Friday, January 06, 2006

Chronicles of a Birthday Girl.

Its birthday time. Tomorrow I am getting a year older. Somewhere along the line, birthdays stopped being important. Somewhere along the line, I stopped reminding people of my impending birthday. Somewhere along the line, I became old. OLD. Many years ago, balloons gave me the cheap thrills I sought. Now nothing less than hot air balloons would do the trick.

I dont recollect a better part of the past. Yes, age is catching up on me. A few slices of the Birthday (cake?):

The Third
: My cake was shaped like a castle. Exactly like the one in the book of rhymes I had. My creative addition: my favourite red car was parked right outside. From the book:

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and Spice and everything nice
Thats what little girls are made of!

The Fifth: My birthday dress was red and white. Checks. And it had apples in front. I distinctly remember thinking: Mango is a summer fruit, and apple is a winter fruit. And my birthday is in winter, hence it should be apples on my dress. Yes, logic came early to me. (Now I am in an eternal summer where mangoes and apples are available through the year)..... My birthday cake had five dolls. Their heads were made of biscuits, and had candles stuck on them. And their brown eyes were drawn with vanilla essence.

The Sixth: I received Readers' Digest (Richard Attenborough's) "The Living Planet" as a birthday Gift from Ma and Papa. Glossy books you would love running your fingers on, and they smelt so fresh. I was fascinated by the picture of the volcano. I promised to myself I will see a volcano, among other things, some day.

Few Years Later: I had a crush, a first. He hand-made a card. I still have it somewhere. It was before the sketchpen lined, crayon filled cards made way to the sweet-smelling-yet-fake cards from Archies/Hallmark. Till date, I havent understood the need for them.

The Sixteenth: I felt pretty. The dress was blue and red. Bright. The big group of people had made way to just a few close friends at home. I also felt grown up, rejected the hype around birthdays. People felt irrelevant. I felt irrelevant to people. But thankfully, this feeling was superficial. Between 10 pm and midnight that day, I received 15 phone calls, from people who mattered. To whom, I mattered.

The Eighteenth: Ma donated the defining words to history: "I give you your freedom". Used in quote-unquote a million times since, I still haven't understood the drama around hitting 18. I remember feeling responsible. Feeling adult. That's the day, I think, I lost my freedom.

The Few Fun years: Characterized by Midnight Birthday surprises (which weren't surprising at all), big get togethers, noisy celebrations. We made plans of the big life ahead, which was ironic since figuring what to wear in the morning seemed like a big decision then. I miss that. Sometime in one of those birthdays, I also received my first bottle of Escada Margaritha Ley. My love affair with perfumes started. I have the bottle. Still. Almost empty. Smells as sweet.

2002: Four days before the dreaded GRE. Remember being full of words, big ones: The "phobias" and the "-isms" finally got a name. Normal distribution was the common enemy in more ways than one. I also spent time figuring how Dave and Joe and Harry managed to live in a strange lane full of different coloured houses, where noone got along with anyone else. Remember being worried sick. About future. About the present. About why I couldn't manipulate the past. Remember watching "Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham" and not forgiving myself for it. Till date.

2003: Four days after I landed in Singapore. I missed Chennai, I missed Bangalore. I missed the comforts. More so, I missed the people. I lived in denial, so much so, that I didnt want any new friends. Phone rang almost incessantly all day. Considering the fact that noone knew my phone number yet, I felt important.

Last year: My close friend and partner in many a crime forgot my birthday. And I spent the whole day believing he was playing a prank and would call 5 minutes before midnight. At 230 am (Midnight IST), I realized that he really forgot. Will give him grief over it for ever and a day more. Hence etched it here.

Dad wrote a touching mail stating he never realized when I grew up from a small baby to an individual with a mind of my own. I took that as a compliment. I think he wanted to use the word "lady" somewhere, but I didnt fit into the role too well. After reading the mail, I cried for an hour.

This year: Pretentious as it my sound, I gift myself: a real yet surreal alter-ego, my nemesis. A quick trip to Malaysia, and a blog written with narcissistic fervour.


fizz said...

:) the narcissistic fervour dished out quite a post! hope its here to stay.

*happy* birthday. i was jealous throughout the post btw, i never had a fancy shaped cake.

Mo said...

Ah fizz, my mom used to bake them.

Sinfully Pinstripe said...

Know what, somewhere along the way, I have forgotten to write the way you wrote this post. Unfortunate.
Was looking at the old posts, and was greatly surprised. It was there once, y'know. I could once write words which came out true. Not anymore. Pretense is all that's left.

Really lovely post. Yeah, remember those birthday treats and parties... Green onion and earthen oven and ... what were those restaurants? Simpler days....

Mo said...

Yes, green onion and earthen oven, and aangan.
Those days have just vanished.

ROhan said...

OMG !!! ..

i forgot tooo .. :-((

and I still remember the 2002 section. we had all gone to college (i dunno for what). But you had a pretty white dress :-)