A few days ago when I wished a friend on her birthday, she suggested that I write a blog on birthdays. I thought ,"Why not?!!!"
If there is one day every child waits for, all year through, it's his/her birthday! The cake, balloons, gifts, friends, games, fun and celebrations- a child looks forward to every single birthday with a lot of expectations! The love and blessings of elders and the best wishes from friends make it worth waiting for year after year.
My earliest memories are of my 7th birthday . I got 2 beautiful dolls as gift , which I happily shared with my sisters. We didn't have many toys , so we played with them with a lot of care. Once we were done playing , they went back into their plastic bags!
I also remember my 8th birthday vividly. Why? Because I was old enough to remember every detail about that day.
I woke up early (even though it was a holiday!), bathed and wore my new frock which Daddy got me from Mhow. It was a yellow polka dotted frock with smocking work (Mhow is famous for Smocking work on clothes!)on the front and sleeves. I changed into 'normal' clothes before breakfast so I could wear that frock again in the evening for the birthday party.
There was a huge crowd of friends, uncles and aunties. A yummilicious cake graced the dining table alongwith a lot of my favourite food like chhole- bhatoore, aalu tikki, samosas and dahi bhallas! ( Yeah, we weren't the pasta- pizza-burger generation!) There were crates of Gold Spot, Limca,Thums Up. Nostalgic , right?!!!On a table in the corner was a pile of gifts, waiting to be opened. There was a lot of fun and games- Passing the Parcel and Musical Chairs were usually the party favourites!
I was enjoying every moment but I was also eagerly waiting to see my gifts! When all the guests left, I ran inside and started unwrapping the gifts one by one. I always shared my gifts with my sisters , but of course I had the privilege to choose who gets what!
As always, school was closed for summer vacation on my birthday. So I never went around distributing toffees or treating friends! The first time I actually took my friends out for a birthday treat was when I was in college!
April 24th- my birthday. I share my birthday with Sachin Tendulkar , Varun Dhawan and Barbara Streisand! What about you? So far I have met 3 people born on 24/4 and one of them is even the same year as me!
As you grow older your enthusiasm for birthday celebration comes down. You'd rather spend it with family and close friends. There's no desire for any gifts either. Well, at least I have outgrown the idea of a birthday gift!
Honestly I dont get the idea of having huge parties for kids- especially 1 or 2 year old toddlers! The little one gets totally sidelined in the frenzy of an event he/ she doesn't understand and the parents are busy looking after guests rather than spending quality time with the child.....
Nowadays, there are "themes" for birthday parties. I love the idea of a creative twist to the child's special day! It makes the party interesting as the kids come dressed up according to the theme . Sometimes even the decor and food follows the theme! Also the games and the return gifts !
Outsourcing is another aspect of parties today. When both parents are working, it's not possible to do every little thing on your own ! So, with event managers taking on the time consuming activities like decor and food, games and gifts, taking photos and videos- at least the parents get to spend time with the child.
The last birthday party my 9 year old had was centred around her love for books. She loves the Harry Potter series, so we got a Harry Potter themed cake which thrilled her to bits! The venue, which also provided us with a kid friendly menu,was situated within a beautiful golf course, so no decoration was required ,except a few balloons. What I really worked on were the games which were based on books and authors, book- to- movie adaptations, etc.
For my elder daughter, her 5th birthday really stands out. Since Papa wasn't around, she helped me with everything- making invitation cards, packing return gifts, deciding on the games and menu. We had a fancy dress party and the little guests were really excited! Now she is 13 and she has already decided- no more 'childish' parties, mamma!
I usually choose a gift for a child( if I know him/her well) with a lot of thought and deliberation. I usually stick to books or stationary items because kids will always use them. However with babies and toddlers a toy always works! Handmade cards or homemade cakes etc also make it personal and unique. But then, it's the thought that counts!
Lately though I frequently find myself thinking that birthdays are overrated. I am thankful I have lived for one more year- 365 more days of my life- well! On the other hand I'm a year closer to death with every birthday!
A very pessimistic and morbid thought really but also a cold hard fact of life! Depends on how one looks at it!
With every passing year, we are wiser, more mature and experienced as we go through the ups and downs of life.
Every birthday marks an end to something good and also heralds a positive start of another new year full of experiences to look forward to!