That is on 23rd of Jan. It was also the birthday of Netaji Subhash, Bal Thackeray and Lord Denning. I simply cannot stop obsessing over the coincidence of my birth date matching with these men, a fierce freedom fighter, the original Indian Godfather and one of the most popular Jurist who worked so much for individual liberty. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the mere coincidence of my birth date and my name has influenced me for most part of my life.
The brave, strong headed, just and hopelessly romantic Sanjukta still waiting for her Prithviraj who would come on a horse and sweep her off the floor.
It is customary for me to write on my birthday, from 2006 onwards I wrote on this blog, before that I used to write in my diaries. As I looked back at the last 5 posts on this blog, I realized that with every passing year my world have been shrinking, I care about less things. This year as I blew the candles the only wish I made, besides the well being of my family was that my little start up ‘Samyukta Media‘ would one day become one of the most important names in media consultancy for Nonprofits in India. Nothing else matters. No other dream. Dad said, “This is also the birthday for Samyukta Media.”
I wouldn’t say I had lots of ‘fun’ this birthday. By fun we mostly mean a party, friends, laughter, dance, music etc. I didn’t do any of these. Yet there was no better way I would have wanted to celebrate my birthday this year, than the way it was.
I mostly stayed at home, reading, listening to music and enjoying the lavish gluttonous continental breakfast and Indian lunch prepared at home. Sis, had done all the shopping and mom did all the cooking. In the evening I decided to go out somewhere, it wasn’t decided where but somewhere. Then, at random I picked Gurgaon’s Ambience Mall as the destination. Sis and her friends also joined in as I went out. They got some lovely flowers for me and I still can’t stop staring at them. Right now there are these bright colour flowers – yellows, oranges, reds, whites, pinks – all over the house, each spreading a little bit of joy all around.
My sis has been the sweetest this year, she did so much to make it special. I have often heard that the cost of a gift has no relation to love and affection. May be that’s true for people who are ridiculously rich. They can buy you a fancy item from some gift shop without really caring about you. But for ordinary middle class people who usually turn blood to sweat to earn a living, spending it selflessly, completely for someone else and without a frown on their forehead means a lot. If your younger sister, who is all of 25 years of age can part away with 7-8k of her hard earned money for buying you a birthday gift, that just shows how much you mean to her and I am that lucky person to have that sister.
She gave me my first touch phone, Samsung Wave. That’s right, this is my first smart phone. There is a bit of history behind my phones.
Basically, I am not that much of a gadget person. Well that’s a lie, I am not that rich to be more precise. While most people around me are either getting or talking about getting IPads and Galaxy Tabs, I was still using my Nokia 6020 until this birthday, a total of 5 and half years since I bought it.
My first cell phone was a Motorola, I forgot the model name, which I got in 2002. In Nov’09 at TED India conference they gave us TED Fellows a Nokia E71 which I used for about 6 months. It was a good phone and quite a conversation starter amongst my circle. In my last workplace, amongst my closest friends and in my immediate or extended family my phone was the most costly phone. That naturally was quite a thing.
But it never got into my head because it never really belonged to me. And then one fine morning, just like that, without a warning it died. They said repair would cost me 4-5k. I decided to buy the cheapest phone available in town to replace my E71, bought an LG phone for INR 1200. I was happy with the old school phone, loud ring tone, big screen display, basic colors and no other features besides making and receiving calls and messages.
Few months later, however I humbly returned to my so far neglected Nokia and gave the LG to dad which he accepted after great persuasion and a standing instruction, “IT MUST NEVER RING.” “But dad, its a phone, what else would it do if not ring.” “No no, I don’t want my colleagues to find out I have a phone, put it on silent, it shouldn’t ring.”
While the good old loyal Nokia was still performing just fine, sis said, “It simply don’t make sense that you don’t have a smart phone and you are a social media consultant.”
So she gifted me one. Gifts are nice to look at, buy, present and receive, but few gifts play such an important role in the receiver’s life. Thank you sis!
This weekend was more like a birthday weekend.
And all the celebrations were around eating good food. Usually Bengalis are like that. Food is everything for them. I cooked pasta for everybody on Saturday which was really yum. Then for Sunday, the birthday morning, my sister had done loads of shopping for a continental breakfast spread. From cold cut platter to bread basket, salad, baked potato, fried mushroom, cheese, fruit juice. .
For lunch I had the Bengali pulao, mutton, the traditional 5 types of bhaja.
For dinner we had patties, quiche, bread, wine and cake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce survived all of them in a day and still eating.
So much talk about food by a fat female is not usually accepted in the society. But this is my space and it was my birthday, so. Besides, I also think that the only two causes worth pursuing is food and fuck. All pursuits by most of the humankind had been either for better and more food or better or more fuck. Think about it, wouldn’t you agree?
Less people wished me over phone this time, more did on Social Media. Starting from midnight, tweets kept pouring in and the Facebook wall got loaded with wishes. People who are cynical about social networking would often say, “what is the big deal if so many people wished you on your birthday via FB or orkut. They get a notification, its not like they actually remember your birthday.”
But I am not cynical. I care about and appreciate every single wish I get on these social media platforms. Because reminders are perhaps sent to all 400+ on Facebook and 2100+ on Twitter but only around 40 of them actually spare a few minutes to type a message and that means a lot to me. It feels that somewhere in this cosmos somebody either near or far from your heart made a connection with you. These cosmic connections are of great value to me.
So here’s to everybody who wished, thanks a lot to each one of you. I have tried my best to send personal thanks to all of you, and I hope I didn’t miss anybody.
So that was it, my birthday celebrated with most simplicity but maximum self less love from people who genuinely care.