I will be celebrating my birthday next week and I am brimming with excitement. No, it is not a milestone number. Yet, something tells me I should celebrate this one. Not just that day, but the days leading to that and the days after that.
When I was growing up, birthdays were special. For one, it meant new clothes. Two, those days, mum also made the food that I liked — didn’t matter if it was hated by someone else at home. I relished my special milk sweets while my sister gave me dirty looks. Those days, I truly felt special. And, once, during my eighth year, I even had the privilege of distributing toffees to all my classmates, dressed in a pink maxi dress. That day, I truly felt like a princess.
When I was a teenager, birthdays meant, staring at greeting cards. The cards came with beautiful prints and poetic words. And, every single year, I counted if I had received more cards than the previous year. Those greeting cards may not have been real gifts, but there was something intriguing about them. They brought me immense joy. Reading those verses, inside the fold of that card meant the world. The best part of that phase of my life was the act of lining up the cards. I would then, spend hours, just staring at them and flipping through them for many days.
I am thankful for the sunrises, the rain, the sunsets, the splash of orange in the sky and the cotton balls of clouds hanging above. I see the miracle of life as it unfolds.
With adulthood, came a bunch of complications. Too busy to celebrate at times, too silly to buy gifts for myself — just to name a few. And then motherhood meant, simply no more birthday celebrations for myself. I remember as a new mother, all I wanted as a gift was a good night’s sleep. Nothing else mattered to me. As baby Sid grew into lil Sid, my birthdays began to shape into surprise gifts. When my now 16-year-old still had cheeks filled with baby fat, he would plan days before my big day and giggle endlessly. He would whisper so loudly that, many times, I would pretend not to have heard. I would then, ask him, what the whispering was all about and that simple question would send him into squeals of laughter. That laughter made up for the best birthday gift for me — wrapped inside a huge box with a glittering bow. Somehow, those days went by without my noticing.
As I count the last few days before the numbers change in my life, something inside me urges me to pause. I am reminded of the near-finality I experienced. My throat turns dry and like always, I begin to ruminate. It will be a little more than four and half decades after I set foot on this planet. And, I have laughed, cried, anguished over numerous things. I don’t like many incidents that have occurred in my life. But, I know, nobody’s life is perfect and it has taken me this long to see this simple truth of life.
With a deep sigh, I can say with confidence that, I understand the value of my time in this world. I accept that my life here is a gift. I am thankful for the sunrises, the rain, the sunsets, the splash of orange in the sky and the cotton balls of clouds hanging above. I see the miracle of life as it unfolds — in my backyard and in my life — as I laugh and cry each day. Finally, I am grateful for all those times when I have been saved from near disasters.
Well, I may not know how long I will live to continue to see these miracles in this world — but I highly doubt if I will make it through another four decades. Perhaps, I will. But, for now, I want to cheer for all the good and bad times I have had so far. Cheers
— Sudha Subramanian is an author and freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman