Birthing Pangs

It’s that time of the year again, when you start getting ready to go up the numbers ladder and blow more candles on your cake. Me, I stopped putting candles on my cake long time back. I now prefer just eating the cake and then spend the rest of the week worrying about the calories I piled on.

But it wasn’t always like that. As a kid I would wait 12 months for this special day. A day when I would feel like a princess and get pampered silly. My working Mom would take the day off for me and I would come home to a feast of my favourite dishes laid out in silver. The whole day would pass in a fervid state of excitement. Surrounded by friends, family and so much love – this was my day with me as the centre of universe. The icing on the cake would be late at night, after the party when all the guests had left. I would unwrap my gifts one by one, eyes shining, breathless with anticipation. I would feel like a character in a fairy tale, living my dream.

As I matured into a young girl, the gifts changed. Bye-bye boxes of crayons, board games, books and hello trinkets, flower vases (I used to hate them with a vengeance). Friends were taken out for a treat and evenings would be close-knit family affairs.

I started working, settled into matrimony, fumbling bumbling as a mother and wife, yet the day never lost its specialness. True, I stopped counting days and would come up with a new crib every few years. Damn, the last year of my 20’s....Can’t believe I turned 35, Gosh am old... 40! Sigh! I am officially old now. But no force on Earth could stop me from feeling like a princess, ok change that to queen. I would come home laden with flowers and gifts, plonk them on the bed, excitedly wait for the husband to come from office and proudly show off the saris, dresses, perfumes I had got. And yes, I was still getting flower vases, damn!

And now as I get ready to celebrate my 42nd birthday I can’t help but think of what my Mum used to say long ago. In my head I am still the college girl I was, only my body has aged and I would look at her with incredulous eyes. It took me close to two decades to fully understand what she really meant. Because in my heart I am still the excitable little girl who finds joy when she spots butterflies in that corner garden, hums a song for days that suddenly creeps in her head from a long forgotten past and loves getting pampered. She loves waking up to cards with those special messages from her husband, that cup of coffee that she gets to have in bed, the surprise that her daughter plans for her and the endless phone calls she gets from family and friends. Her parents come in the evening, her brother cracks his mandatory you are getting old jokes. She will try to cut out the thinnest possible slice of cake for herself and end up having another. She is also praying she doesn’t get another flower vase to add to her growing collection. 42 here I come!!!!


  1. this is such a beautiful fresh and tender post! loved it!
    heres wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! though it is a couple of days away yet..
    and sure hope you get that vase so you can say damn! and smile!!
    have the mostest bestest specialest day!!!


  2. Happy b'day (in advance)...:)
    I'm really hoping u get those vases which u so detest. It'll be a wonderful moment when u realize u actually like those (I know u'll get fond of those, don't retort back)!!
    Even my mom cribs about her age..!
    But really 42 isn't so bad.
    Enjoy your special day :D

  3. Happy 42 Purba :) have another wonderful year ahead :)
    I will be 30 next week and I was cribbing all these days thinking that I am getting old. After reading this post, I felt I am not growing old but growing into a woman:)

  4. Hmmm...... Not much days left when you will be getting denture sets and walking sticks as birthday present. And later a gift voucher for knee replacement. ;) :P

    Keeping the birthday wish on hold. That will come on the day.

  5. magiceye...Thank you in advance, glad you liked this post.

    Girish..I have too many of them and in all shapes & sizes. Btw can I have your addy, so that I can forward them to you?

    Bhawna..Ahh a fellow Virgo. Each decade, you discover a new you - embrace it, cherish it :)

  6. Happy Birthday Purba... I dont know you but I really like you. A very heart felt note and beautifully written.

  7. Princes Purba..loads of birthday wishes for you in advance.Loved the post and hope I won't forget to wish you on that special day. I am sending the vase which I bought for you through courier..

  8. Huppy Budday Purba! Enjoy your special day...age and vases be damned! Like you I also revel in the thrill of being the 'centre of the universe' on my birthday.. :)

  9. Happy Birthday, in advance, Purba. Get rid of all them vases and don't worry about the cake!
    You're not old! You're just 42!
    Hope you have the best of days being the center of the Universe, your highness (Queen). :)

  10. This was wonderful Purba! I wonder how I'll be when I get there. I'm sure I'll be as much the little girl that I was a couple of years ago.

    Here's wishing you a lovely birthday! Wish you wonderful years with your family and friends and an undying sparkle in your eyes, every year!

  11. Many Happy returns Purba - Enjoy your day - Mine is coming up too on the 1st - Can't blv you are a virgo too!!


  12. Prateek...It's "friends" like you who make me feel good on my birthday. Looking forward to the knee replacement gift voucher.

    Curry Spice...Thanks sweetheart :))

    Rajashree...My vase joke is backfiring on me. LOL

  13. Supernova...Don't we all love it when our near and dear ones make that extra effort!

    D2... I keep humming "18 till I die" and that's how I feel.

    mazingout...There's a child in all of us, in me it refuses to die. And thanks for your lovely wishes. are a Virgo too? Delighted!!!

  14. Happy birthday Purba....oh i forgot happy 42nd birthday Purba..hey you aren't that old...

    BTW i think age is just a number,and I guess you too believe in that so behave like a queen on your birthday ..and other days also( I had to add that in :-))

  15. Belated Happy Birthday to you PURBA
    Keep that little girl in you because that girl is really inspiring .I must say its a wonderful,lovely post.

  16. Happy Birthday Purba.
    As you said, you are still the young college girl at heart, as is evident in your peppy writing, so enjoy yourself and have a large piece of cake.
    All the Best and Godspeed in your endeavours.

  17. Hey u forgot the rule...
    Ladies aren't supposed to reveal thei ages, are they?

    Happy b'day....and long live the princess

    For me the best part of b'day was feeling like a king when carrying sweets to school...

    the other guys would hover around u for an extra sweet.

    Today I fear getting smeared on face with pastries

  18. @ Shahid...Age is mind over matter...As long as you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

    Pratibha..No, I still have a day to go...thanks :)

    Vikram...Thanks and I think am going to dig into your "dabba ghosht" recipe :)

  19. @ Jon..I so hate that! having cream smeared on your face. Yea, carrying that huge packet of toffees to school was such a high (had completely forgotten about it).

  20. Dear Purba
    Happy Birthday to you!

    However old your body gets, I know you are just the same inside. Bubbly and fresh. 42? you look 24!

    Let me tell you from experience that 40-50 (and beyond that too I hope, till God knows when) have been the best years of my life...when I have truly grown to love myself better, to understand my potential and to have seen the real me.
    Till 40, I feel, everything is as good as hidden, hidden behind duty beyond self towards family and work.

  21. I was smiling continuously as I read the post....Happy Birthday in advance Purba...Have a great one! :)

  22. Eheyyy- many happy returns of the day in advance, Purba..:)Nice post- yep, childhood memories abound at such times.:)A big grin at 'I was still getting flower vases'..:)

  23. Nalini, I couldn't agree with you more. I am finally doing what I've always wanted to do and am constantly discovering new facets to me.

    Thank you for your wishes.

    Shalini...Aww..her first comment. Thanks sweetheart :)

    Amit... Yeeesh, I shouldn't have mentioned my aversion to flower vases. If someone wants to piss me off, they know exactly what to do!

  24. Happy Bday Purba...
    Wish you stop growing old..he he

  25. Happy b'day.
    August seems to a month of lucky births.My wife and both the children are Aug born.

  26. Ohhhh...and, here I just noted that whenever we do meet, there's no need to think of the right gift...:)

  27. Birthday wishes :)

    I agree only blood ages... but I am surprised that despite being a girl you have revealed your true age... I think age is just a number...girls stop aging after 16... lol

  28. Happy birthday ma'am! May you celebrate hundred such birthdays!

  29. We are what we think we are, so the power of denial is still ours to brandish with at time :-)

  30. Dhiraj...I actually don't mind the process!!

    B K Chowla...Really?? thank you :)


    Karan...Actually care a damn :)
    Thanks Karan.

    Aditya....Nooo, not a 100!! That's scary!

    Anil P...Acceptance is much more fun :)

  31. Once you cross 25 the birthdays seem to come quicker than usual..and then when you cross 35 you realize not only the birthday the dam decade just whizzed by.! Wonder what'l happen at 45!

    You know it is actually not too bad being the age you are.
    Let me give you a different perspective.
    I think the late 60 early 70's generation is best placed if you consider 2012 as the end of the world ! any more or any less then there could be some enjoy the moment while it lasts.Make sure you do all things you missed out earlier. Have fun.

  32. Happy Happy B'day :)

    You've captured the intricacies of this day so well, and its impressive to see the way you've remembered EVERY little thing from your 'girlie' days :)

    Very smooth transition to adolescence and adulthood...

    As always, LOVE the way you write :)

    Keep it going!

    And have a gr8 day again! 42 huh :P

  33. Ah... the flower vases and clocks - i hate to see as gifts ! Nice high calorie sweet post ! Thank God am not diabetic :P

    Happy B'day in advance!!! Have fun!

  34. GB..This is the typical 40's syndrome...we suddenly realize we are short on time...take a breather, party harder, introspect and in some cases try to change the course of our life.

    2012 according to the Mayan hoping they are dead wrong.

    Avi...not everything!! kept out the sordid details ;P

    Lakshmi...Saccharine sweet haan?
    Thank you for your wishes.

  35. "In my head I am still the college girl I was, only my body has aged and I would look at her with incredulous eyes"
    - I experience the same with my mom :)

    Yappy Budday to the college gal within you :)
    tra la la la :D

  36. Read your blog late but this is no excuse. Wish you a very happy belated birthday.

  37. Happy birthday and best wishes, Purba!

  38. Muddassir..LOL @ tra la la...where's the audio?

    SR Ayyangar, Ana-treek, Giribala...Thank you for your wishes

  39. happy birthday. a very beautiful and heartfelt post.

  40. Wish you a happy birthday and God bless.Nice post.Happy Janmastami also.

  41. RINZU RAJAN..Thank you :))

    krsna...Happy Janamashtami to you as well.

  42. A post that everyone can relate to. Made for a lovely read.
    A very happy birthday to you! :)

  43. Samadrita...special memories of special days...and we all have so many stories to tell.

    Thank you :)

  44. I'm late. But Happy Birthday Purba.
    Well written.

  45. It's ok, will save it for next year :)

    Thank you.


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