Sunday, April 7, 2013

Beautiful Day

I had a hall of fame birthday last Thursday. It started in the morning with Surya Namaskar and an hour of meditation with Nimo and Anji. Roshan kindly cooked a homemade breakfast of powah and sprinkled sev. There were grapes on the side. Mom called and sang me Happy Birthday in a very sweet way, I wish I recorded it. Jay and Dad sent their wishes as well.

I was instructed by Anji to cancel all work-related appointments in the afternoon for some surprise activities. Nimo and I left the flat and met her and Jose at MS. I was blindfolded and led into a rickshaw. Anji lost her chapals and in Gandhiji style wanted to leave them for the lucky prizewinner. But we circled back and they were still there. Throughout that great day the bounces went our way.

We took a long rickshaw ride and after a while of trying to track it I got disoriented. We crossed a bridge, but there was no traffic so I had no idea where we were going. When we got out I was led up some stairs, I thought we were entering a mandir. Then we passed a security checkpoint and entered a large A/C cooled room. Definitely a mall. But that was all I could deduce because by then Nimo had tied a mobile phone playing music over both of my ears. It was a wild experience hearing two different songs at once like that, like you're at the club and the DJ's mixing a transition that never completes.

We got to where we needed to go and I sat for a while waiting, still blindfolded. Then I was given some heavenly banana-flavored juice through a straw. I got confused thinking I was back at someone's house because it tasted like one of Nimo's homemade smoothies. But then I was led through some corridors and into a room and asked to lie down on a bed. When I took off my blindfold I found myself in a massage parlor!

Jose had gone to this place at Alpha Mall earlier and had raved about the massage. I had never gotten a professional massage, so I was curious. It was really awesome. The misuse was incredible. It was a full body massage. I had to strip down into some disposable underwear and this woman was touching me intimately, but I lost the shyness after she started loosening my calves and shoulders. She went neck to toe. I wanted her to focus extra on my right ankle, right groin, and shoulders, three problem areas for me in recent years. But after an hour session she had worked so hard, I felt it was selfish to ask her to do more. In general I felt awkward about the experience because there is a lot of taking and no giving. But I walked out feeling great. I really wanted Nimo to get a massage, he would love it.

Then we went for lunch at Creamer's in Prahaladnagar and did brain teasers on the menu while we waited for our food. I felt 13 years old again, which is always great on your 31st birthday.

Then we headed back towards home and I told the friends I wanted to stop by the office. When I approached I notice the shutter was down, which was odd, but I didn't think much of it. Then I opened the shutter and was met by a loud CRACK! firecracker. And the Awaaz.De team came out and surprised me. The office was done up very elaborately, a huge leap forward decoratively from what we had for Chirag's birthday. We cut a Ferrero Rocher cake and hung out for a while. It was great, I really appreciated the team's spirit.

From there I went to Ba's house and cut the third cake of the day with Ba and Gita phoi. First thing I did when I came in was touch their feet and get their blessings, which they gave. I got emotional hugging Ba, which was unexpected. I just love her a lot. Especially since Jay was here, I have come to understand, respect, and love her much more.

We chit-chatted for a while, and then I headed over to Seva Cafe for the last stop of the day. The AD team and other friends were going to serve dinner that evening. Little did I know but the entire menu for the evening comprised of my favorite foods. Anji and Roshni had done some background work with Jay to include some of my favorites. We had tacos with refrained beans, fresh pico de gallo and sour cream; pasta; mexican rice, khichu, FBI without the ice cream. I was a little embarrassed because I have the food tastes of a 13 year old. But again, that's good on 31.

There was live music by Sandeep and one of the guests serenaded me with a song in a semi-awkward moment. The 4th and final cake was cut in a special ceremony. Shital and I teamed up to make tacos in the back all evening, after some time we were really approaching Taco Bell efficiency. It was hard work since we were behind on orders the whole night, but people couldn't get enough of those little delights. The shells we used were called tacoz shells and pictured chef Induben giving the standard stiff Indian mean look photo face. We served 56 guests. At the end of the night after the volunteers staff had cleaned up and ate dinner, I gave each one a small Tulsi plant as their goody bag.

It was a fantastic evening. I went home and meditated to complete the day in style. It was a full and fun day. Most precious was the time with friends who have come to be family. I look back on my 31 years and feel most fortunate for all of the great friends and love I'm surrounded by. You all are truly my wealth.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

-- Maya Angelou

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