It could have been a less than ordinary birthday. It could have. Given the lockdown and the slim supplies and an empty bar and what not.
But many special, not ordinary things happened.
I woke up to the remnants of a nights light rain. My adenium that I’d given up on six months ago burst forth to life, with not one but two bright death-defyingly pink flowers.
My mother was first to wish me.
My grandmother wished me by telling me she remembered my birth story vividly because she was the only one waiting outside the labour ward. She told me how they brought me out, still bloody and slimy, pink and wet, and in the twelve steps it took to get to the waiting area I’d managed to shove the entirety of my fist snugly in my mouth, vigorously sucking. Making wildly loud noises, both eyes looking deceptively placid. Apparently.
VC wished me every time he approached me. Approximately 36 times, I think.
We ate Maggi for lunch and I took a longer than long nap.
I woke up to a telephone call from an aunt who called to wish me, who I ended up speaking to for over 45 minutes about everything from getting older to why I am glad I didn’t have babies to the state of our country.
Another aunt wished me with a memory of my 1st birthday. A raucous affair in my grandparents home in Bombay, by the end of which I had abandoned all other kids, apparently. Stripped down to my diapers. And with a random string of colourful beads that had found their way around my neck, too long for me, bobbing around my baby belly.
My dearest Niyu cooked me this massive storm. And planned this epic, dreamy garden themed sundowner party of three. It was perfect, and unlike anything I’d have possibly had if it weren’t for the lockdown.
It began at 5.30 and ended close to midnight. There was some gourmet level finger food all made by her singlehandedly at home, fresh fruit and cheese, drinks form my dad’s bar hahahaha, sunlight fading, this overgrown garden that hasn’t been touched by the gardener in over a month, drawing games!, music and what not.
Dinner was a sumptuous Asian style cold noodle dish with shrimp and a side of kung pao meatballs.
I did the smartest thing I could have and Swiggy’d a salted caramel chocolate cake to myself, for myself. Yes, I do this a lot. I’ve done it before too — sort my own birthday cake out.
It was truly, easily one of the nicest birthdays I have ever had. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Niyu has an excellent track record of throwing great dinners like this, in general. But she has a particularly great track record with throwing me surprise birthday dinners. Which I have only ever reciprocated once — on her 18th. Such an ingrate, but what can I say? I’m incredibly lucky?
I came home thinking of how I have ended up with VC and Niyu on so many birthdays now. And they’re easily amongst the most memorable birthdays for me.