20060316

Gift wrapped from up there

"How did you celebrate your day?" my friend asked me, thousands of miles away.

I 'Humph!'ed.

"That bad? How many presents?"

"None. None at all. And they didn't even wish." I said morosely.

The they here are particularly three people. One didn't bother to wish, another altogether disappeared, preferring to sleep late to playing Holi, and the the third, whom I woke up after sustained nagging cut to the chase : " Where are you giving your birthday treat?"

Definitely not one of the better days.

Not that the entire world totally forgot about it. People DID wish me. They called up from assorted continents. And on knowing that I didn't get any gifts [ or bumps ] promised both when I reach home.

But... but.. .they didn't. And that irked, hurt, and bugged. Did I waste my time spending with them? Worse, was I imposing myself on them? Was this their subtle way of telling me that I was being a royal pain?

"We are going to CCD." I declare, in a voice that dares anyone to voice any opposition.

"CCD? What about dinner..? " A wailing reaches out to me through the phone.

" When did you even wish me? And it is my birthday, so I should buy myself a piece of cake - not that anyone remembered to get me one." I wail back with equal fervor. I win this round.

At the cafe, they try to get the six pieces at a huge plate, so that it would look like a cake. Sheepish "Happy Birthday"s are offered, and accepted. I'm enjoying their company, and thawing.

The cakes arrive. Each piece in a small plate, serially, one after the other. I giggle at seeing their last minute attempts go kaput. They sing the birthday song raucously, raising quite a few eyebrows from the post holi crowd. The cafe is practically empty, no food. I think of going back to XL - I am too much high strung to ask them if I could tag along.

" Are you having dinner?" "Come with us." After saying our goodbyes to V, we leave the cafe. I am caught up n the moment, we all walking along, one of our last meals together as students of XL.

The lone veggie suggests an exclusively veg place. I grimace; it is a reflex reaction against anything vegetarian. A smiles on seeing my face, and suggests a non veg place. We roam around the town, checking this place and the other, cracking jokes at each others expense, and sharing gossip. [ For all you skeptics out there : men do gossip, and gossip well they do! ]. Finally, food. As we squeeze into a table and dig into our food, I was suddenly stuck by a revelation: my friends, are not going to change. Ever. They will never buy me a birthday card, or think up great surprises to make my day special. They will point out good stuff on shop windows and then tell me that they have no cash to buy it. They will make me go Dutch on food, most of it I end up making them eat. No matter what maveric executives they are going to be, for me, they are always the gang of socially clueless chaps who don't have the foggiest idea on how to treat a girl on her birthday.

But then, these are the same guys who told me to hit back at any twerp who might have dared to take liberties with me - and just drop a hint to them so that they can take over from there. They are the ones who always keep their rooms open - for me to just sit and watch countless episodes of sitcoms or to bemoan the cruel blows that life had dealt me. They are the ones who tell me what I need to, not want to, hear. Those whom I can wake up any day and tell anything - and I mean anything - and it will stay within them. The ones who scoff at the idea that just being in different cities is going to affect our friendships. They will not make my birthday any special, but the times spent with them make ordinary days feel like birthdays.

On our way back, I got an sms from my friend in SA. " How did your day go? Enjoying yourself? " She asked me.

"Went well. And yes, I am!" I smsed back, wedged between two of them in a rickety auto.

And surprisingly, it was the truth.

6 Comments:

Blogger raven :

I wished!! (dont keep a phone so couldnt call)

So do i get....

drinks @ someplace else
dinner @ grain of salt
coffee @ flurry's

????

~looking forward :D

6:54 PM  
Blogger YldGuy :

belated birthday wishes!

2:07 AM  
Blogger ursjina :

:)..glad it had a happy ending..i thot of calling u in midnite..but remembering the last time i called when i so pompously disturbed ur beauty sleep..i decided against it..and well i slept thru d day..;)...i thot u said u r comin to blore...do i get my treat then..:P..i can be as bad as guys at times..hehe...

and raven:..dont remind me of flurys..im still revelin on my lemon tea and vanilla dessert i had from ther:P..

9:07 AM  
Blogger Baliga :

belated birthday wishes.. and its true.. its the thought th counts more than the anything..

p.s congrats on getting ur job.

3:44 AM  
Anonymous mayacassis :

hee hee..wow.that was fun to read.and hope you had a great time.your best present was your friends being there.i get presents at home now but without friends the day has no kick to it.they are all in different parts of the world.oh woe!:(

ps- i love the way you write.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Kim :

Man,

That took me back 8 years. All male friends who normally don't have a clue. That could be me writing that piece except about the cell. They hadn't been introduced in India yet & yeah we would have come back on bikes or walked back. There was no CCD either. But otherwise.....
Man !!! I've been hit with a major wave of nostalgia.
Kim

5:27 AM  

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