I love my birthday and ever since I look forward to it every year.
“Happy Birthday Mehra!” Mummy gently wakes me up. I stir and feel groggy, effects of having slept late the night before since I was too excited, wanting to help out in decorating for my party. As I slowly open my eyes and get a kiss on my forehead, my lips curl into a slow but a big, wide smile. Realisation dawns – I am turning 8 today! I hug my mother and jump out of bed ready to begin my day. After the traditional ‘dudh-ful’ (milk-flower) bath, I get ready for the traditional ‘sagan’ where mummy makes me stand on a ‘patlo’ (short stool) and along with all the traditional offerings of a tika, flowers, a coconut and rice, I get my birthday gift which in the later years was given as cash in a ‘parbidiya’ (envelope). I am wearing my pretty, new dress which as the birthday girl I am allowed to wear in school today. I grab my bag and more important my pack of sweets (Ravalgaon mixed flavours) and hurry down to the car to take me to school.
|School friends at my 9th birthday party|
It usually starts at 6:00 pm with my pretty friends walking in with prettier looking gifts. I place all the gifts in my room trying my best not to take a peek through any of them while the party is on. Wafers, boiled eggs, chutney sandwiches all start coming out and when Mum is done with the kitchen and everyone gets busy, she comes out to make us play our party games. ‘Simon says..Do this- do that’, she shouts out.
|Playing ‘Simon says…’|
“Pass the parcel slowly girls,” she admonishes us when some of us try to rid of the parcel by almost throwing it at each other, but my personal favourite game is 4-corners which I think I am the best at. I am not fond of this game called ‘Statue’ where I always lose since I can never control my laughter! Then of course it is time for cake-cutting. Like all other years, I get to select my own cake design this time as well, which is in the shape of a house. I have had a doll, a puppy, a cat, and even a swimming pool over the years! So its “Happy Birthday” time again at the end of which Mummy puts a big piece of cake into my mouth.
|The hand behind all the effort|
|Bursting the balloon filled with confetti|
At the same time the extra-large balloon that Mummy carefully stuffed yesterday with all kinds of lovely things and which was waiting for this particular moment is burst over my head showering me and most others with all the confetti, candies, pencils, erasers, whistles, buttons and whatever else! A mad scramble ensues and we are down on all fours trying to collect as many as possible. Meanwhile mum tries to take the cake away before it is attacked upon for its characters, but I still manage to dive in and take a nice, big piece for my dog who has been greedily watching me so far, drooling all over the place.
|On my 10th birthday with my dog, Andy.|
Finally the table is cleared for the last part of the party – Dinner! Big heavy dishes start walking out of the kitchen and laid down carefully. But I have already had my fill of wafers and cake, so food doesn’t interest me too much. Mummy’s fruit salad after that is always a treat though and I heavily tuck into it. By the time the last guest leaves our house it is already quite late but not late enough to open my presents and I run to my room to start unwrapping the first of my many marvellous gifts!
|Yet another giggling moment!|
As I was searching through old albums looking for party photographs for this blog, I realised that I did not have to try too hard. There were enough photos taken of every party, every birthday cake, every year for both us sisters. In fact I had a very tough time trying to decide which ones to add here from the whole collection, as every photo carried a memory of the fun, the excitement, the childhood that is now left behind. It is amazing how many friends from the photographs I am still in touch with. Is it thanks to the social networking of today or is it due to the close bond that the society once shared that needed no ‘external’ link to make them communicate!
Among all this, one thing that I am sure about is that none of this – not the memoires, nor the friendships would have been possible without the untiring effort and supreme dedication of this one person in my life – My Mother! It’s MY birthday today only thanks to her!
|Me, my mum, my sis (my cousin peeping out in the foreground)|