What does a birthday mean?

October 23, 2006

When one is 52, what does a birthday mean?

In the family I grew up in, we didn’t have birthday parties and such. On the date that the Hindu star fell (my star is Uttaraphalguni, or Uttaram in Tamizh), one might be taken to the temple by parents, and a set of new clothes might be bought…that’s it!

The family I married into is also not much into celebrating birthdays, though of course the nephews and nieces have the Chucky Cheese type outings nowadays!

But I am feeling tremendously happy today…because….

Friends kept dropping in yesterday, even past midnight, to wish me. (This resulted in something I will talk about anon.)

I felt loved and happy.

The train journey from Bangalore to Chennai was full of amazing bird-sightings. Three different varieties of DRONGOS, two types of KINGFISHERS, a SHIKRA, RED-RUMPED SWALLOWS, and several CORMORANTS made sure my eyes were stuck to the window most of the time.

I called my daughter because we were laughing about the way she had filled up the powerpoint presentation for the company, pending our putting in the technical stuff. “The CEO of SEP is KM, who is a person noted for brushing his teeth everyday, and does not beat up his workers more than twice a week.”

Chennai today has lovely, cloudy, cool, rainy weather which I LOVE.

A dear friend who was very sleepy when I called him the first time suddenly woke up and called back and wished me. Good morning A!

When we got out of the auto near the guest house where we are staying, I saw an Indian cork tree with its beautiful flowers spread in a heady-smelling carpet on the road and pavement. I gathered together a lot of flowers and the scent in our room is so wonderful…the best things in life are, really, free….

…Oh, and the incident…the last of our friends to visit yesterday had a little daughter who took such a mighty fancy to us that she was not willing to leave unless we left with her; so past midnight, we had to take a drive with them (they came back to ring our doorbell as she was crying!) and finally managed to convince her that we would visit soon…KM was feeling feverish and was tossing and turning, and I came awake at 3.45 am and decided to snooze a bit more…when we both woke up, it was 6.10 am and the train was at 6.30 am!!

So we took the Honda City, and drove,not to the City Station from which the train (Lalbagh Express) departs, but to the Cantonment Station where it reaches 15 minutes later. We called another dear friend (oh, yes, we are plentifully supplied with them, that’s another reason I am happy!) and asked him to pick up the car from the station, which is walking distance from his home. We made it quite comfortably on to the train, too! Within minutes of our going into the station, he called that he had taken charge of the car (we had of course left it open but didn’t advertise the fact!) We went to sleep, relieved, after the train started, and woke up smiling at each other, that two rattle-brained people had managed yet again!

I must actually post pictures of this wonderful little station for my non-Indian friends. It is a relic from the British past, as of now has TWO platforms, and is SO very beautiful in its architecture and its setting..the Chennai/Bangalore railway line passes through the city streets and many of us have the option of taking the train at either City, Cantonment, or Krishnarajapuram, God bless Bangalore!

I often joke with my last-minute-to-the-airport husband that he also needs a Cantonment airport…

And, this evening, we are attending a “Sangeet”(Music) session to do with the wedding of our friends’ son. It is also the brides’ birthday today; and our friends’ son in law is also an excellent singer and we expect a LOT of great singing today. What a LOVELY way to spend a birthday!

So…with all the the scrapes and the sightings and the sangeet, and the simple sweetness of the affection I get from everyone…it’s been a great birthday so far!

Happy co-birthday, !