Happy Birthday Dearest Abbaji
When my father woke up early this morning, I dragged myself out of bed and croaked the Happy Birthday song. On my best day I don’t have a good singing voice and can’t ever hold a tune, but early in the morning it must have been torturous :). Maybe I shouldn’t have done that to him.
As he does every year, he told me that this was not his “real” birthday. What he meant by that was that when he was born, no one actually recorded births. The only indication of when exactly my father was born came from my Dadi (paternal grandmother). She said the weather was cool, the sun shone beautifully in the sky and the birds sang happily in the trees. Not quite enough information for us to really figure out his date of birth.
Anyway, when he went to school and college, he had to have a date of birth for the record. And subsequently he got a driving license and finally a passport so the date that was used on all his documents and official records is the one that we accept as his official date of birth.
Each year he tells us that it isn’t really his birthday but each year he is happy that we have bothered to remember and to celebrate.
My brothers and my sister all phoned him today – not once but several times – to let him know that they were thinking of him. I prepared a special food hamper for him of things he likes to eat and drink – a jar of honey, muesli, chocolate coated raisins, honey coated cashews and peanuts, ribena, raspberry cookies, rich tea biscuits, oreo biscuits, cheese – and I bought him a Levi’s shirt, trouser and a pair of socks.
I had wanted to take his friends and him for high tea to the Boat Club but he wasn’t feeling up to it. So we had a nice meal prepared at home and some members of the family joined us for a pleasant dinner and the chocolate caramel cake and trifle.
Much as Abbaji may protest the efforts we put into celebrating his birthday each year, he loves being fussed over. Who doesn’t? Happy birthday Abbaji. May you be with us for a long long time. Aameen.
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