Many people shy away from birthdays. They feel only children can celebrate their birthdays. Yet others feel every single day comes only once a year, so what is the big deal about birthdays. Some feel bad that they are another year older.
But my views on birthdays are different.I truly go all out to do something special on the birthdays of those closest to me. Do I expect them to return the favour? Of course not! It is not like I would feel disappointed if these people do not wish me or give me a gift.
However, when someone close to me, does make that extra effort, it does make me feel really special.(on my last birthday when I was visiting India from UK, one of my closest friends flew from Delhi just to spend the day with me and that made my day truly unforgettable. In fact, this story of our friendship will appear soon in the Indian edition of Chicken soup for the friend's soul).
My birthday that just went by (It was on 21st December, I turned 39 and I am very proud of my age unlike many who try to hide it :-) ) was truly one of the best ones I have had in a long long time. The doorbell rang at 11.30.p.m on 20th and there was a bouquet of red roses, a chocolate cake and a wine बोतल (the delivery slip said 'botal'- heh heh) that was delivered. The sender was another of my very good friends. There was also a card that said " The good thing about being forty (39) is that you can appreciate twenty five (26) year old men." I wondered why my friend decreased his age by one (outside the bracket) and increased mine by one (within the brackets) .When I opened the 'wine बोतल' it turned out that it was actually a whiskey bottle! Of course I texted my friend immediately to tell him about the mistake and he texted back saying "Oh #$%* I will kill them" which I found sweetly amusing (and I chuckled inwardly). I texted back hastily (before he set out to kill them :P ) saying I drink whiskey too and it was okay :-). Then I switched off my phone as I knew that I would be flooded with midnight calls and texts. Very smartly, he called up on Satish's number and of course spoke to me and wished me and he said "You thought that if you switch off your phone I won't call you or what?" Somehow the effort he made to reach me, truly moved me. He also explained the mystery behind the card when he told me it was a famous quote by Collen Mc Cullough who said
"The lovely thing about being forty is that you can appreciate twenty-five-year-old men." :-)
On the next day (which was my birthday) I was again totally swept off my feet when Satish told me that he had taken the whole day off to spend it with me. My two kids and he had planned surprises for me throughout the day! It began when the doorbell rang and my three conveniently vanished, leaving me to answer the door. When I opened, there was a bouquet of THIRTY NINE red roses (Oh my God!) and two teddy bears and a black forest cake! But that was not all--- Every hour, they had planned a surprise for me! It included a lovely spa package, an extremely moving poem (which he had composed and framed and which spoke of out 15 years together), a hand written book and a lot more! Each hour there was a thoughtful gift and a surprise (which I oepned in between the many phone calls I got wishing me). I was truly flabbergasted, astonished, overwhelmed.They took me out to a marvellous place in the evening. The best was yet to come. When we came back they asked me whether my day had been great (Were they kidding?! It had been marvellous!) and what gift I liked the best (it was undoubtedly the framed poem composed by Satish). Then Satish gives me THIRTY NINE cards! (OH MY GOD!!) He had taken care to choose each card and he has a truly wicked sense of humour (as many of you know from his guest posts. Incidentally he too has been published in Chicken soup for the father's soul). Some of the cards moved me to tears and some of them had me clutching my sides with laughter. He had written such lovely and such hilarious things. Then he also gifted me a diamond ring (with seven natural diamonds!) and matching diamond ear-rings.
For me, more than the value of the gift, it is the thoughtfulness that goes into it, that counts. More than the diamonds, I still valued the poem and the hand written book. I absolutely was swept away by the effort he made.
Sometime back Ramesh of Business Musings who is also a dear friend, had gifted my son (on his 13th b'day) a very thoughtful gift--a lovely photography book. Ever since then my son has been experimenting with the camera on the manual mode. I am his favourite model (as his dad and sis have considerably less patience than me :-) ) and on the day after my birthday, my son clicked these pictures of me (with camera on manual mode--can you believe?!) which I totally love and which manage to express exactly how I felt about my birthday :-) I am sharing these pictures with you.
And now reflecting back on my special day, I am convinced three times over that the BEST present of all is the presence and love of good friends and family, all blissfully wrapped up in one another :-)
Ps: And a big thank you to so many many of you who sent me messages wishing me. I think I have replied personally to each one. I truly appreciate and value the wishes.