift after one of us read the card affixed on the box.

This time, the day began quite early with a treasure hunt. Every stop had a wrapped surprise with a funny message. The excitement was so palpable that I was compelled to join the singing of the birthday song. Right from Zomato delivering the breakfast to minimise my work, to a night packed with good food and fun, the day was filled with love.

On the office front, every birthday was celebrated with a small toast. Our office head always looked special on his birthday. For him, birthdays were an opportunity to wear a new shirt that his wife bought from Westside, and eating the special food she cooked.

At home, we have instituted a policy that on a birthday, nobody gets left behind. If we were hosting a party that year, my daughter would invite the whole class. We also made it tradition to celebrate the birthday of our maid, who is an active participant in our house. When asked for her special day, she said she did not know when and instead gave us the season and phase of the moon. Determined to unearth the date, we came to the conclusion it was in August based on this information. The next clue that we uncovered was that her family lived next to a school that had celebrated Independence Day on the day she was born. This was the last piece in the puzzle and led to the discovery that her special day fell on Independence Day. And the planning for her special day began with gusto!

D-day arrived. We waited but there was no sign of Kasturi, someone who had not missed a day of work! And here we were, waiting with cake and presents. It was close to mid-morning when we decided to put away the decorations. I grumbled as usual and was about to put the teapoy away when the bell rang. My daughter raced to the door and there stood Kasturi, in a new saree with flowers in her hair and a dash of lipstick. “Sorry, Amma, I am late”, she said shyly. “Today is my birthday and my husband bought me this saree,” she said as she opened her bag to reveal jasmine flowers neatly wrapped in banana leaves. “For you Amma, Akka and God”, she explained. Her gesture touched our hearts, and we had a chance to witness a glow on her face that only a birthday can bring!

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