I have always believed that birthdays are about celebrating the life of someone very dear to you. You celebrate their being in the world and in your life. Every year D and I eagerly look forward to October as both of us have our birthdays in the month and they are exactly a week apart. Usually, we take time to plan surprise parties, buy gifts and generally spend some quality time with each other. I find nothing childish or silly about wanting a fun time or a cake on my birthday. It has been an inherent part of my growing up and I have always intended on keeping it that way.
So it was quite surprising and new to me this year when for some reason I didn’t feel up to throwing any party for D, even when friends started inquiring about when the party email would arrive. Finally, D sent out that email requesting folks who were going to turn up to wish him anyway, to write a Haiku (a very short form of Japanese poetry typically in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 syllables in each line) about what they wanted him to change in the next year. In return he would share at least a piece of his birthday cake and make coffee for them in the middle of the night. This was a far cry from last year’s wishlist and celebration which I had blogged about here. In my mind I had made plans of baking an Opera cake for him, but because somewhere in between I had read out this blogpost to him, he wanted that cake because it had a story to it that resonated so well with us. So I baked two cakes for him: An Almond Chiffon Cake and a Four-layered cake inspired by Saee’s. All of us read Haikus we wrote for D, drank some Breezers and ate lots of cake at 12 in the night. The next day was a working Monday, so we just ended the day at a recently opened beer pub in the city and enjoyed our drinks and food in moderation.
For my birthday too, I warned D that I didn’t want a party or presents, I just wanted us to spend some nice quiet time together. D had been working his butt off since the time we came back from the holiday and I was missing him . I didn’t even shop for new clothes (my in-laws had given us money for the clothes two weeks ago). Despite all my warnings, D had apparently made some plans of having friends over for dinner the previous day (which was a Sunday). I had a splitting headache, so I made him call off the party. He wasn’t too happy with it but did it anyway informing the folks that I was feeling very unwell and the party was off. D stepping out to get food, drinks and flowers for me just didn’t make any sense to me, i just wanted him to spend time with me. I decided on making some Oleo Oglio Spaghetti with Veggies. It was a relief not to have to host people when I was feeling unwell. My friend L sent a text asking if she needed to get any medicines or a doc. and Dave reminded her about my allergies. Anyway she turned up before I went to shower and insisted on making Khicdi for me. She insisted that I take my time and she’d have dinner ready by the time I was out. I couldn’t fight her for long. So I did as I was told. After a very comforting dinner of khicdi, dahi and achaar, we just chatted up. My other 3 friends who had responded with a “Take Care” to the unwell text turned up at 11.30 pm telling me that there was no way they were going to stay off. We all sat and chatted over breezers till 12 am at which time both the cakes were brought out. H, my other fried had baked a stunning Apple Spice Bundt (she sent her husband out to buy the bundt cake tin that very evening). This is the third year in a row that she has baked me a cake and I am so touched by the gesture every year. I think you are blessed when you have atleast one person to bake a cake for you on your birthday. Nothing compares to a home-baked cake made with a lot of love and patience! This year the cake was exceptionally good. She had made me David Lebovitz’s Apple Spice Cake. It was fresh from the oven and still quite warm. I cut another intensely chocolate cake that L brought (she somehow managed to sneak out to her car and get the chocolate cake inside). Just sitting there, surrounded by my close friends eating warm apple spice cake, followed by chocolate cake was the best birthday moment I had. I got a leather-bound diary for a gift. They left at 1 am. L brought out the gifts she had brought for me: A lovely tie and dye top, a Disney Minnie Mouse top and very dressy earrings that matched with the tie and dye top.
The next day, family and friends who really mattered to me called and emailed to wish. It was a public holiday, L, D and I lazed over a late breakfast, had two rounds of coffee and relished the Apple Spice Cake again. Read some poetry, listened to long-forgotten songs. We stepped out for a late lunch and after finishing some other formalities went back to that pub again. Ran into more friends there, who after realizing it was my birthday came over to convey some really warm wishes. I stepped out to receive a call from my SIL and when i got back, I found a red Nokia Lumia phone on the table. I couldn’t complain for long. I had a great time despite wanting no celebration. This was totally the kind of time I liked. No wild partying, no loudness, just some quiet time spent with dear ones, feeling loved and doing the things I love!