Friday, April 26, 2013
Last night we had a friend of Ritu's over for Dinner.This lady named Matangi also happens to be Ritu's ex Boss and lives in Singapore.During the course of our conversation a few topics came up which partly set off a chain of Memories but also provided fresh fodder for thought!!Matangi's mother is more known as "Amma" than by her personal name is a sprightly lady turning 80 this year.She is an inspiration to folks like me because of the manner in which she approaches life---indefatigable and enthusiastic about everything in general!!Matangi's throwing an intimate Dinner Party for her--and we were invited to it too---the answer I gave is what is puzzling me.
I refused---because to be totally honest I just do not want to participate in any kind of social activity even though the person whom it is for is someone I find personally inspirational and motivating.There is this desire to keep to my own company--at the same time I mean no disrespect to Amma. Another conversation that I had with Sayali over my 60th. birthday that falls later this year also has some common ground.I'm not keen to celebrate it---because to me it is just a date and nothing more.What I would really like would be to just spend some quality time bonding with my immediate family--not a Party or any kind of Festivities.This is not a new thing--I had wanted to bring in my 50th.Birthday with just Sudhir for company but he along with my mother,his and my siblings felt differently and we had a Family Get-together at our home.
Sudhir had many phobias---not celebrating his own Birthday and our Wedding Anniversary ever was one of these.All our Anniversaries were something we celebrated by being just the two of us together--and I loved that--because we both agreed on it being a special day for us and we loved keeping it exclusive.That is why we never went out of the way to celebrate our Silver Wedding--much to my brother-in-law Milind's chagrin.It was he who rounded up the siblings from both sides of the family along with my mother and we had an impromptu Celebration at our home here--for they all landed up at the same time with huge parcels of Mutton Biryani and Fried Fish and Salad--while we were planning on spending the evening by ourselves!!Our oldest nephew shares his Birthday with our Anniversary and his wife had thrown a Party to celebrate it---and all our kids were there---living it up!!However it turned out to be a nice Anniversary--maybe not as private as we had hoped but still cosy and lots of Fun!!
Sudhir hated celebrating his birthdays--he just didn't like the idea at all!!So except for his 50th.--when the entire immediate and extended Family descended on us in full force--we never ever celebrated any of his birthdays. This one too was something that I'll never ever forget.I had been informed by everyone in advance that they'd not miss this one and that they'd be there for his Birthday and so I'd made arrangements to have a huge Shamiana/Marqee in the Garden with Tables and Chairs and a Food Counter.Unfortunately a young neighbour of mine asked him about whose party it was and why.That did it---the arrangements had to be cancelled!!He raised Hell and we were seriously quarreling for a week before the Event--and finally I had to run around making space in our Flat for more than 60 adults and children running around our Flat which honestly was a bit of a tight fit--when it could have been so much more comfortable in the Garden!!To top it all--the Electricity chose that very night to black out--and his birthday was celebrated in a very traditional style--a typical old fashioned Menu with all his favourite dishes--- more than 5 Vegetable and Dal Curries,5 Sweet Courses,2 Rice Courses and about 5 different types of Salad served with the usual "Papads," Vegetable Fritters, deep fried Indian Bread called" Puries" not to forget the dried Mangosteen shells Curry with Coconut Milk known as "Sol Kadhi" and Yoghurt--a "pucca" Traditional Vegetarian Dinner by Candlelight!!I had cooked each and everything myself and it was served with the low "Chourangas" or four legged low tables to keep the Banana Leaf on and the traditional "paats" or floor level wooden slats to sit on.I had drawn the "Rangoli" patterns around each individual table with coloured Marble Dust on the floor and the scent from the overflowing trays filled with "Chaaphaa" Flowers mingled with the scent of his favourite Sandal Wood Incense creating an ethereal Atmosphere---it was sublimely spiritual and very,very beautiful!!Maybe God wanted me to have my dream after all!!
Sudhir would love celebrating my birthdays till I fell sick---and that was when he just stopped.He was very superstitious about being too expansive and perhaps the serious aspect of my illnesses made him very vulnerable and scared about my living long enough--at least till he lived!!The result of this was those intimate little Birthdays I craved--just him and me.In 2011 he suddenly insisted we go out for my birthday and visit all our old haunts--and it was truly beautiful for me.The Rain swept view of the Gateway of India from our favourite table at The Sea Lounge at The Taj Palace,the walk down "Kala Ghoda" and a drive down a Wind and Rain swept Marine Drive and Worli Sea Face put the crown on a perfect day--and the Memory is something i shall treasure as long as I live!!He died a bare 45 days later--and now Birthdays no longer hold any magic for me--they are just days when one realises that one has lived for another year according to the Calendar!!