Friday, June 22, 2012

Birthdays, Gifts and Growing-Up



“How can I possibly surprise him?” It is his 21st birthday. Gadgets, gizmos, garments - all need his approval. Chocolates are fattening, birthday-cards impersonal and toys redundant. It is pointless to spend money on unwanted stuff. Also at a time when he is about to start earning, a gift seems trivial.

Scanning some of his childhood pictures and posting them on Facebook as a collage sounds like a good idea. What if my indulgent act invites some banter from his friends? Not that I was intending to post his pictures dressed as a girl. No, not even the nangu-pangu pictures. Yet any toddler picture held the potential of inviting some teasers from his peers. But what the heck! Isn’t the delete button a blessing?
I spend the day selecting old pictures and struggle with the scanner (I am terribly tech challenged) to upload some memorable ones. Each picture brings back a rush of memories - memories which glide by like monsoon clouds.

It is ironical how we want our children to grow up and when they do, we want them to turn into kids again. How we want them to conquer the world and when they go globetrotting, we wish they never left home.

The old pictures present a nostalgic texture of a lost childhood.

As a kid, his birthday countdown began a month ago. “Ma…how many days left?” Then counting on the tender fingers, he would whine, “Tsk.. tsk …I have to wait for X days and Y hours.”

The birthday celebrations were fun. There was cake to be baked, balloons to be blown and food to be cooked; it used to be a day against which I re-lived my long lost birthday parties. I had a tough time saving the cake before the formal cake cutting. “One bite please,” he would beg. I remember losing temper when I once caught him unwrapping gifts while the guests were having dinner. As I go down the memory lane, his initial birthday gifts were mostly clothes and toys. Later on the gifts included a small blue guitar, a cricket bat, Harry Potter book, , an iPod……. I think it was a Nike football on his sixteenth birthday. The last gift was a mobile phone on the eighteenth birthday.

“What do you want for your birthday?” I had asked him last year.

“I am not a baby.” 

So no birthday present this year again. I did bake a cake. But that’s it. It is past ten in the morning. I peep excitedly in his room. Want to ruffle his hair. No, he doesn’t like anyone touching his hair now. As he tosses and turns, I shout ‘happy birthday’.

“Get up….people are calling to wish you. See, I baked a chocolate cake for you,” I chirp.

“Relax…ma. It’s only a birthday,” and he goes off to snooze some more.

Times change!


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69 comments:

  1. Lovely post :) wonderfully depicts how people change with time!

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  2. Happy birthday to your son. My mom once told me, I wish you would never grow up and always stay with me :-))) It is indeed a universal mom feeling :-)
    Such a sweet post, and the pic is so adorable. Didnot want the post to end :-)

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  3. What a beautiful nostalgic post ! Happy birthday to your son :P

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  4. A nostalgic memory trip beautifully penned as always, Alka:) Best wishes to your son on his birthday!

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  5. Here is wishing Many, Many Happy Returns of the day to both of you! The pith of your post lies in the realisation "how we want our children to grow up and when they do, we want them to turn into kids again".

    Cute, nostalgic photograph.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, as always you get the idea behind the post. Thank you, indeed

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  6. Happy b'day to your son...and hope he enjoyed the cake! :)

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  7. The perspective towards birthdays changes every year... There were times I don't want people to wish me in crowd.. I would feel embarrassed.. I say no party cake at home....now I wait for them every year..
    Get him a gift voucher from Adidas or globus so he can buy what he wants...at this age all they want us privacy and pocket money:)

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  8. And happy birthday to your son!! He is so cute in that picture Alka...

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  9. Alka,

    Please wish him BELATED MANY MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY FROM MY SIDE. Yes, time changes. It is so good to enjoy fond memories and one should live with time also.

    Take care

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    Replies
    1. Rahul
      Ria
      Vaish
      Jack
      Thank you indeed for the wishes.

      Delete
  10. Time has indeed changed. From an excited child, he is now an adult who sees birthdays as just another day. Belated Happy Birthday Goutam!

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  11. well times change. but i dont argue with my mom on birthday. she trusts my choice and so just asks the amount i need. even after i have started earning.

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  12. Yeah, time changes. I miss olden days too! These days, I relive those moments with my friends' kids! Going to attend a Baby Shower party tomorrow :-)

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  13. Happy birthday to your son.. nice post.

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    Replies
    1. Rachna...True. Thanks

      Madhav...Same story here.

      Giri...Have fun

      Dr. Roshan..Thanks.

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  14. As our kids grow up the only things that remain are the bond of love and the values -- everything else changed, including how we view things. Wish your son a very happy birthday and hope he liked your gift :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, he did. And you have summarized it beautifully. Again.

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  15. Alka, you made be nostalgic. There was once a time when we were their universe and now we are just a planet in their universe.
    I have to start preparing myself to let go of her.

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    Replies
    1. Purba, it happens gradually and subtly....then suddenly when they are 20/21 it dawns that times have changed.It is a cycle, I am sure our parents felt the same way.

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  16. Replies
    1. How have you been Prateek...long time.

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  17. this post made me a bit nostalgic, till i came to uk my dad celbrated my b'day always every year .. and yeah time has changed I came to uk and missed all that ...

    they were indeed the good old days

    Bikram's

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    Replies
    1. Congrats on the award....I am sure your dad celebrated it in his own way even in your absence.

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  18. belated but best wished to your son. the beauty of growing up is that you've got to do a whole lot of it before you figure out what is important and what is not. i am sure that this post, like a good vintage, will grow in its value as the years pass and lives change. what a lovely birthday gift.

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    Replies
    1. You have put it so beautifully. Thanks.

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  19. Mumma's love is pouring in each word. You have so beautifully captured the emotions.Love the picture, just adorable.

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    Replies
    1. ha, ha...you know where all this was coming from....In fact I had written this post when you told me that Annika was counting days before her Bday.

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  20. "It is ironical how we want our children to grow up and when they do, we want them to turn into kids again"....so true....

    Lovely post..may Almighty give him good health and all success in his future life..AMEEN...!!

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    Replies
    1. Your wishes are treasured...shukriya.

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  21. Oh...how i wish i could just have a glimpse of my mom, who is no more. How kids grow:( I still dread the day when my little ones will say..."mom, its only a birthday". Until then, it is chocolates, balloons and cakes...Good post.

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    Replies
    1. Enjoy the chocolates, candles and balloons while they last...Glad u liked it.

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  22. awww...would my son say that eventually too? such a sweet post. kids grow so fast. Happy birthday to your son. My first time here...will check the other posts too :)

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    Replies
    1. Welcome here....I guess most boys react the same way...perhaps girls are more excited and vocal about birthdays as they grow up.

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  23. Bittersweet post! I can see myself feeling the same way a decade from now. Wish Goutam a very happy birthday, and I enjoyed seeing the pics you had put up on FB! It is such a proud moment for a parent to have a strapping, handsome son towering above them :).

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  24. My daughter makes sure the whole world knows and celebrates her birthday every year.She almost demands surprises and gifts from friends and family.Every year I think the enthusiasm might go down but no...'My birth was the happiest occasion for the whole world, so we need to celebrate it' she says (she will be all of 21yrs soon).My son, a teen is already in the same zone as your son -just another day ( with a shrug )!

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    Replies
    1. Boys and girls behave diffidently as they grow up....Girls are more vocal and friendly..boys more silent and aloof.
      Thanks for spending time here.

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  25. It was like u were narrating my b'day :P
    there used to b so much hungama on b'days but now just hugs n kisses n blessings..
    Is it bad or good ??

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    Replies
    1. Really?
      Cant bracket it as good or bad....as long as everyone is happy....

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    2. yeah can so same pinch to your son on that :P
      and yeah earlier I frgt.. Many many happy returns of the day to both of u..
      I know that b'days r special 4 moms :D

      yep.. I wonder how the definition of happiness change with time :)

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  26. Very well written :) The birthday celebration keeps changing as you grow up. When I was a kid I would tell everybody I met that day that it was my "Happy Birthday" (yes with the happy). Now it is just another day!

    "It is ironical how we want our children to grow up and when they do, we want them to turn into kids again." - so true. Trust me the children also feel the same :) The grass on the other side is always greener!

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    Replies
    1. Welcome here. And yes, the grass on the other side is perhaps an astro turf.

      :)

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  27. Awwww...Happy Birthday Alks to the light of your life. You know they do not show it, because they know it. He knows you'll be there doing your bit n probably does not want to show he's excited about it coz he is supposed to be grown up:)

    He'll return, to the days when you just have to rush to ma for everything...life is the twenties is harder these days than the teens :)

    Such a warm post-I could feel the tug at your heart-here's wishing him all the very best in life-always :-)

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  28. I don't like to celebrate or countdown to the Birthdays anymore! I think, it is just the growing up.. or so I guess!
    Happy Birthday :)

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  29. What a coincidence! Even I recently wrote a post on birthdays and surprises! I still look forward to birthdays even though it means growing a year older - birthdays for me means celebrating the day I stepped on to this earth :) :) :) How old you are depends on your state of mind ;) ;)

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    Replies
    1. Very well written...Sprinkles of Stardust. Love the name.

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  30. Now I can get the other side of the coin what my mom must b thinking!!

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  31. enjoyed reading your blog...cheers!

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  32. Boys love their sleep more than girls...be sure about waking him next time. However the excitement of birthdays hardly diminishes and if its well spent with friends, all the more better

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  33. yes, times change! I'm not a mother yet so can't realise what you feeling...but I do get the feel. Belated wishes to your son!
    btw, i thought your kids were school going:) (guessed from your writing style)

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  34. you put up a of thought into it...best wishes to your son.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you indeed. You have an impressive website. Unfortunately, I do not have a loved one or a relative there. However, I am sending my best wishes to all....

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  35. @Pesto..Trust me, I know how difficult it s to wake up boys. Almost impossible.

    @OldFox...That is the beauty of virtual world. One can never guess the exact age...ha ha

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  36. Your blog is addictive. I dont happen to blog-hop as regularly as before but when I do, I always take a peek in here, going back and forth, catching up; to get a dose of your trademark satire wrapped in a tortilla of humour.

    As for the post. Just had a baby boy (which is why cannot blog hop as before), n this post tickles my mommy bones. Loved it. :)

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  38. Birthday gifts that are related to growing up are not only remembered throughout life, but are also very important for life

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  39. got carried away when I read this :) I dont kno abt sons but most of the daughters would love any kind of gifts but ya change is inevitable :(

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