When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother "what will I be…?” I am far from humming the Dorris Day popular number, instead recollecting this question which I asked my mother especially on my birthday and that too a zillion times. I thought Birthdays to be magical days, whatever you wish was granted and I surmised that by next birthday I would grow up enough to be what I wanted to be! During childhood my birthday was just my day, I was the crowned princess on that day. From distributing toffees in school, to surprise presents, dress and card - all was mine. Until, I came to know that it was my maa’s birthday too. Oh! It’s a little uncommon but not strange though. All these years maa patiently, meticulously and ardently prepared for my birthday. Why didn’t she mention that before? Because she wanted me to be the cynosure of all eyes on that day, probably that’s how she celebrated her own.
So, for me it was ignorance, whining and then acceptance that I have to share my day, or I thought so! Seems hilarious, now. Then, during teens, with hope, vivacity and sparkle in my eyes I was happy to exchange wishes with maa on our birthday. The day whizzed past with hosting friends, trip to movies, a touch of glitz and glam and ofcourse breaking the rules without worrying for penalty.
Back home, maa and dida waited to have the special meal with me. Oh! I did oblige them..(haa haa) ‘Payesh’ prepared by my dida with jaggery and a typical fried rice and chilly chicken, an exceptional dish by maa, made me feel on cloud nine. They were happy to see me share a meal with them, even though it was the fag of the day. A gift of giving, I couldn’t fathom it completely at that point of time.
As I grew out of teens and paraded towards maturity, my excitement knew no bounds on our birthday. The paradigm shift from birthday being my day to devise ways to surprise maa on her birthday and scouting for the best possible gifts with my permissible pocket money.
“…..Oh forget my birthday, you are young, it’s your day. I am quite grown up,” was her sheepish response. She never used the clichéd word “old”…the trait she got from her mother. My octogenarian dida detested if someone called her old lady. What amused me then…even amuses me now. Earlier I thought it to be humorous not to accept one’s age, now I glean how positive, energetic and young they were at heart!
Then came a day when I had my Birthday to myself again. Not to share with anyone, not even my mother. I reminisced quietly, wanted to hold on and go back to days where we blew out the candles together. Never counted the candles, probably merged with ageless love and affection.
A mother and daughter or creator and creation being one, all in revelry and celebratory mood.
I was pensive and huddled in a solitary corner as I missed my companion in celebration. When my thoughts drifted to faraway land, I heard a loud thud as the door opened with utmost might. A cacophonous Happy Birthday song, in high decibel and in chorus-by my kids. My daughter darted in the room and hugged me while my son sprinted in and nestled on my lap. They gave me cute presents for which they saved their pocket money. My daughter placed a flower beside her nini’s photo and wished her Happy Birthday.
Who said I lost my companion in celebration? Part of me is gone but part of me is here too. I was the world for my maa and now I am the world for my kids.
So, from ignorance, whining, acceptance, jubilation, contemplation, giving up and now celebration again…This is Seven Ages of a Woman and still to be continued….
Today I again celebrated…I celebrated the Relations.