Birthday crib one: I've never received fewer cards.
Counter crib one: I've never got more calls.
I turned twenty-four a week ago. And besides my birthday, at any rate, being my event of the fortnight, all semi dark clouds, health and brother wise have passed. And a party, and for the sake of a few friends who weren't there, but on whom I've imposed a blog subscription (to be received in mail): the birthday report.
First, say you were born on the first -- which I believe was -- and you plan a dinner thing on the 31st night -- which I did, you're bound to have guests calling 30-31st midnight, singing into the phone, and because it's just so foolishly sweet, you giggle and graciously accept the dementia. Which is like winning a prize in school but the certificate will have your name written in a calligraphy hand but spelt wrong.
I'm also beginning to form an opinion of people who call at bloody midnight in the first place. Do you think it's boorish, just a little bit? I mean, what's wrong with waiting till the morning? What do you have to look forward to in the damn day if all ten morons are going to be over and done with bombarding you with annual mid nighters -- even if on the correct date 31st-1st?! And you can't really talk then, because if you aren't amidst a lot of people, call wait is a pain, and you end up giving yourself so much importance.
"Heyyy... thanks.. sweet of you to remember.. god bless face book huh.. heh heh..nahi, just some people over, cake shake, .. no why, do I sound sloshed? hahahah.. acha listen, someone else calling, we'll talk soon ok, thanks , bye."
Thats the formal call from close-ish acquaintances.
Then there are the friends friends who aren't present but INSIST on calling to remind you that they aren't.
"hellooooooooooo lover, hahahaha, thank you thank you.. what to do ya, getting bloody old, 30's around the corner, and all we'll have as achievements are loser friends, you for me, I for you, men be damned. hahaha.. shaddap ya…hm.. No he didn't call, message, fomal tone, naam ke vaaste type thing. Anyway, fuck that, whats up with you..haan haan party's ok. Decent fun, I hope. I've all but given up playing good host, wine beer mix... haan hehe . acha, love, got to go, but we'll talk later, have to give you all the dirt. muah muah thank youuuu!!"
And these are true blue snatches of conversation. Not fictitious or in no way represent any person living or dead. They do. They're real people, close friends and it's all true.
And why one had to hang up wasn't because there's nothing more to say, but because family and people are whimpering, making puppy faces and generally tugging at sleeve and yelling at me to cut
The god damned cake!
People ikatha-karoed were eclectic, lovely, and having forcefully put oil and water in a room, they floated alogn just fine. Attendance wise, and the too far to drive NCR bahanas apart, the ones who would have turned up out of sheer love and goodwill, did. All others -- well, excuses are excuses, and there's never a dearth. After a point, it becomes difficult to hear them through, care as I still would.
So headcount wise, friends not seen in a few weeks too many were very much in there, all sociable, and making small talk with each other, and this general bonhomie caused me very many teeny bursts of joy.
Early evening, especially when you're still introducing, say, the latest couple entrant, and you rattle off names of everyone sitting around, but run out breath and interest, take a swig, make light of situation, and everybody just laughs and bonds over who the hell will remember. Even so, the important ones, are personally circulated -- by me the hostess, taken arm in arm, and made to force meet, if just for my depraved mind to later know what they thought of each other.
For love of all things wearable, understated and well-lit
Especially when held in your own, fabulously lit, breezy, suburban apartment, birthday parties are very feel-good occasions. I like that. They give you the perfect excuse to do a Clarissa Dalloway and emulate her OCD with flowers.
I was just a little bit stubborn about not letting into the house a single stem of gladioli. It's either tube roses or lilies, as far as I'm concerned. Orchids are permissible, and yellow roses were let in later at night, carried sweetly by one biker boy. How he held the bunch, rode, and still found house, I don't know. He called for directions -- a lot! -- and I'd gaily hand the phone to reliable pillars around me, but it was still sweet that he came from so far and had akal enough to not come khaali haath. It's sweet. It is. I was touched. By which time, the tube roses were all in vases, emitting restrained strains of just the perfume I wanted wafting through the rooms -- apart from the camphor already burning in a Good Earth type holder, and the orchids swooping rightly low. The ambience was bang on, and the matron in me, mighty pleased.
Of course the tightly wound fanaticism -- in case you were wondering about the gladioli -- mellowed as the evening progressed. Evening, very literally, started that early, with brother and boyfriend soothing my frazzled nerves by a) staying out of the way, and b) by sensibly running out for a good 45 mins to get ice, vanilla, juice, chips, milds and some paneer something for a vegetarian cronie who walked in only at cake time.
Still, once the lamps were on, and music as desired, at only seven pm, I was exhausted, and looking most ordinary! Except how dressed-up can you get for a do at your own house? Isn't it just silly to be doddering about in heels in an environment you usually exploit barefoot?
One friend walked in and instantly blurted, "What you wearing, man". And so I changed into what she got me by way of present -- so for the rest of the evening, and very happily so, I was wearing an orange Tee that shrieked: LITTLE MISS WISE, beneath which was the artist's impression of a smart-ass toddler. (There's also a LITTLE MISS GIGGLES in blue, but that I think, will be serving time in the cupboard for a fair bit longer.)
And this of course was the 31st night -1st wee hours. Birthday itself was ordinary in a way I like it to be. I didn't go to work -- providential holiday, so blew up some money shopping instead, and met the feel good factor friends, even had a roll at Khan, then drove all the way back talking on loudspeaker to one friend who'd called to wish me, but just ended up giving me a blow by blow account of how her shaadi prep was going.
Today's my grandpappy's 87th, and next week his other grand daughter's 41st. I like how we're spaced, three of us, different generations, but 8 days apart.
We're all going to dinner. Family scene. Grandparents -- who are also great grand parents and looking forward to meeting my turning-4 next month niece ( figure it out), their two daughters -- my mother and masi, and the rest of us tag-along-ees but very much immediate family.
I said I'd pick up the cake. Was thinking coffee/fruit/cheesecake something, but Chocolate Truffle, shrieked hag-cousin to me this morning when I asked what time rendezvous was. Wenger's is open till 7.15. Or I could take my chances at the Claridges where my friend got a great fruit cake for 400 bucks. Better still, I could splurge and swing by the decadence that is Big Chill, and drool at the contents behind the glass screen. Either way, worst case scenario is still a big piece of cake, the company of an attitude-tossing toddler, sentimental oldies, toast-raising middle agers, and that infrequent feeling of somewhat not minding the people you're related to.