December 25, 2011

24 going on 16

This day, in 1987, about 2.30 am, I was born in a Dehradun hospital. When my father went home after my birth, my grandmother asked, "Kya hua?" (meaning: "Is it a boy or a girl?") My father replied, "Hemant hua." I was born in Hemant ritu, the coldest, err... the chilliest, season. And thus the name.

After the sun rose, my sister—who was then one-and-a-half year old—came to the hospital to see me. The hospital-wali sister asked my sister: "Bhaiyya kaisa laga?" And my sister replied with "Pintu". That was the name of the beloved dog we had then. The nurse asked my sister again if she liked her brother, to which she said "****". My father found it cute and **** became my nickname, which I banned before I became a teen. Within 12 hours of my arrival on the planet, I had got two names.

Ummm... This blogpost is likely to be disjointed because I'm in a state of shock. You'd be shocked if the entire Australian  team gets dismissed for 24 runs. Isn't it? I'm shocked 'cuz I turn 24 today. Twenty-four years... When did all this happen? I feel I'm 16, forever a schoolboy. I'm the same, my Utopian beliefs and ideals intact. Still don't smoke, don't drink, don't watch porn. Uh oh! Topic change.

Ok, so what am I gonna do today? The best thing: gonna switch off my mobile phone, show up for work and pray for an 'uneventful' birthday. People celebrate their birthdays, I observe mine. 25/12 is my 9/11 and 26/11. Well, last year, I did go out with my two school friends, did bird-watching on Brigade Road, ate cheez-burst pizza and watched Tees Maar Khan (they liked just Sheela Ki Jawani, I loved the whole film). Yeah, I had fun, but that was just as fun as any other day with friends. Nothing special. I've heard people say how they feel oh-so-special on their birthdays. It must feel really special to feel special... Some day.

Anyway, I hate being at either end of "happy birthday". What? I don't even remember being born. Everybody was born. What's the distinction in being born? Why greet me for that? If you congratulate me for a good headline or a story well edited, that makes sense. But "Happy birthday! Hehehe... Thank you!" I don't get it. I  explained this to a  friend a couple of years ago, since then she doesn't call me on birthdays; and then calls a few days after December 25 to explain why she did not call. Hahahaha...

Another reason I hate birthdays is unmet expectations. When I was a nanha-munna bachcha and used to have birthday party for kids of my street, it was so disappointing to see everyone bring sets of sketchpens as gift. Or an envelope saying "Best wishes" with Rs 21 in it. So unimaginative. I already had sketchpens and money was no use to me then. I stopped having birthday party after class 2.

Talking of gifts, I don't remember how old I was when this happened, but I must not have been more than eight or nine years old. I woke up on the morning of December 25 to see a packet of Melody toffees next to my pillow. I was superhappy; Santa brought it for me. I proclaimed this to my neighbour bhaiyya. Matter of factly, he said my parents had kept it. I was not convinced. By now, I've wised up and know Santa isn't there. I still believe in angels, though.

Talking of Santa, it reminds me how my birthday used to start when I was a kid. A Christian family used to live opposite our house and when the clock used to strike 12, a jeep used to come to their house, with merrymakers, Santa Claus and cake. Every year, I used to peep from my window to see all that. It's been so many years, I've been wanting to go to a church on Christmas, to see what all happens. Want to see Christmas tree, wanna hear Chrishmas carols. Next year, maybe. 

As for now, I hope the Reebok showrooms still have that wonderful denim jacket on discount. That'd be my birthday gift to me. No, actually it's just an excuse to buy that jacket. Still in doubt, should I buy it or not?

P.S. Santa, I haven't given up on you.

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