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Birthdays are days of joy, happiness and days when you can demand anything and everything. Mommy dear will cook all your favorite items starting from breakfast to dinner and daddy the great will give the best toy in the town he can (even though he finds it a bit difficult to afford) as your birthday gift. Apart from this you will have your favorite sweet dish as dessert. Yummy!!! Evenings will definitely mean birthday parties. Friends pour in one after another and piling up of gifts seems unending. Wow! This is the most awaiting moment of the day. Time for the big happy birthday cake. Cakes are mostly designed as some famous cartoon characters’ face, generally taste chocolaty, the very famous flavor among children. Mommy lights up the candles pierced into the cake and everybody’s face lights up just like the candle and of course few empty mouths start watering. An unsynchronized so-called-chorus, the ‘happy birthday to you’ song echoes the entire room. And within seconds you find your beautiful yummy cake in pieces. Confused who to feed the first bite, you still decide while mommy pushes a small piece of cake into your mouth. Then comes daddy’s turn. All your friends wait for the piece of cake to enter their mouths and unfortunately their wait extends a bit longer. Snacks served in small disposable plats are handed over to each one of your friends along with a piece of cake in it. Munch munch dinner and bye-bye friends. The most important part of the day has now come in. Unwrap all the gifts you received from your friends. Every time you unwrap a new gift, your face glows even brighter than before. And finally your birthday has come to an end. You go to your bed with all your gifts on one side and you on the other. With a lovely smile on your face you wish that your birthday never ends and you are soon fast asleep.
Fancy are those birthdays, when you had nothing to do except eating your favorites and unwrap gifts. As a child you never notice that these birthdays are adding an year extra to your age. By the time you realize this you are already playing the role of a wife and a daughter-in-law apart from being a daughter. Daddy’s doll and mummy’s princess has grown up to be a beautiful wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law. Delicate little hands joined and soft pink lips prayed, once upon a time, to fulfill the weirdest of your wish come true. You still join hands and pray God but not to fulfill your weirdest wish but this time to keep your new family happy and prosperous always. Time spent to play with toys is now spent to cook food, wash the dishes, mop the floor and keep your home clean and beautiful every day. All your fun time activities change into duties and responsibilities.
In spite of this new role you still wait for your birthday. You start to become a child again when your birthday month finally begins. You rewind back to all those years when you had big birthday parties at home. You compare your present birthday with the previous one, obviously expecting something new to happen this time. And before you come out of your flashback days and enter the present world you realize that it’s your birthday tomorrow. You go to sleep as always, expecting a beautiful birthday and just when you close your eyes and go into a deeper sleep you find your husband dear turning towards you, still asleep. You then notice that the clock struck 12 and yes, it’s your birthday. You look into your husband’s half opened eyes and find yourself in his arms. You get a tight hug and a gentle kiss and here comes your first birthday wish, “Happy Birthday Baby”. Before you realize what happened just now, your husband is already fast asleep. With a half smile on your face, you recollect all your past birthdays, your parents, your siblings, your friends, your birthday gifts and just when you fall asleep you wake up again and this time it’s your alarm. You are wide awaken now. You stretch your body, take your blanket off, look at your husband, who is still fast asleep and then look at your bedroom door. You don’t find your parents entering your room early in the morning and wishing you “Happy Birthday Sweetheart” but yes, your mobile phone beeps and here’s a beautiful birthday message from mommy and daddy. You thank them with gratitude and walk straight into the bathroom. You shampoo your hair and clean your body as everyday but still feel that you are more beautiful today than that every day. Happily hoping out of the bathroom, you open the door of your wardrobe to get dressed up. Your new frilled frock changes into a five meter long saree. You quickly drape it and rush for your daily prayers. You thank God for another beautiful birthday and as always thank God for giving you a happy and prosperous family. Your mouth doesn’t water by the smell of your favorite sweet dish. You then realize that you have to start cooking. Oh Wait! You are not cooking your favorite anymore!!! You cannot bore everybody by cooking the same favorite sweet dish as always. You quickly prepare something new, hoping that your family likes it. You finish garnishing and turn around to find your family waiting for you outside the kitchen. “Happy Birthday”, they all say in chorus and your happiness knows no bounds. You quickly seek the blessings of all the elders and thank the rest with a sweet smile on your face. Though the child in you gets disappointed for not getting any birthday gifts yet, you happily get satisfied thinking that blessings from elders is the best gift you can ever get. Within the next few minutes you quickly set the dining table and serve everybody your new recipe. You get a couple of praises and a couple of questions asking the method of preparation. Though you don’t feel like letting everybody know how you have prepared, you still explain them the procedure of preparation (you may even get a few tips for your own dish). Everybody disperses after breakfast and you quickly clean the table and rush into the bedroom coz you know your husband’s waiting for you. You look at him shyly; he puts his arms around your waist, pulls you nearer and whispers gently in your ears, “You are looking gorgeous baby”. Well, you got a first praise for your new saree. Before you could feel the moment, your husband rushes out of the room to start for office. Your birthday is no special to your husband to give an excuse in the office for coming late. You follow your husband till the main door and just when you raise your hand to wave him good-bye, you find him walking back towards you. This time you are completely clueless. Your hubby darling slides his credit card into your hand and asks you to buy anything you like as your birthday gift. You smile back at him, not knowing what to do with this credit card, wave him good-bye and come back to start your daily routine work. By the time you finish all your household chores, its evening. It’s time to prepare dinner. Evening is now spent cooking dinner rather than receiving friends, holding gifts, serving snacks and smiling happily every time when somebody wishes you a happy birthday. This evening your doorbell rings only once. It’s your husband of course and you find a small packet in his hand. Yes, it’s your birthday cake. Though your big cartoon faced birthday cake has turned to a small square shaped birthday cake, you are still contended. Your family gathers in the living area. Blowing candles is no more advisable. So you simply cut the cake and hear the same unsynchronized chorus singing happy birthday to you and at the end getting confused as to which relation they should apply all together. This time the chorus is worse. You give your first piece of cake to your husband and then the rest of the family take their turns to push small pieces of cake into your mouth. You have a family dinner at home, which you actually have everyday, but still feel special and proud today. By the time you finish cleaning everything, putting things in appropriate places and go back to your room to sleep, you find your very tired husband sleeping happily after a delicious dinner prepared by you. You bolt the door quietly, change into your nightgown and sleep beside your husband trying not to disturb him. Before falling asleep you realize that your birthday is over.
Though you feel something is missing on your very special day, you never come to know what that is. You get a happy birthday wish at 12 midnight, you have a delicious sweet dish for you at breakfast, you receive blessings from elders as gifts, you get your husband’s credit card to buy a birthday gift, you cut cake in the evening with your family and finally you have a family dinner. Once again the child in you is not happy, this time not knowing the reason. But you are happy and satisfied thinking that you got all that you wanted on your birthday. You wish yourself, “Happy Birthday” and then get suddenly think twice about what you said just now, “Happy Birthday???”
The child in you is completely confused but you somehow manage to satisfy her, convincing her directly or indirectly saying that you had the best birthday ever. You grew a year older and say to yourself, “Grow old but always remain a child at heart”, coz it is easier to convince a child than an adult.
Happy Birthday to all the wives, daughters-in-law, mothers, mothers-in-law and grannies.
Your birthday may not make you special but YOU definitely make your birthday very special.