Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Born Again

What would you do if it was the eve of your birthday? Would you have a lot of friends or relatives at home? Party hard till midnight? Booze? And perhaps that's the way you celebrated most of your birthdays so far. Frankly, I have never had a birthday when I had been surrounded by people who joined me to celebrate my birthday the previous night. It has always been me and only me, counting up to twelve o'clock and suddenly out of nowhere, at the stroke of midnight, people start pouring in their birthday wishes to me in the form of calls and messages. Duh, it was the same this time too. I had hoped that at least this time, Ganesh and Vandhana, my cousins and my best buddies would come over. Unfortunately, as my birthday fell on a Friday, Ganesh had to go to his workplace and couldn't take a day off. Vandhana, on the other hand, had other commitments as well, and she too couldn't turn up. So this year's birthday was like a deja vu of the previous one. Parents sleeping off by 10.30p.m and I'm alone in my room, just like what happened last year. Two of my friends called up at 11 or 11.15 and wished me because they felt so sleepy that they couldn't hold themselves awake any longer. At around 11.30, Ganesh sent me this text : "Advanced bday wishes re .. I might sleep off .. I am very sorry if I don't call u at 12 .. ". Now, it was almost 12a.m., and Ganesh called up and wished me. I was delighted that he was awake for me and I sensed that he was already half asleep by the tone in which he was talking to me. Exactly at the same time, Vandhana's text arrived. These were the exact words : "Happy birthday Gautam makada :) Wish you all success :) Enjoy life :) My fav cousin, you're sweet. Be the same, don't change :) Computer Boy You Rock :p ". The word "Makada" translates to "Monkey" in English. After reading this, it brought a big, broad smile on my face! Among friends, Kartikeya Agrawal, one of my close friends at school and even now, was the first to call me. This has been a tradition for the past three years, that he has been the first person to call me on my birthday. Many other school mates and college mates called up and wished, and I was so surprised that they still remember my birthday. Now, I was expecting a call from Vandhana, which never arrived, who instead chose to wish me by sending out the text I mentioned earlier. I was a bit sad for it, although I did not mention it to her, because I didn't want her to feel bad. The call rates started dropping by 12.45a.m and I kept attending calls till 1.15 a.m when there were no more calls after that. This brought a close to the eve of my birthday.

The next day I rose at 7a.m., and according to our tradition, one is supposed to wake up early in the morning (say at 4a.m) and apply oil on the hair and have a bath in the morning. On this day, me being the birthday boy, defied all these and had bath only at ten. Chuck it, I was talking about the time I woke up. My Mom and Dad were the first ones to wish me in person. My 'Athya' or aunt who lives with us, followed up and then came my granny who wished me too. I went downstairs to my uncle's house, where my cousins Srilatha and Sriram, who are only 7 and 4 years old, wished me. I was now brimming with happiness when my uncle and aunt wished next. Vandhana had told me that she would come home and we'd go for shopping. As my birthday falls on the 24th of June, a day wich comes when the schools are usually closed for summer vacations, in the 12+ years of my school life, I haven't celebrated my birthday at school more than a couple of times. It pretty much means that birthday is more or less like a normal day for me, just that on this day, people are nice to me and I don't get scolded by my parents! But this day was different. And two people made the difference, one among whom gets the maximum credits. Vandhana chose to travel a distance of 20 kms by public transport, and all by herself to reach my place at 10.30 am. She had got me a wrist watch, which looked really expensive and wonderful, which I've treasured at my home. In my room, I showed her some things that I had preserved, which meant a lot to me. I showed her the shells that we collected at the beach in Mumbai ten years ago, when we were kids. I also showed her the autograph book that she had bought me when I had visited her house during my summer holidays when I was around 14. Another thing that surprised her was when I showed the beads which I collected around 4 years ago, with which, back then at Ganesh's place she had arranged them in such a way that it spelt 'Van', the first three letters of her name. This are only some few things that are souvenirs from the past.

We left home after two hours to purchase a few things that I had planned to buy as my college was due to reopen on 29th of June and I had not bought any civil supplies to sustain my life there. In the course of buying, I took her to the length and breadth of Anna Nagar, twice or thrice, over and over. After that, we went to Nungambakkam to shop for clothes. She selected a shirt for me that looked really good (That is according to what people tell me, as I don't know to judge clothes by looking at them) and I selected a tops for her, which looked really cute on her. We had a filling lunch at a Rajasthani Dhaba at Anna Nagar and later, we left for Nanganallur, to Ganesh's house. As soon as we arrived, both of us left for the famous Anjaneya Temple at Nanganallur and had a great Darshan. I made that poor kid walk all along the way, and she did complain, but I dragged her along!

At around ten pm, Mr. Ganesh Gururajan came home. As soon as he saw me, he shook my hand and wished me happy birthday. Now, there's a reason why I spent the night at Ganesh's house. I've been a Chennai for ten years now, and for all these ten years, I've spent all my birthdays with him, except two, when he was at Singapore for his MBA. It's become a customary practice for me to spend my birthday in his presence, for he's my mentor and a great source of inspiration. I've been with him since my childhood and each and every action of his has inspired me and I really enjoy his presence and spent almost all my summer holidays with him. It feels really great to be with him, for he has always got something to say that makes me laugh. So I badly wanted to see him on this birthday too, and it happened! Now, there was another reason why Vandhana and I had been to Ganesh's place that night. We wanted to discuss certain 'business strategies and ideas' that both of us had discussed and speculated all day. We told him a couple of ideas what we had thought and he gave some insights of why certain businesses flourish and why others perish. Vandhana and I just gave glances towards each other as Ganesh used certain technical words here and there which made us feel that he was doing justice to his MBA degree. Later, we retired for the night and decided to sleep, as it was 12 am. I sent one last text message to Vandhana, who was sleeping in the next room. The message said "My birthday is over :( ".

Well, I guess a birthday can be more than a party or booze or having tens of friends gathered around you. It can be better just by spending time with some of your best buddies. This day was wonderful to me and I was a happy man at the end of the day. Thanks to Vandhana and Ganesh, they are the best people I know on earth. Time flies when I spend it with them. And poor me, I'm jailed at this college that is more than 300 km away from them and I get to see them like for one day or two in a month. Sorry for the delay in posting this one, as I had to think and write a lot for it, and blame the lack of time. I must have posted this a month ago, but I couldn't, but I was sure that I will not fail to do it as I felt that I haven't had a better birthday than this one. I felt I was born again.


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