Month: October 2021

Of birthdays and celebrating life

Celebrating life or celebrating being alive, that’s what birthdays are to me. Caught up in so many big and little things we often forget to live. Our birthdays remind us that life is the greatest gift that needs to be celebrated every day. True we are working hard and running around to make our lives better, but what’s the point of all that effort if we forget to live. Birthdays, to me, serve as that very important reminder.

For me, birthday is one of the most important day, and I am glad to be surrounded by people who make me feel the same way. No I don’t expect people to remember my birthday and sulk if they don’t wish me. I am simpler than that, or so I think. I remind the people close to me about my birthday and tell them what I want. I feel blessed when they move things around to make that happen. For instance, this year my birthday fell on a weekend and I wanted an outstation birthday. Corbett was on my wish list and everything was meticulously planned. But rains played spoil sport. Uttarakhand, including Corbett, was deluged just few days before our trip. Though I agreed to cancel the trip, it was the sensible thing to do, my heart broke at the thought of being at home on my birthday. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home. But this birthday I wanted to be away, maybe because I have been indoor for too long, COVID, work from home, social distancing etc.

My friends came to my rescue again. They booked a property in the outskirts of Jaipur and we set out to celebrate my birthday. Though Jaipur is not as exotic or wild as Corbett, I love the city and the property that we stayed in was beautiful. Be it an evening trip to the Nahargarh Fort or gazing at the stars as we sipped our drinks leisurely at night or cutting my birthday cake with the kids (Prapti, Aliya and Amira) every moment was special. My friends who made this trip happen, Poonam, Sanjay and Sanchita, made sure I very felt special.

Posing in a dress by Poonam & pendant by little Prapti

I sometimes hear people say that there’s no point celebrating birthdays after a certain age for it’s about growing older. That’s not how it works for me though. Birthdays tell me that age is just a number. Birthdays remind the child in me in be alive no matter how many years I add. Birthdays are about living, about loving and being loved. It’s about making a little space in everyone’s mind, no matter how small. For even when people wish me on social media, I feel so special! And this birthday was special indeed, although I did miss so many special people!

Though my birthday break is over and I am back home to my regular life, the excitement and the happiness of the weekend lingers on. The happy memories, the beautiful photographs, the hopes and the dreams will make the year fly and carry me on its wings to an even better birthday celebration the year after!

Letting go and holding on

What is life if not a see-saw ride between letting go and holding on. Be it old toys, a tattered pair of jeans or a love affair gone wrong, letting go is not easy. We let go and then run back again and grab it, whatever we can – pieces, fragments, shreds. They fill us for a while, give us a happy high. Soon the pieces start hurting us, the rough edges scratch our soul, the uneven chunks weigh heavily and drag us down and we hit the low.  Like a heavy child on a see-saw, we know not how to raise ourselves.

Reluctantly, we let go of the pieces again from our pockets and our purse, from the little nooks and corners of our hearts. The empty lightness lifts us up. Elated we breathe in fresh air, joy and happiness. Some we retain some pass through our hollow shell. Eventually, we fill in the emptiness with new love, new interests and stories. Some cling to us while some slither away, making us go through the difficult and painful process of letting go yet again.

“Let go, for only then can you move on,” we hear so often. It’s not as simple as it sounds. No matter how hard we try some fragments stick on to the edges of our desire, they lay hidden in the nooks and corners of our dreams, in the lazy folds of our memories. We weep at firsts, then sigh hopelessly, eventually the memories sometimes stir and bring smiles to our lips. We look back longingly, indulgently as we move on and embrace the new.

Our first love, our first kiss, our first heartbreak. We were ecstatically floating in happy clouds till the rumbling thunder of the broken heart threw us on the hard ground. It hurt so much, the unbearable pain, the endless tears and then the unending numbness. We struggled to let go, yet we held on and it hurt more. Our heart so shattered, as if it will never mend.

But one day, unwittingly, we are whole again. Some fragments still cling to us, they adorn us, make our lives richer. We relish the memory of the first kiss, of our loves lost, of dreams that we dropped carelessly as we strode along. The pain has somehow eased, the numbness is forgotten, all that remains are the alluring fragments of the past that make our present richer and inspire us to pursue the future. We become a stunning vase of cracked glass that holds fragrant flowers. The flowers dry, we change them for fresh ones but the fragrance remains with us forever. As Rumi once said, “Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.”