The Birthday that Was …


On my birthday 15 years ago, I had a very Aunty-Uncle type party. Not that I didn’t invite my peers. But it was that time of the day when the peers were sent to their respective homes, so that my Mum could bring out more food and Dad, well, we are all grown up now, so im just gonna say – the drinks. So everyone at that party was older to me – about 25 years. But these were nice folks, so they all wished me Happy Birthday and handed over a sealed envelope to me, which would ultimately land up in my Mum’s hand, still sealed. However, where there are rules, there always are exceptions. And there he was; standing 6 ft something, looked quizzically at me, turned to my Dad and said; “You know V, my brother’s wife’s sister’s son is 27. And you know how many qualifications he has? Seven. And he’s only 27. So Alice, do you think that by 27 you will have 7 qualifications?” Did I mention I was only 12? My Dad, being a Dad was ofcourse proud for his friend’s blah blah blah’s blah and his blah qualifications. But I wondered and yes, kinda started planning my life till 27…… after all, I am the perfect daughter and if anyone had to give an example of being the perfect daughter, it had to be mine.

It’s so funny where life takes us, right?  The journey, the destination, are all altered somewhere along the long winding road.

And just like that, this 30 Jan 2012, I wondered, sitting at the Airport again. Is the journey more important than the destination? I havent achieved the seven qualifications that the blah blah had achieved. But according to another Auntie, I have over achieved. And maybe thats why I’m so miserable, coz I have filled my life with work and books. “Bullshit”; says my Mum. “You have done what every smart person has and will do. We have given you such a strong base on which you can build your life’s multi storey tower – steadily and strongly . Yes, they have; no doubt. And I have always loved them for that and much more. So as I sat weighting my success in the 15 years that have passed, I asked Life if it was still willing to chick-cheque-shock me. The Wicked Witch replied saying; “As long as you need to learn something, I will continue altering your GPS. But if you think you don’t need to learn anything, or that you haven’t learnt anything from the past, then, in that case you don’t need me”. With Life threatening to leave me like that, esp on our 27th anniversary, I was forced to think of all Life’s Lessons.  I realized that I have learnt to let go of my ego, become a better person, come a long way with certain strangers who have become family now. I have learnt to be a better daughter/friend/mentor,learnt to shop on my own (it did come realllyyy late in my life, but better late than never), learnt swimming, snorkeling, learnt to love kids (well, just my nephew really), learnt to travel alone, learnt to care for the sick, learnt that no matter which guy leaves my life, my girl friends will always stay on. I learnt that the high tidal waves can be mesmerizing to watch, but if I stay long, the Sea Prince will wrap me in his arms and try to take me to his Water Palace. More importantly, I learnt that success is not measured by the direct proportion of the qualifications you achieved and your age, rather success is measured by the family you have made, it is measured by the 3d-ness of each and every foto with your friends, it is measured by how much you can give to everyone around you, without expecting anything in return. I wont boast (yeaaa I’m a modest monster) but I am glad to have inspired all the people who I have managed to, whether it was to take a break, work hard, work smart or just plain simple as to try different food. So turns out, I have measured my success at 27 and I’m more successful than the then 27 year old with 7 qualifications.

With that thought in mind, I walked back to the parking lot, as it was time to be at my birthday party, for which the only planning I did, was to set a reminder to sent out an e-invite!


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