Do I Know You?

Familiarity is a wonderful thing; the perfect eraser of imperfections. All lasting relationships culminate in familiarity; in inadvertently finishing sentences, laughing at worn out jokes and reading each other’s thoughts. It is the blissful phase when little flaws become inconsequential and anecdotes are in profusion. Be it family, close friends or long time colleagues, their reassuring presence has comforted me in many situations.

There have been many times when I feel baffled with the friends I have accumulated over the years. Some of my friends are wildly unlike me and the contradictions are uncanny. Not just my friends, even my sister who was born just a minute before me is the polar opposite of me. Reaching a level of harmony with them seems impossible. And yet somehow, we hold on to each other; embracing each other’s qualities and accepting each other’s quirks.

I often wonder if my sister were not my family and we would just chance upon each other at a random situation, would we become friends? I asked the same thing to my sister before I sat down to write this post. Without missing a beat, she replied that we would definitely be friends because both of us are crazy. So that settles that.

I also ponder the same about my friends. Had I met some old friends now, would I still like them? Would I still adjust with the one who is never on time for a movie? Would I still like the friend who conveniently forgets to return my books? Would I still take kindly  to them if they did not return my calls? Would I still patiently counsel them after their latest bout of uncertainty?

However hard I think about it, I can never reach a conclusion. Primarily because this is an exercise in futility. Why question the events which have already transpired? And especially the ones which have brought great people in my life and given me great joy? Why tinker with this delightful balance my wonderful family and friends have knit into?

Written in response to Daily Post – Delayed Contact

Of Cake and Introspection

Much like the circle of life they mark, the significance of birthdays too evolve as they occur every year. For a child, they are the most anticipated day of the year; friends milling around in your house bearing shining presents, a big cake, wearing a brand new dress, mom cooking her best dishes for you, dad fussing with the camera to capture every little moment of the day. It is the annual day of exclusive attention. As the child grows, the novelty of birthdays diminish gradually. While still special, it is also a notorious reminder that they are getting older. And with that reminder, kicks in the excruciating self introspection; have I made the most of my life so far? Nevertheless, I love birthdays and I am looking forward to celebrating mine in sixteen days.

Come July and I get all excited and can’t wait for the 20th of the month. I get so excited that I start reminding everyone I meet that my birthday is coming up. As thrilling I find the countdown, I don’t plan anything special for this day. All I care about actually is eating a big chocolate cake and good food; and of course, spending some quality time with family and friends. My friends made my last birthday very memorable as we spent the entire day together and they showered me with presents. It was pouring on that day and I drove them for lunch but got stuck in a nasty traffic jam instead. But we had great fun as we were in really high spirits. We were laughing and singing the whole time. On the top of everything, my parents sent my sister and me a big bouquet of flowers and a huge cake in the morning getting the day off to a beautiful start.

I don’t have any specific idea of a perfect birthday. I just like to be busy and surrounded with people I like, eat good food and respond to birthday wishes on phone and Facebook. I have a few friends who are close but whose voices I get to hear only on my birthday. We have all chosen to build our lives in different cities and its a massive shame that I cannot see some of them everyday. So we use our birthdays as an excuse to reconnect. It is something I really look forward every year and I find it heartening that they still bother to wish me. But if I do have to plan a perfect birthday, I would like to be travelling on that day. It would be nice to celebrate it in a place I have never seen before.

As I have grown up, I have begun to see birthdays as a chance for reminiscing at how far I have come. I have a tacit understanding with myself; to get better at something every year. As my birthday approaches and I launch myself into my annual self introspection session; I do realize that I have matured a bit, although in subtle ways. I have become a bit more independent and a bit less confused. As I prepare to surge into another year of my life, all I can wish for is to keep getting better and better in as many ways as I can. And of course, a big chocolate cake.

Written in response to Daily Prompt – It’s Your Party