Seven Times Seven
|Me – at 28|
As I sit back and reflect (yes, I do that a lot!), experiencing nostalgia and great memories of past birthdays, (yes, it is my birthday on Sept 27. And I share it with none other than (gasp!) Google! Did you know?)
I am thinking of one particular birthday. My 28th. Okay, sit back and put your feet up. I’ll tell you about it.
It was a long day at work – what with September 30 (half year ending) around the corner. I worked in sales, and had a quota to meet and excel to be eligible for the various incentives I coveted. Yeah, performance pressure. In a good way – as it had long term positive cascading effects. Since I worked the industrial belt, after I finished with my last and satisfyingly successful customer visit for the day, I headed back home, happily sooty from the grime and dirt and pretty much souled out. I also patted myself on the back for remembering that customer once mentioning his wife’s birthday was on Sept 27 and making a mental note – AND taking action. So, all sorts of exhilaration hit me as I biked my way home. Yes, I was a bit of a speed demon that evening.
There was no stopping me
Predictably, the traffic back into the city from the industrial area, in the outskirts was pretty thick. Yet I hummed. It was my birthday, wasn’t it? So what if only a few more hours were left! I had had a great day!
But as I approached the area I lived, a feeling of dread filled me. Why? Because it came home to me, before I reached home – that I had to face my Mom and explain myself. See – we did not have a telephone at home back then. (Really). No mobile phones, no pagers. If Mom had to get in touch with me, she would have to call the office and leave a message. If I wanted to reach her, I called my neighbor (yes, wow! he had a phone). So there I was, shaking with anxiety.
Was everything okay?
I rolled into our parking space, hoisted the bike on its stand and looked up at the first floor where we lived. It was in darkness. Darkness? Why! I knew I was late – but that did not mean the lights should be off at … um… 9 pm! We slept late anyway. Now, this panicked me. Was everything okay? Was Mom okay? Why would she turn the lights off? She usually sat reading, in the living room with the door open on the days I returned home late. Oh gosh!
Well, never one to drag my feet (unless they were physically hurt), I ran up the staircase and banged on the door. For some reason, I would never use the doorbell. Crazy, I know. What was crazier, though, was the door just swung open and I grabbed the frame to stop myself from falling into the room. Controlling myself, I quietly pushed it open a little more, realizing I was holding my breath, a little scared, very anxious….
…became almost deaf and blind – as the lights came on and the noisiest crowd I’ve ever had the pleasure to know in my life screamed and yelled “happy birthday”. I think I died a little from shock before I was shaken alive. I am pretty sure I cried. Tears of joy, naturally. Mingled with relief. With a torrent of profanity racing through my mind, I opened my mouth, only to shut it when I got crowd-pushed into the kitchen. Ah, Mom was in her element! Busy cooking and laughing and having a whale of a time. I could see my dearest friends perched wherever there was space, eating, drinking and generally being merry.
I was in a bit of a haze – and escaped to shower. I was surprised they recognized me in spite of the layer of carbon I had somehow accumulated during the day. When I got dressed and joined the others, my best friend came and covered my eyes with her hands and walked me to the living room. I opened my eyes – and lo! There, before me, was a massive chocolate cake. She had baked it for me. Oh, and then – the evening, still rather young at 10 ish – began. Lots of singing, laughing, eating, joking, teasing. And a whole lot of love. So much that my heart felt like it would burst.
And so the memorable day ended..
Around 1 am almost everyone had trickled off, My best friend stayed over and of course, we sat up all night, to be shocked out of our skins when the doorbell rang. We wondered who it could be at this hour – and it turned out to be the milkman. Oh well, the hour was 6 am already. Time to go to sleep, because you see, I am a Friday’s child and the next day was a Saturday, and a holiday! Yay! Enough to give me a happiness hangover!
Mmmm. Those were the days of real birthday cards, much thought out gifts….and I was overwhelmed that almost everyone had given me something I would like. There were packs of blank audio tapes, music compilations, a handbag, a purse, a set of beautifully printed letter-writing paper with envelopes, pressed flowers (yup!), dress material, tshirts, costume jewelry, books, a pair of leather gloves, a sari – oh, it was so lovely.
I still have many of these things. And as I turn 48, I happily anticipate the poems Sury and Vidur write for me, as they do, every year. What surprise have they planned for me? My friends’ phone calls and visits. My virtual community’s wishes. My Mom’s spirit with me.
Can you tell I am blessed? Can you? Love y’all!
Pearls of Peace
I’d like to share something very special with you today. My friend Joy Holland, of Facets Of Joy, who invited me to collaborate on her book “Cultivating your Voice” earlier this year, in March to celebrate International Women’s Day – once again offered me the privilege of being a contributor to her wonderful complimentary ebook “Pearls of Peace” to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21, 2012. I share space in this lovely book along with 35 other blogger friends I know and love. In this book, you’ll find inspiring affirmations and energy. I am grateful to Joy, who radiates love, encouragement and peace, for being my friend and for brightening my life.