The entire family came together after a long gap of three years – when little Diya had been born. That had been a wonderful event, a milestone for the family. And this year was another such milestone and we all were once again together, never mind the scorching and steaming Delhi weather.
The little one went crazy with joy picking up gifts at random from their bags and alternately ‘gifting’ her thatha and paati with them. All kids love getting presents, but my little moppet loves giving them. You should look at the joy in her eyes as she presents them to us! It was a full house when chachu joined a couple of days later.
It reminded me of the time when he was about my granddaughter’s age and would wait for all of us to be home and then declare happily, ‘Now we are a full family!’ So it was, this time with all of us together, only now we have a daughter and a granddaughter to make it a larger family. I swear I swelled a couple of inches with the joy of looking at all of them under one roof!
Coming back to milestones, they come and go in one’s life — the day one is born, the first day of school, graduation, marriage, the first child….it can go on. Birthdays and anniversaries are precious milestones too. And when they hold a special significance, they become even more precious. This year the L&M completed his 60th year, a big milestone in one’s life.
Tamilians celebrate the 61st birthday of a man as Sashtiabdhapoorti when the children conduct the wedding of their parents. We had decided against a grand celebration and settled for a simple havan and abhishekam at the temple on the L&M’s birthday according to the Hindu calendar. Our birthdays follow each other and so this year we had three consecutive birthdays! (the L&M’s Hindu birthday, followed by mine and then his once again).
It is fun to be treated like kids by your grown-up kids. We both got several treats and surprises, as the clock turned a full circle. This included birthday cake, gifts, a surprise movie treat for the two of us with unlimited popcorn thrown in! The rest of them joined us later and the six of us rounded off the day with a sumptuous buffet at one of our old haunts — The Hyatt. They watched indulgently as I ran back and forth trying to taste all the desserts and having a ball.
The little one declared that her thatha was all of two years old while her paati was three! I didn’t mind being one year older than the L&M and was thankful that she had reduced my age from her earlier estimate of ‘ten years’, which meant really old in her eyes!
That evening, when she went for her daily outing to the playground and rides with her grandpa, she insisted on buying something for her paati. All suggestions of a gift idea by her thatha were apparently summarily rejected as she came home with my ‘present’, which she held behind her back.
‘Paati, I have a present for you!’ she announced, fairly jumping with excitement. ‘Close your eyes!’
As I dutifully did, she thrust something cold into my hands. A chilled bottle of Himalayan spring water!
The L&M explained that she meticulously went through the shelves in the departmental store and had picked out the bottle of water since, ‘Paati will love the bottle with a pink cap.’
No water could have tasted sweeter and no gift so precious. I will cherish the bottle with the pink cap forever!
I told you about her gifts, didn’t I? everyday when she came back from the garden with her thatha, she would ask me or her mother (whoever she saw first) to close our eyes and hold out a flower – a dandelion or some hedge flower that she had plucked carefully with the help of her grandpa and hold it out to us with great pride and all the love shining out of her eyes.
Since eating out had been a favourite thing with us when the brats were growing up, this time round, we decided to go to the one restaurant we used to go to when the younger brat had been a kid. We used to enter the moment they opened for dinner and would hurriedly order a kalmi kabab for him since he would begin looking sleepy. He would eat it and then go off to sleep on the sofa, while we ordered our food and ate! In all the times we had gone there I think he never tasted anything else!
So this time when we decided to go there, we went for lunch since both the L&M and I have an early and simple dinner. The brats ordered to their heart’s content and I for one had three other vegetarians for company, since the L&M has turned into one too, unlike those days in the past when I ended up eating roti and dal every time we went out. (Read all about it here)
The visit of the children was short and hectic, packed as it was with so many events and outings, not to speak of lazing around and chatting and catching up with each other, meeting old friends and checking out the old haunts. I spent every moment I could spare with the little one and had a gala time. No puja, no elaborate cooking, the washing delegated to the L&M and the house in a holy mess. But who cared?
The house reverberated with the laughter and sounds of a two-year-old (the L&M) and TWO three-year-olds — that is Diya and me – not to speak of the brats and the daughter. The house is empty first with the older one having left with his family and now with the younger one also leaving today.
But I have a milestone to celebrate – This is my 100th post, folks!