Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The obligatory birthday post

Adi and Raagu's old lady turned 34 yesterday. Everyone told me to have fun. I tried and got very tired. In order to make time for the morning coffee date and the bookshop raid and the nice and expensive and romantic Italian lunch that M had planned for us, we had to work twice as hard and about four thousand time as fast as on any other day. We had to pick Adi from school and there were no autos to be had. We had to walk back home. The heat was awful. I was wearing new slippers that threatened to scrape the skin off my small toes. Adi was fortified with Frooti. Even so, he wanted to be carried after a while. Not easy.

The Thai massage place that we had booked into assigned me to a thug. He meant well no doubt but probably underestimated his own strength by about ninety percent. I just wanted him to leave me be. He looked very hurt when I started to offer feedback so I clammed up. But I am never going back.

I heard from old friends and new and also from those who wished me only because Facebook reminded them to. Sometimes I think of Mark Zuckerberg as a giant puppeteer, running our little lives for us, every twelfth person on this planet under his massive thumb.

There were cakes. Adi blew the candles and cut them for me.

M asked me what I wanted and I thought and thought about that. I want so much and so many things. Bags and shoes and iPad and more books and more book-deals and money and to be loved and loud laughter and the cure to my kids' never-ending cold. Also school admissions and travel and a dog. I am not done wishing yet and clearly sanyaas seems very far away.

And yet, something is changing as I get older and go hurtling down the thirties. Or maybe it's just having the kids. I find myself ill-equipped when it comes to discussing the dark side of the world with my boy. I didn't know how to talk to him about what happened in Japan. The earth shook. And a giant wave came in from the ocean. What happened to the people? Is India also going to shake? I don't want to lie but it's just so much easier to protect him from the truth, when the truth is so vast and so cruel that I myself do not understand it. It's just Nature. It is not always fair. It only understands its own laws. And some of it, maybe a lot of it has got to do with us, the way we are, the way we misbehaved. It is so important for him to see me happy that I find myself making an effort at it even if being manically depressed seems so much easier. Perhaps that is why we have kids, to give ourselves a fighting chance at happiness.

Birthday year begins and I have resolved to write more. More stories, more posts, more novels. Women writers have to write in the face of so many difficulties. I have Mahesh, who does everything that is humanly possible to make the time for me to write but still, small children are like water and they flow in from all the unseen crevices, their needs filling up the time and shutting out the words. I need to balance the two. How, we will see. 

30 comments:

Aneela Z said...

Oh wow. I am speechless. and that as you know means something!

Roli Bhushan-Malhotra said...

Loved the bits about the kids! Keep writing P!!

Roli Bhushan-Malhotra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divs said...

Awwww...hugs!!! Happy birthday dear. You don't sound too happy on this day and I can so relate to that. Birthdays are overrated at our age. What we want is our kids to be happy and we happier in return....right? I am sure you'll be fine and will figure out a way to write more and more. Good luck and god bless!

R's Mom said...

Happy belated bday Parul...hope all your wishes come true and of course you should be writing more :) have a super year ahead

R's Mom said...

Happy belated bday Parul...hope all your wishes come true and of course you should be writing more :) have a super year ahead

Supernova said...

Happy Birthday Parul...keep writing! :)

Bubble Catcher said...

Happy Birthday!
We were watching the Japan news on TV and my son wanted to know why the cars were swimming in the water(expect a boy to worry about the cars!).So we tried to explain that the earth shook and the sea came and took away the houses and cars(we didn't talk about the people).And he decided to take a stick and chase the sea back.

Prachi said...

Hey Parul! Delurking to wish you well on starting a new number! Got my hands on the new book...had a good time :) keep smiling and keep writing!

Shilpi said...

Hey Parul, I am delurking too to wish you a Happy birthday !!! Hope ALL your wishes come true..and you keep your resolve to write more:-) (that's the selfish me, wishing)!!!

Dee said...

Happy Birthday Parul!! Lovely post - you have the ability to combine a rainbow of emotions into a perfect package :)

Illusion said...

Happy Birthday Parul!!

I loved ur post, esp this bit "It is so important for him to see me happy that I find myself making an effort at it even if being manically depressed seems so much easier."

I know this not as a parent but as a daughter. There is nothing more imp in this world than to see my mother happy!

Have a gr8 year ahead :)

Yogita said...

Happy Birthday, Parul!

Pepper said...

Belated Birthday wishes Parul! Very happy to know you'll write more :)

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Wow! So many emotions all in one post! Packed a super punch!

May you have the kind of year that you want. Cheers to the 'more writing'!

Perfect Witch said...

Only you can manage to write a post that made me laugh and then ended on such beautiful notes. It is a difficult world, but am glad for your posts! Keep them coming.
And happy birthday (wishing you here as well!)

Passionate Goof said...

Wish you a very happy birthday Parul! Hope the hand is healed now. :)

dipali said...

Awesome and heartbreaking, too.
Wishing you as much happiness as can be, God willing.

Zainab Sulaiman said...

Very nice Parul...Happy Birthday :) Here's to a year of many more super posts like this one.

Vini said...

Happy Birthday!
I wish for you what you wish for yourself :)
Because we live in such an uncertain world, it is important, now more than ever, to live the best lives we can, while we can. If that sounds morbid, it isn't supposed to :)

Obsessivemom said...

Happy belated birthday Parul... I know what you mean (I find myself saying that for almost all your posts) about birthdays being tiring... the stress of 'being happy' is just too much and you're so right about FB.

Nandita said...

Belated Happy Birthday! De-lurking to state I love your blog!

Roop Rai said...

Wow! Loved the bit about having kids for a chance at happiness. I can fully relate to it although the kid is still safely tucked in darkness. I run from anything that'd depress me now. I avoid newpapers and news channels now, and they once used to be a staple. I'm consciously making efforts to keep me happy. I hope these efforts would well outlast pregnancy. Yes, I agree with you!!

B o o. said...

I was so melancholic on my birthday too and I had to force myself to be excited because poor Ashu wanted to make the day very special for me. Sigh!

Belated wishes Parul!

Choxbox said...

Happy Birthday Parul! I spotted your book at the airport bookshop the other day and felt proud (almost as if I had authored it!)

And hey at the risk of sounding very been-there-done-that, it gets easier as the small children grow - and that happens fast. and then you have to grow up with them and you wonder how it happened so quickly.

Jill said...

Happy birthday from Australia!

Keep writing, I love your posts.

We ahve a lot of ties and have visited both India and Japan.
I have Japanese students who jumped on the plane not knowing if they had homes or parents to go back to. The world is crazy at the moment.

What happens at a traditional Indian birthday? I'd love to hear a few different people's versions of celebration.

We are planning a party with friends and kids and may even do a murder mystery fancy dress party! Have you tried anything like that?
It will probably be supplemented with the obligatory barbie (BBQ) too!

We have two girls and would love you to stop by our kid and family friendly blog too when you have a chance.

http://beourbest.blogspot.com/

Euan

Parul said...

Thank you, thank you everyone for the wishes and the kind words and the assurance that it will get better. I miss the time I was able to reply to each comment.

Sue said...

Oi. Would just like to point out that I did not wish you because of M le Zuckerberg. Kiran reminded me this year. So there.

(My friend Mark reminded me last year.)

MiM said...

your M is the best birthday present you ever need, and the best thing is that he is around on non-birthdays too...:-)

34 sounds good. and why is aneela speechless?

Birthday Wishes said...

Happy Birthday