A Birthday to Introspect

It was my Birthday yesterday. A very important one as I am stepping into the last bit of my twenties. Before I get into the details, do you know that I am a cusp, and that too of contradictory zodiac signs? Yeah! If interested, just google Leo-Virgo cusp and you’ll see. I need a Nobel Prize for handling myself! 😛
c92388fac4758784d7c1d9ea5e6efa03--leo-virgo-cusp-leo-horoscope.jpg

So I have these mixed emotions coursing through me. I am excited to know how the next decade will be, but also, dreading it. The fact that I couldn’t accomplish the things I thought I would by the time I was 30, kind of puts me down. I do have one more year though. I am super relieved that I finally cleared CA, an ordeal in itself.

Be that as it may, either the life lessons have increased recently or I have begun to observe life more. There are a few things that the last few months, weeks and days including this day taught me. Let me share them here:

  • If you have faith in The Power, your faith along with your efforts will give you what you need. Sometimes, ever so miraculously. (The way I cleared CA)
  • Sometimes, our desires aren’t fulfilled. Not attaining our desires will encourage us to explore new paths and discover other potentials (I became a freelance writer and an entrepreneur as my CA course delayed).
  • There will always be two kinds of well wishers in our lives – the ones that ask us to stay put/hang on until we die and the ones that ask us to quit/try something else. Either could be right. But Listen to your body, mind, heart and soul. (I was asked to quit CA as much as I was asked to keep writing. They were well-wishers, but they weren’t me.)
  • It is difficult to take the path less trodden, but you will be one among the few who experiences life in a different light (Let’s just say, being 29 and unmarried is difficult, but interesting).
  • Even if you feel worthless, get up and get some work done. If you just lay there, you will in fact be unproductive and worthless. (A reminder to myself to face those goddamn interviews.)
  • Always have a hobby. If you don’t have one, start doing random things and find an activity you enjoy. It helps you clear your head, enjoy your own company and appreciate yourself better.
  • Your Birthday is the right time to take stock of people in your lives. More often than not, you will see the difference in your well-wishers. (Between a Birthday filled with Chocolates & gifts and another with none of those, a close friend decided to leave.)

Now on a lighter, yet important Birthday note:

  • HBD sounds like an official acronym sent by a boss who is too busy to sit down and talk to you, and treats you like a vending machine that dispenses work. If you want to send a Birthday wish to someone, take the time to type the words fully or simply don’t wish. That would be much better. Honestly 🙂
  • Friends to whom I haven’t spoken in years, called me. That was heart warming. I haven’t spoken to them in such a long time and yet they decided to take out their phone, dial my number and wish me. I have never done that! I should. I will, from now on. 🙂
  • I learnt today that I could use the FB Birthday reminders to bond with people. I could give a personal touch to my wishes so that they smile seeing them.
    I barely wish people seeing FB reminders because I remember the birthdays of the important people in my life. Besides, I always thought that FB wishes were impersonal and mechanical. But some wishes today genuinely made me happy. Most of them were simple Birthday wishes, but in complete sentences. They struck a chord because the well wishers had taken the time to type out those words and make them more personal.There were some others that made my day. Here are two of them:1.PNG24.PNGThough one-sentence-wishes, the personal touch in them is unmistakable. I will, from today, make a difference in the few Birthday wishes I send out.

As for today, I feel good having spoken to a lot of old friends, and having met up with a couple of them from my innermost circle. It feels good to be remembered and to be loved. It inspires me to appreciate and love people better. 🙂

Happy Birthday to ME ❤

With Love,
~Myself ♥

 

Aangan Downtown Restaurant Review

Let me begin with this: I feel like I have found treasure near my house. Having been a part of a Facebook group ‘Eat Kochi Eat’, I kept seeing great reviews about Aangan Downtown Restaurant and had added it to my must visit eateries list. If you have read my earlier posts, you’ll know that I love making lists!

Last month was Amma’s birthday and since my sister wasn’t in town, we decided to give Amma a surprise dinner whenever my sister got back. We also had fund constraints. So eventually, even if it was late, we arranged for some cash and made a quick plan. I was entrusted with choosing the restaurant since I keep listing the eateries I want to visit. Besides, I am always crying about the mouth-watering posts in the FB group.

We reached Aangan Downtown which is at Palarivattom. It isn’t at the main road and hence not very visible. If you are someone who goes by first impressions, the moment you enter, you’ll love the place. The ambiance and the staff were very welcoming. They showed us to our table and suggested some of their specials.

I am enlisting the dishes we had for the ease of reading them:

  1. Soups – Have you ever felt that soup sort of decides your appetite? It is like a performance. If it starts well, it compensates for tiny flaws later on. But if starts bad, you really don’t look forward to anything that comes later.a) Cream of Vegetable Soup -Before I get onto this, I need to tell you about my Grandmother (Ammamma). She is an amazing cook! She is a tough critic and I rarely find her appreciating restaurant food. I guess you know where this is going. She absolutely loved the soup. Her exact words, if translated, would read, “I don’t think I have had a soup this delicious ever. It wasn’t spicy, but it sure was creamy with the right flavors!”
    There is a saying in Tamil, ‘Vasishtar Vayaala Brahmarishi nu Sonna‘. Vasishta is a sage and it is astounding when he mentions another sage in a good manner. (Dear Tamilians, I am really sorry for screwing up the explanation 😛 But you get it right?)b) Naadan Kozhi Soup –

    Naadan Kozhi Soup from Aangan Downtown Restaurant
    Naadan Kozhi Soup

    Which is Kerala chicken soup as prepared with the countryside flavor. Oh my! It was spicy in a good way with flavors that tickled our taste buds. It was quite watery with ample chunks of chicken. If you are looking for something thick and creamy, this one isn’t for you. But, I’d say the naadan kozhi soup is something you should never miss. 😀 By the end of it, I was eagerly waiting for everything we ordered.

  2. Starters – We ordered Chicken 65 and Gobi 65. Well, the choices were too many, we needed both Veg and Non veg and so settled for these. Again, they were really good. They were the kind of ’65’s you get in any good restaurant. No extra flavors.  Crispy Gobi and well seasoned chicken with lots of crispy curry leaves. I am a fan of curry leaves. When they happen to adorn something really delicious, I ensure that the plate is empty. So we did. 😀
  3. Main course –  Our expectations had reached sky high after the starters and the soup that we took a while to decide the main course. There were so many options, high expectation and too less space. If only we could borrow some tummy space from someone 😛
    After much deliberation, we landed on:a) Paneer Kizhi Biriyani for the beautiful lady aka Grandma :* – I did try a morsel and wasn’t very impressed mainly because I am not a fan of the tinge of sweet in normal dishes. Plus, it was a bit too bland for my taste.

    Paneer Kizhi Biriyani from Aangan Downtown
    Paneer Kizhi Biriyani

    b) American Chopsuey – It was served well with a fried egg on top. It was saucy and crispy and yum in the beginning. But as I mentioned earlier, the tinge of sweet began to over-power with each morsel. On the other hand, Mom just loved it! So, I’d say the dish was perfect, just changes with each person’s taste. 🙂

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    American Chopsuey

    c) Chicken Steak – Ooh lala! It was very soft, rich in flavour, steaming hot and with the right amount of vegetables on the side. It was a sure winner for the remaining three of us.

    Chicken Steak from Aangan Downtown
    Chicken Steak

Once we were done with our meals, when Ammamma was about to get up to wash her hands, the staff enquired if she needs a finger bowl. It was a very nice and thoughtful gesture. Not only were the staff friendly, but the owner too came up and had a little chat with us. Overall, a foodie-friendly place! 🙂

Summary:
Food – Too Good (4.9/5)
Ambience – Excellent (5/5)
Pricing – Our bill was Rs. 1200 for 4 which is very reasonable for Cochin standards, the food, the service and the amount we hogged.
Location – Palarivattom, Kochi (Click for the Location on Map)
Favorites – Both Soups and Steak

Aangan - Downtown Multicuisine Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Day to Extol the Legend – A R Rahman

Well, a day late!

My playlist brims with the songs created by the legend who was born yesterday and so, how can I not come up with a post? I initially thought of singing one of his songs and tried recording a few. It has been more than a month since I sang and so, it turned out to be pathetic. Finally, I managed to record just a portion of one of his masterpieces. Since I thought that is too less, after a lot of deliberation, I decided to compile a list of my favorite A R Rahman songs too.

So, here goes the part where you bear with my singing. Thank God for ‘On’ and ‘Off’ buttons. 😀 I apologize for the off tones and the wrong pronunciations, if any.

If you like the song and haven’t heard the original, you must. 🙂

ARR is known for his very own unique tunes that take the weirdest and mysterious routes when we expect them the least. The best example being the lines in Ae Ajnabi.

Vo Jo Doodh Dhuli Masoom Kali
Vo Hai Kahan Kahan Hai

When I heard them for the first time, I just sat there perplexed thinking, ‘What was that?’ The lines before these were moving smooth and simple and then suddenly, there came a gush of unexpected notes so unique. At first, I wondered how Udit Narayan sang that portion. It was pure magic. And then many years later, I wondered how someone could create music that unique, with so many twists and turns. Later, I found many such unexpected twists in Rahman sir’s songs. I could only bow down to the maestro. 🙂

Shhh… He is weaving magic 🙂

Image courtesy: Official page – arrahman.com

Here are some of my favorite songs by him:

1. Puthu Vellai Mazhai (Ye haseen vadhiya) and Kadhal Rojave (Roja jaane man) are my favorites from the movie. The maestro was known to the world through this movie and the songs in it took the world by their spell. These two songs still give me goosebumps when they are played unexpectedly in the public.

2. Uyire (Tu hi Re) – This soul stirring song from Bombay has been sung and played a million time and yet it remains evergreen. I wonder what made him compose this melancholic piece filled with so much desperation.

3. Roja Roja – Many aren’t aware of this beautiful song from Kadhalar Dinam (Hindi: Dil hi Dil Mein). Ae Nazneen Suno Na (Enna Vilai Azhage) is another breath taking number from the movie. The second stanza takes it to another level. Here is the song ‘Ae Nazneen Suno Na’.

4. Piya Milenge – Raanjhana has many more songs that caught people’s attention. This is my favorite because of the sufi-ness, Sukhwinder Singh & Rahman Sir.

5. Anbe Sugama – This song from Parthale Un Paravasam has a lot word play. I had written about this in this post earlier.

6. Yeh Jo des hai Tera – You can’t help but be proud about our country when you listen to this song. Whenever this plays in school/college, right after ARR’s Vande Mataram, that is when the Republic/Independence day celebration becomes complete.

7. Vennilave (Chanda Re) – He has given lots of wonderful songs in Minsarakanavu, this being my favorite. Maana Madurai and Poo Pookum Osai (Awaara Bhawre) isn’t far behind.

8. Ae Ajnabi – I have already mentioned the reason why I fell for this song. When Roja and Bombay were released, I was a child and didn’t know that there was someone called a Music composer. Somehow, when I fell in love with Ae Ajnabi, that was when I began to realize that this and the rest in my playlist were ARR’s creations. Ae Ajnabi is my Neem Tree 😛

I Had to Make Another List

I began to prepare this list and then, I realised that the number of songs were increasing beyond control. It is difficult for a Rahman fan to list just a few. Hence I jot down some more songs that I have to mention. They were my favorites when they released. The fever has abated but still, I like them. 🙂

  • Khoon Chala
  • Lukka Chuppi 
  • Entrendrum Punnagai (O Humdum)
  • Snehidane (Chupke Se). All of us were crazy about this one.
  • Rock Star – I like all the songs in the movie. But Phir Se Udd Chala, Kun Faya Kun & Sadda Haq top the list.
  • Behne De –  An enchanting music, this one’s got! I don’t know why, whenever I listen to this, I imagine myself climbing a mountain. There is a lot of energy in my imaginations. 😀
  • Jodha Akbar – In Lamhon Ke Daaman Me, Jashn E Bahara and Khwaja Mere Khwaja. The last sufi one stole everyone’s hearts. There is something about this sufi music and then there is something about AR Rahman’s music. When the two merge, bliss it is!
  • The legend of Bhagat Singh – His patriotic songs convey the right emotions. They hit the heart where it must, point blank. Des Mere and Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna convey extreme levels of patriotism but the two songs are entirely different.

Songs From the Movie ‘Boys’ 

This require a special mention. This movie that lured teenagers, was released in my tenth standard. We had several music channels that played every song from this movie day in and day out consecutively. People who never watched Tamil until then were flocking outside the theatre to watch it, many of my classmates being among them.

These songs began the fever. In my eleventh standard, I knew all the songs in the movie fully and when teachers were late to class, my classmates used to ask me to sing them. I have sung them a hundred times! Maro Maro, Girlfriend, Dating, Please Sir, Ale Ale, Secret of Success, Boom Boom 😀 I knew them all!

The Must Mention Fast Numbers

Muqqala, Urvasi, Humma Humma, Chayya Chayya etc are still feet tapping numbers. You can’t just ignore them. I grew up listening to the first three and they were all everywhere. Musthafa is still the best friendship song ever! I have many more songs to add in the fast number, but if I list them all, I’ll never stop will I?

Hence, I am putting an end to this post extolling The God of Music. The greater fans will know that I haven’t done any justice to the list. I never can. Wishing a lovely year of music to the legend that is AR Rahman, I sign off. 🙂

PS – I have confirmed all the details given in this post with wikipedia. If there has been any misstatements, kindly let me know. 🙂 Because, being a fan doesn’t mean I am always right, right?

Tomorrow Is The Big Day!

Things haven’t been going as I had expected. I began the 100 Happy Days challenge thinking I will be completing it by September. I had decided that I’ll celebrate Onam properly this time by putting Pookalam on all ten days. I had planned to go for a game of snooker and bowling this month. Nothing has been going as I had planned.

Do you know what else I had planned? To buy myself an awesome gift this birthday. Remember I had written a post (Here it is) on August first where I didn’t disclose the main reason why I liked August so much? There were some of them who had guessed it right. I like it because it is my Birthday. And tomorrow is the day! 😀 😀

100 Happy Days – Day 59

Happiness is my Birthday 😀

To sum up last year, it is similar to the first paragraph. Right now I am sitting here with my lips and gums numb after a root canal treatment. The doctor has assured me some pain on my big day. 😛 In short, nothing went as planned. I thought I will be home tomorrow waiting for all the calls and pampering, but I’ll be attending classes from 7am to 7pm. I thought my sister will be here running around me and wishing me but she cannot come due to her hectic schedule. I wanted to become a CA before this birthday and I thought I will be employed by now but well, here I am.

On the bright side, I just casually went on writing posts without expecting anything much. And my posts were appreciated by many people. In the last one year, I did make some difference in some people’s lives.

Oh! And I did find some wonderful friends right here in the blogosphere! 😀

I don’t even think people around me remember that it is my birthday. All that doesn’t matter! Do you really know what the worst part is? I had planned to gift myself a bournville and I can’t eat it. As I told you earlier the dentist scraped out some portion of my tooth and filled it in and it hurts. What a terrible fate for the chocolate lover!? Anyhow, the moment I am well, I will be gifting myself the Bournville.

Until then, you all read this post and first thing, wish me tomorrow morning. If you wish to send me gifts, I luuuurve clothes, chocolates and Harry Potter merchandise. 😛 Jokes apart, some love, wishes for my happiness and prayers for me to clear my CA Final will be of some great use. 🙂

Thank you all for all the love.

PS – I won’t be blogging frequently until November. So, please keep me in your memory and prayers

Love,

Rangelz 🙂

August is Here

Two things:

  • I would like to warn you all in advance that there is going to be a lot of ‘August’ boasting around here. Most of you won’t be able to relate to any of this because, it all happens in my head.
  • If any of the other 11 months are reading this, I would like to apologize. This is how I feel.  If I say this to any person, they will probably hate me for this. Only my blog listens silently to all that my heart has to say. 😦 So, here I go.

Thus begins the month of AUGUST!

It is one of the two months I love! The other is December for Christmas, Santa, Reindeers, snow and lights.

The moment I woke up today, I took a deep breath and felt the joy in the air. I know. I know it is all about mindset and that everyday is similar if you view it in the same manner. But I don’t want every day to be the same. I want August to be that:

August

100 Happy Days – Day 51

Happiness is the beginning of August

I love it for what it means and for the sound of its name. As far as I am concerned, there is no other month named with so much of majesty.

I love it for the way it heralds the Malayalam New Year with gaiety, bringing along with it, the festival of flowers – Onam. It is the month in which, I see the richness of our culture. I see the rush reducing, the greenery and the colours increasing, the roads lining up with flower sellers, the television reminiscing the earlier days of Onam sans all the technology, people getting back with their families, greetings being sent and received. It is when the Onam preparation begins.

I cannot explain the beauty of floral carpets adorning the homes and offices. August grabs my attention towards the nature and our culture.

Are these reasons enough for me to go all gaga over August? There is one more. A very apparent one. Just one guess and I am sure you all will get it. 😀 But, I won’t reveal it now. I’ll reveal it at the right time. 😉

PS- Did I say that I loved how Augustus Waters loved in TFIOS? Another reason to love August.

How We Refrained From Finishing The Cake

I had written a post earlier about preparing a cake in the easiest of possible ways – No oven and just 4 easy ingredients. Click HERE to read it.

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I had been speaking highly of this cake to a friend but never prepared it for him. So, I decided to prepare it for his birthday.Obviously, it was a surprise. But after preparing it, we didn’t have any opportunities to meet since both of us were busy. After a couple of days, I opened the refrigerator to find a brown colored substance, 3*3 inches in measurement. You guessed it. My cake had shrunk.

Ah! No! I did not use any of my magical powers.  That was my sister and the little baby in our house, my grandmother. 😛 They took turns to ask me, ‘Can I have a piece of your cake?’ How can I deny requests that are asked so sweetly? I kept saying yes. Now that the cake was almost over, I called up H and told him about how he missed my cake. He was depressed I must say.

100 Happy Days – Day 45

Happiness is gifting (pieces of) self-made cakes

Not for long. We decided to meet yesterday. I shaped the remnants of my cake well and took it with me. My sister and I placed a tiny candle on top of it and presented it to him. He was elated, ‘You saved the cake!?’ he asked with a broad smile. That made my day.

 

 

Sisters’ Day Out & The Creepy Guy

The story starring D (my sister) and I continues. Since there is a huge gap of 9 years between our ages, we weren’t together for long. I left for my high school when she was in her 2nd standard. A tiny doll that she was, it was very difficult to be away from her. When I was back after 5 years, she was in high school busy with her studies, tuitions, extra activities, entrance coaching etc. By the time she gave her 10th boards, I was giving my CA finals. When I was free, she was preparing for her 12th boards after which, she was free and I was  rewriting my finals. You know how bad this was.

For the last couple of months both of us have been free for the first time and we decided to manifest our Sisters’ Day Out. After years of planning,

100 Happy Days – Day 41

Happiness is a day out with your sibling.

I woke her up and asked her to get ready for the day. Our first stop was the Gold Souk Mall. Google told me that they had gaming there. However, when we reached there, we got nothing. We started off to the next mall nearby – Lulu.

We went to the sparky’s gaming area searching for a two player game. We decided to play Air hockey.

Air Hockey

It consists of a smooth surfaced table, 2 mallets that act like bats and a puck that acts like a ball. All you have to do is to pocket the puck into the opponent’s side socket which wins you a goal. Obviously, your opponent would try to defend the socket. The fun in the game is due to the smooth surface. The puck just runs around the table, ricochets of the side and you really can’t predict which direction it would go to. Here is a sample Air Hockey table.

Exclusive-Air-Hockey-Table-Indoor-Fun-Tabletop-Game-For-Gift-Kids-Adults-Home

We did not know how long we had for the game to end. The score was 4-3 where I was the one with 3 goals and finally, I pocketed the puck again. But by then the game was over and the scores didn’t change. D claims to have won. But technically it is a draw since neither of us knew that it was over. (C’mon! support me please).

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A wall art in Lulu mall that I particularly loved!

Movie and Lunch

Next on our agenda was a movie. I know it has been a long time since its release, but we badly wanted to watch it. So, we walked into an almost empty theatre to watch Tanu Weds Manu. You know what!? Screen 2 in PVR has got purple seats!!! 😀

Bowling

Since we had our lunch in the theatre, the next planned activity was bowling. Oh! I love bowling and I have been wanting to take my sister for the same. We started towards Central Square Mall since the rates are low there.

All I know about bowling is that I must try to knock down the pins using the ball. And of course, stepping on to the lane would be foul. Keeping these in mind, I began the battle. No matter how many times I told the ball to go straight, he kept going towards the sides. Sometimes he would give me hopes by going right through the center of the lane for a while and suddenly move leftwards. Leftwards! Why always leftwards?

The happy part is I bowled a strike once, when all the pins were majestically knocked off. My lovely sister didn’t notice my moment since she was having a nice chat with the staff there. :/ In any case, I did bowl a strike! 😀

After the game, we found a beautiful photo corner where I pestered D to take my pictures. I love posing and she yields when I ask her to take pictures. Here is one where I am pretending to walk into the woods. 😛

unnamed

Things were going as we had planned and so we decided to give some clothes for stitching at Convent junction. After this, we visited the library. Trust me! It is very hard to leave a library with the scent of old books and racks of thousands of written words. We took Dan Brown’s Inferno and Markus Zusak’s Book Thief and somehow got ourselves out.

Next, we went to the Marine Drive and sat there for a while. I never get fed up of that place with all the trees, the water and the breeze. We walked up the rainbow bridge and then returned. Here is a view of the waters from there.unnamed (2)

Chaat and some shopping

It was already 6.30 PM and G, my best friend was waiting for us at convent junction. We hurried to meet him and the 3 of us had chat – Panipuri, samosa chat and sev puri. He had promised to accompany us to broadway for some purchase. We traipsed down the streets of “broadway” which is named ironically since only one car could go through the roads at a time.

After a long, happy tiring day, we reached home around 8.30 pm with a full stomach, a happy heart and some lovely memories.

The Weirdo

Oh! That reminds me. At Lulu, there was this creepy guy walking around and staring at us. My sister kept telling me that he looked so weird. He slowly walked towards the escalator. As he was being carried up, he kept looking at us. While he walked away, his eyes were still on us. Once we reached Central mall, we saw him again! D kept saying that it was so scary. On the other hand, I thought it was exciting! Like in fairy tales, a weird guy who follows us and then tells us that we belong to some other world. That, it was time for us to fulfill our destiny. I kept thinking along those lines.

Anyway, that was the end of him. I mean even if my hunches were true, I cannot tell you right? Because the other world is always hidden from human beings. I won’t be able to reveal the truth. 😛

The creepy guy did spice up our day! 😀

Day 37 – Birthday Surprise

100 Happy Days – Day 37

Happiness is Birthday surprises!

I am a huge fan of Birthdays. There is no better occasion where you can let your loved ones know how special they are. Some times I am in short of money or time, or things simply don’t work out. Some times, I feel like celebrating some people’s birthdays, sometimes I pass. In any case, the joy of planning things, buying them, making them, organizing them is all very much exciting for me.

Yesterday was one such day. Around 15-20 of us had created a group on whatsapp and were busy planning the birthday of a close friend. The plan was to buy 25 different gifts since he was turning 25! We had to make sure that at least some of them were useful, that they were within our budget, that at the end of the day, all 25 did find their way to us and many more. With discussions all day and night, we finally made it!

IMG-20150705-WA0013
Cream, Facewash, Wall poster and more…
IMG-20150706-WA0000
Gems, candles, Balarama (Children’s comics)
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I leave this to your imagination. 😛
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Birthday cap, measuring tape, bookmark, Marker, Egg & more 😛

These were a combination of useful and funny things. You can see the cover of a watch – the red one – decorated with bow. We kept an egg with a smiley drawn in it. I really feared that it might break, but nothing of that sort happened.

IMG-20150706-WA0014
Hello There Folks! I’m Eggsy 😀

For a useful gift, since he is an avid reader, we decided to get him a book. On various occasions we asked him whether he had any of the things we had decided to buy him. We bought them only after we made sure that he did not have them.

IMG-20150706-WA0008
If you have read my blog, you will know why I chose this 🙂

Finally, Something I made with lots of care. As you all know, I love playing with colors. Since we had to give 25 things and one among them is a book, why not a handmade bookmark? I set to work yesterday morning and by noon:

IMG-20150706-WA0043

On the front it says,

“Each time you open a book and read it,
a tree smiles knowing there is life after death.”

On the back it says,

“Friends, Books, Work
Books, Friends, Work
Either way work comes last.”

Neither are my creation. You know? From here and there.

IMG-20150706-WA0042
I like that combo 😀

After giving him all the gifts, we had some ice cream and chaat. I ended my day with a dark chocolate. It was a day well spent and ended well too when we all knew that he enjoyed our surprise.

You could use this idea for a loved one’s birthday some time 🙂

Day 20 – My Princess’ Birthday

100 Happy Days – Day 20

Happiness is my Ammamma’s birthday!!!

My (Ammamma) grandmother is a very important part of my life. If someone asks me whom I love the most, I would say Ammamma. I have always thought about writing a post dedicated to her. But I did not know where to begin. I started writing a post about her once. But I couldn’t arrange my thought flow well because there were too many things to write about her. I wanted to write everything even though they were all disconnected. Finally, it became such a big mess. I realised that I loved her too much to write about her. Or maybe, I am yet to reach those heights where I could really convert those strong emotions to words.

In any case, this is my first post exclusively dedicated to her. Today is our princess’ birthday. People say that as we grow old, we return to our childhood. I have been seeing that happen. When she asks for more chocolates, when she gives that sudden toothless smile, when she cracks cute jokes and laughs, when she makes weird shrieks and sounds like little children to make us laugh, when she throws her tiny tantrums. But beyond all these, I realize how she is different when she takes a look at my face and asks why I look so dull. When she knows that we are hungry and in spite of her age, prepares food for us. She has been loving us all these years and I am awestruck when I realise that she still has so much of love left to give. 

I don’t know if I can return all that love. But I can make her happy now and then. Till today morning, we were clueless about what to do for her special day. She was super-excited. Her phone kept ringing and she was being showered with wishes from around the world. It was on the spur of the moment that my sister and I decided to prepare a four course dinner for her. As soon as wew had agreed on it, we set to work.

To sum it all up, we decided the dishes, made a list of things to buy, communicated with Amma, bought all the necessities and set to work after lunch. Since all the dishes were new to me, I was a bit tensed about how they would turn out to be. By evening, we had completed half the work. And, the bell rang.

Ammamma has been hopeful that her son, my mama (uncle) would come some time soon to see her. They – mama, mami and my cousin – decided to come today and her face bloomed like that of a rose’s. Mami had prepared Momos and payasam and brought them along. So, we had additional dishes too. She joined us for rest of the cooking, while Amma soon came in with some more ingredients. Soon, the four of us where running around the kitchen until finally, it was time.

Ammamma wore her new aqua blue saree and needless to say, she stole the show! She looked like a lone fresh lotus in a pond. All commented on how beautiful she looked in that saree. It was such a bliss to watch her smiling and looking around like a child. God! i love her!

We cut the cake, and ate them all. 😛

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I aimed at those chocolate hoops first 😛

Amma gave Ammamma a bouquet made of red roses.

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My uncle who is a professional guitar player, sang some songs for her while he conjured his magic with the guitar.

We clicked many pictures.

Meanwhile, my aunt from The US skype called us to talk to Ammamma and she was thrilled!

After around half an hour of skype chat, we decided to begin the dinner. Our 4 course consisted of – Tandoori Aloo, momo and mint chutney (that mami conjured) for starters, Sweet corn vegetable soup, Chappati and Paneer Tikka Masala (Phew!) and Payasam and Orange delight for dessert. 😀

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Tandoori aloo and mint chutney
Paneer Tikka Masala
Paneer Tikka Masala

A while ago, Ammamma went to sleep and I asked her, “Did you enjoy the day?”

“Very much. I liked it more than my 80th birthday celebrations.”

That birthday was celebrated on a big scale. With so many relatives, programmes, games and cultural events. Today, when she said that, I understood that she did not have any other words to express her happiness. Hence, she compared this with something big. I am tired. After all the cooking, running around and post dinner clean up. But I am happily tired. I don’t even know if that makes any sense.

But as I type in these words with my eyes half closed, I have a permanent smile on my face. The bliss that comes with making Ammamma happy.

PS – I know that the images lack clarity. If you wish to see better images, please give me a writing job so that I can buy a camera with my salary.

PPS – The above PS is written by Phoebe Buffay. 😛

Day 3 – A Long Awaited Dream

100 Happy Days – Day 3

Happiness is weddings and being asked to be someone’s bridesmaid 😀

I have had many tiny & huge wishes. As a child I was very fond of pretty princess frocks, barbies, make up, long hair, nail polish etc. I was a typical girl and I still am. One of my greatest wishes were to be a bridesmaid. There was also another dream. In my childhood, it was to wear the princess frock. The huge fluffy, pretty, long dress with flairs. As I grew up, it changed to the elegant gowns. But in my place, I won’t be able to wear the gown at all. Not even for functions. Gowns don’t suit the kind of functions we have down here. So the only chance was to either go get settled in a foreign country, marry a christian or have a christian sort of wedding, or simply, be a bridesmaid. That would strike off two things off my list at once. The sad part was, I did not have any close friends who wear christians & who would ask me to be their bridesmaid. So this was a distant dream that I had written off until… image I got a message today morning. A friend invited me for her marriage. And then, she threw the bomb at me,

‘And be my bridesmaid’.

My heart was beating like a drums set, my mind was racing and my brain was calculating,

‘Does she think that I’m someone else?’

While my heart was doing the pirouette,

‘Bridesmaaaaiddd! Weeeee!’

Brain, ‘Did something go wrong?’

Heart, ‘Weeee! Weeee! Weeeeeeee!’

Brain, ‘Maybe she really thinks I’m someone else.’

Heart, ‘Gowwwwnnn! Pretty… long… gown!’.

Brain, ‘It’s costly you idiot!’

Heart, ‘I might go for manual labour – ploughing the fields and selling the harvests – for a month.’

Brain, ‘So she did call me, really.’

Heart, ‘Weeeeeee! Bridesmaid!’

That was the last pirouetting since my heart fainted due to overload of happiness. Hell yeah! I don’t know if I can make it to the wedding, I don’t know if I can afford the dress. But I felt happy about being asked. I had written off even the possibility of being asked. And when I know that it is possible, I feel happy. I will wear a gown, I will be a bridesmaid.

Not necessarily this year, not necessarily for this marriage. But yes, someday! 🙂

Did You Make Those Lists?

Have you ever wondered why people do what they do?
Why do we study?
Why do we work?
Why do we eat or breath or drink?

With each answer, if we ask the question why, we reach the destination.

We do all that we do because we exist and we have to continue to exist until we cease to be.

But is mere existence sufficient? Imagine your existence without happiness in it. I can’t imagine that. Literally. My imagination can’t tell me what would happen if there was no happiness. Happiness is the center of everything. It is everywhere. It is within us. All we have to do is bring it out.

If you ask 10 people what is necessary for a happy life, you will get 10 answers or even more. If you ask me, you will get an answer you weren’t expecting: Make lists! Those tiny slips of paper help you a lot. From reminding you things, to clearing your head, a list could do miracles. Take a few for instance:

A List of your closest people – So that you really know who are the important ones in your life. When you write down each person’s name, you deliberate on why that person is important. You are reminded of the times you spent with them. You might even feel like calling them right then and talking to them. To let them know how much they mean to you.

Keep this list safe and when you feel alone, try calling up one of them. Sometimes, unexpected people come to your rescue in unexpected ways. 🙂

Image courtesy: lastlemon

List of Things to do – Do you want to make a trip to Canada? How about Kulu Manali? Want to try bungee jumping or sky diving? Skinny dipping? You don’t have the time or money or company? Never mind! Write them all down. Whether it is star gazing or taking a midnight walk, whether it is a big dream or small, write them all down and make the list.

Now imagine! You really did go bungee jumping. You get back home, take this list and slowly strike off ‘Bungee jumping’. Can you fathom that feeling? It is just an act of striking off. But that is a dream come true. That is happiness! 😀

List of your Friends – Not your besties. They would be included in the above list. By this list I mean those friends who come close to your besties’ list. All of us have such friends. We like them, but not enough to call them besties. Some of us, don’t realise or remember such friends. That is why we need this list. Once in a while, when you take up this list and remember them, just give them a call and you never know. You might have just regained a beautiful friendship. Also, when you prepare this list, you might know why you haven’t included a certain person. Remember? It acts as a reminder and also clears your head.

List of Things to buy – People talk about ceiling on desire. I more or less agree with the concept. But you know what is more agreeable? The happiness of owning what you desire. Saw that expensive shoes and can’t forget about it? Write it down. Oh well! They need not be inexpensive. Make list for those tiny things too. For instance, I have a blue kajal on my list. I am a bit skeptical whether the color would suit me. So it has been there for almost 2 years. Once I own it, my joy will know no bounds. Because I get to strike off one thing from my list.

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My list of things to buy 🙂

It is better if you have small things in your list. You will find yourself striking them off more often. which means more happiness.

List of things that make you happy – Yes! 😀 Rain, music, friends, watching sitcoms, talking to someone, a color, food, chocolates, puppies, babies. Be it anything, just make a list. When you are down, go through them. You might have something in your list that you could do right then. You will be shooing your blues away using that list of yours. It is also a self help.

Lists never end. The types of lists changes from person to person. I can only give my ideas. Your needs are different and so is your source of happiness. For instance, I write and so I have a list of things to blog about. When I am in short of topics, I open my list and voila! I have loads to write on. I have a list of books to read, movies and sitcoms to watch. You could actually peep into another list of mine.

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This might be a bit too much. But these are my ambitions and I am not ashamed of them. Whether I pursue them all or not, I will definitely try. And when I do, that would be my happiness.

If you noticed, we just made a list of things that are important to us (like chocolates :D) and also, some unimportant things (like friends 😛 I am dead).  Whenever you go through these lists, you will remember some important goals, lovely people and life changing accomplishments in your life.

After a number of years, when you take your book of lists and go through them, it will say a lot about you. A lot! It will remind of some of your desires and experiences. Some of your friends and loved ones. Sometimes, you would read it with awe, wondering how you did all those things. Or maybe, it would bring so much of happiness because you know you celebrated every moment of your life. 🙂

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Tips and Ideas For Inexpensive Gifting.


Here is another year and there are many events coming up. How about getting prepared for them from now on?

Note – Here I am talking about inexpensive gifts which are available for INR 300 or LESS. So if you are looking for higher budgets, I am sure you will have many more options.

I love Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Friendship Day and any event that I could use to show someone how special they are to me. There is nothing like springing a “Surprise!!!” on their face and see it go pale to white to pink to a deep shade of red with happiness! 😀 Please don’t be misled by the post title. I am not going to point out items to gift. I’m giving you ideas about how to find the gifts you want and how to present it to your loved ones. Some times, the gifts do not matter, but the way you gift makes all the difference. The sad part is, surprises are costly. Specially if you’re a student or are doing internship with low salary. Well, not anymore! I am always in short of cash (I’m still a student, you know!) and try to find new methods to throw surprises. So, here is how I gave some lovely surprises last year.

  1. Flowers – I don’t know about all men. But some men and almost all women like flowers. When it happens to be your mother, she would definitely be overwhelmed. The amazing thing about mothers is that, they do so much for us. Yet, they need so less to be happy. This is how you make her day special with flowers.Buy a few flowers or pluck some from your garden. Gather little children from your neighborhood and ask them to give her those flowers one at a time. If she is about to go out, the kids could line up outside your house and give her those flowers as she passes by, or let them ring the bell one at a time and give her the flowers. We tried it and my mom loved them. She preserved the flowers for as long as they stayed. 🙂
    Jarbara we bought Mom on her Birthday :)
    Jarbara we bought Mom on her Birthday 🙂

    Note – Flowers can be gifted to anyone if you’re sure they will appreciate it. I mentioned Mom because, we gave it to her.

  2. A Note For Every Hour – This works with anyone. Prepare notes with quotes or memories or anything you want to tell him/her. Ensure that the notes reach them every hour. It would be a reminder of how special they are and that they deserve a full day celebration.
    Image courtesy: pinterest
    Image courtesy: pinterest

    I did this for a friend’s birthday. I asked one of her colleagues to give her the notes every hour. I kept alarms on my phone for every hour, to remind her. Once the Birthday girl received each note, I got her message. 🙂

  3. Common Inexpensive Gifts – Photo frames, Books, Deos, Diaries and Coffee mugs! I know. They are the most typical inexpensive gifts you can give anyone. If he/she happens to be a book lover, you can buy them a book that they would enjoy. If he/she has the habit of updating diaries, there are plenty of undated diaries available at reasonable prices. If he/she has a favorite brand of deo, they will be happy that you cared to remember. As for photo frames, find a lovely picture of the two of you and gift it.
  4. Undated Diaries – Earlier this year, I had reviewed Matrikas Paper Products’ diaries. They have some elegant and creative undated diaries. The cover designs were so tempting that anyone would fall in love with them. They have diaries designed for all age group. If your giftee loves writing and maintains diaries, you can find good ones starting at INR 110. MATRIKAS PAPER PRODUCTS is their website and their products are available in Flipkart, Snapdeal, Zoffio etc.
  5. Gifts Need Not be Branded – If you’re so desperate to gift someone something, that someone must be very special for you. Regardless of the fact that he/she uses only branded items, you can gift them something inexpensive for a change. After all, if they love you as much as you love them, they would get the emotions behind your gifts. Just ensure that you pick something beautiful even if it is unbranded. Be it wallets, belts, shoes, clothes or anything. You have a wide range of inexpensive things out there if you just let go of brands for once. Which brings us to the next point.
  6. Lookout For Fancies – 2015 has just begun. You can keep your eyes open for all the beautiful and fancy stuff available. Last year, I did a lot of window shopping (Microsoft Windows :P) and found really pretty watches for just Rs. 300. There is no quality assurance or warranty. But once in a while, owning some random pretty stuff doesn’t harm. This friend of mine always buys quality and classy things. I thought she could do with some girlish, dangling, funky stuff. I gifted it to her and she loved it. Want to see it?
    This is the watch I gifted her.

    So lookout for the low priced pretty things. Even if the Birthday is a couple of months away, there is no harm keeping your eyes open.

  7. A tiny party – You heard me right. If it is your friend’s, love’s or family member’s birthday, and you love them so much, you can actually give a party at a very low cost! Cake – If you need really good cakes, they cost a lot. And that was why, in my previous post, I had given a very easy recipe to make a cake. It’s out of biscuit and chocolate alone. Click HERE to read it.Lightings – You can prepare beautiful lamps out of orange peels. 4-5 orange lamps would suffice for the right glow. Here is what we made.
    One half of the orange peel
    One half of the orange peel
    Entire peel with designed cuttings
    Entire peel with designed cuttings

    You can use the oranges for preparing any delicacy of your choice. 🙂 Decorations – Colorful streamers are always in fashion and cost very less. Just find innovative ways of decorating with streamers.

  8. Maintain a Wishlist & Lookout For Discounts – I get newsletters from many shopping sites and I visit them whenever there is a discount. I buy things only when I am convinced that the discounts are acceptable. That is how I found some lovely sarees worth Rs. 300 in May 2014. I bought them immediately when I had the money and gifted it to Mom for her Birthday in Dec. Needless to say, I was in short of money in Dec. All who saw the saree, loved it & thought that it was some expensive material (giggles :P). Another time, I bought a couple of handbags for just Rs. 150 and they came in handy when I had to gift a friend. 🙂 So, add something to your wishlist and you never know, during the next clearance sale, it might just shoot down to a very low price.
  9. The Age Old Custom of Group Gifting – You all must be aware of this. But now that we are talking of gifts, I’d mention this. If you want to gift Mr. A something, contact his close friends, and if they are willing, pool some cash and buy something really good. When you all gift it together, you not only give him the gift, but also an overwhelming experience with his close friends around.
  10. Gift Some Time – Imagine, on an anniversary, the couples decide to take some time off and spend the day together. As a child, your parents decide to stay home, cooks you some lovely dishes and takes you out. When your parents are old, you decide to take them somewhere and spend some time with them on their special day. Time is very very expensive. But we can easily lend some to our loved ones. It is simple and means a lot. Do try gifting some time.
  11. Time With Creativity – You have many DIYs available on the internet. If you have a flair for creativity (which I believe most of us do have), take some time off and prepare something beautiful for your loved ones. Your loved ones would value your creativity more than the masterpiece they bought at an exhibition.This is one such gift I made for my Best Friend. My first attempt in Paper Quilling. 🙂
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    Paper Quilled girl. It is full of adjustments 😛

    There are many creative things you can make and you wouldn’t believe how easy they are. Bookmarks, photo collage, simple paper quillings ets are few among them.

  12. A Letter – With the advent of emails, internet and social networking sites, the art of letter writing has almost vanished. Buying cards and sending ecards are cool. But writing what you feel about them with a pen on a paper in your handwriting, THAT is priceless! Take a letter pad or an inland letter and write about how special they are and what you feel about them. Get hold of their address and post it. I wish you could see the smile on their face when they get hold of your letter. It would be a perfect gift & a perfect wish. 🙂
  13. A Book of Wishes – You can gift a book of wishes to someone close. It would be the compilation of wishes from all their loved ones. Let me assure you, it is not an easy task. Many people would hesitate to write. But five wishes could make a book too. Trust me! If a letter in point 11 could give them so much of joy, imagine the joy on receiving a book of letters! 🙂

If I were you, I’d plan in advance for upcoming birthdays. But since I am myself, that is what I do. 😛 I get super-excited a month before birthdays and make all the arrangements. Things don’t go exactly as planned. For instance, we bought sky lanterns for Mom’s birthday and it became the King of flops. 😛 All the same, mom looked flabbergasted after every surprise. The purpose was served and so, I really don’t mind. Hope this list helps you. Please let me know if there are more inexpensive gifting ideas. I exhausted this list last year. I desperately need something new. 😉 And while you’re at it, ensure that only I know the plans & not my family ok? Shhhh… 😀

I Can’t Keep Calm Because It Was My Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to meeee…
Happy Birthday to meeee…
Happy Birthday to meee meee…
Happy Birthday to meee 🙂

It all began with the wishes at midnight. After which I finally slept, though with difficulty. There were so many thoughts passing through my mind – my previous birthdays, the surprises I got, how the next day will be, how sweet of my friends to wait until 12 AM and call etc. And the most prime thought was, ‘Yayy! It’s my Birthdayy!’ 😛

When I woke up, mom wished me with a cup of coffee, followed by the others. My baby sister gifted me a pair of earrings. And guess what!? It was made by her friend. 2 months back she gave the order, chose a color combo I would like and arranged it. Isn’t that sweet? Oh, I loved it! 😀

Here are the snaps :)
Here are the snaps 🙂

Dad gave me some cash & asked me to buy whatever I wanted.

My Anne Cherian Thomas 😉 did call me as usual. Yes, she is my bestie. No, there aren’t any midnight calls during birthdays between us. It was there during the initial years of our friendship. But later, it was alright without them.

Later I went to a Shiva temple nearby. Mr. Shiva looked majestic. The face made of Gold just emblazoned the Shiv-linga. It shone all the more bright and austere with all the lamps. I stood there drinking in the beauty, spoke to Mr. Shiva for a while & got back home.

Now comes the dull part of the day. Firstly, I felt sleepy because I slept late and got up early, on top of that, I had my Financial Reporting questions spread before me. For the next few hours I scratched my head, stared at the walls & doodled on my book wondering why on earth those stupid companies had to amalgamate. :O Even if they had to, why couldn’t they just add all the items in both the companies’ Balance Sheet together and form another company? Why complicate life? :O

Sorry dear non-commercialites. I got a bit carried off there. But still, I don’t get it. Why?

Then came the lunch time. My chweet Ammamma (Grandmother) had prepared many dishes to celebrate this angel’s day *blush*. She made rice, parippu, sambhar, potato curry, pachadi and pappadam. To start with something sweet, she put some sugar in my mouth. And then I had that sumptuous feast. But she was upset because she couldn’t make payasam. 😦
I know, right? She is so adorable you have no idea. The entire day went by with her telling how upset she was about the payasam not being there. *Choo cute!!!*

Courtesy: Google Images

 

Meanwhile, more calls, more texts, more whatsapp messages and facebook posts poured in. Oh! And I couldn’t attend few calls because of this & that. Sorry folks! I felt bad when I saw your missed calls. But the wishes have been accepted. Thank you. 🙂

Evening came & I had my music class. The rains, the cold & my birthday were all screaming at me not to go. But I pulled my raincoat over, rode my lavy, crossed all the puddles and went for the class. I was back by 8PM and after some loitering around, settled to study when the door bell rang.

I opened the door. But no one was to be seen. I took a step forward and people just sprang at me from both sides ‘Happy Birthdayyyyy!!!’. I first jumped, then stood there open-mouthed & gaping when my sister came with an all knowing smile.

Ashwin, Godwin & Blissen came in, unpacked the cake and placed it on the table. It took me some time to register what was happening. Slowly I came to my senses while they gifted me a bottle of wine. This was followed by a Bournville sent by another friend Varna. Both have a backstory.

The wine: I had mentioned a month back that I badly wanted wine. Earlier, we used to have it for Christmas. But it has been quiet sometime since I had. So a craving had begun for the same. I said it, forgot about it & here it was; my birthday gift. 🙂

The wine :)
The wine 🙂

Bournville: I love Chocolates. Like crazy! Most of my friends know that. My favorites are Dairy milk fruit & Nut and Bournville (Also any other dark chocolate). Just before I left office, many of my friends either lost a bet with me, or they had to give me a treat. Every time, I insisted on a Bournville. So, sure enough she knows I like dark chocolates.

After the gifts session, as usual, pulling each others’ legs went on. Should I mention that I was the scapegoat most of the time? I’ll skip that part 😛
Apparently, those guys were really hungry and there was nothing at home to eat. I made some delicious tea (Oh yes! They said they liked it.) and tried to keep them entertained. Soon, all sang the birthday song & clicked some snaps while I cut my cake. I hurriedly gave them some cake to appease their hunger a bit.

My Birthday Cake :)
My Birthday Cake 🙂

Meanwhile Amma swished her wand, converted the lunch’s potato curry into masala (Guess they didn’t know that). You should have seen those faces when I announced they will be having Masala Dosa. I swear I saw someone punch the air & say a triumphant ‘Yes!’ 😀 They relished the food while repeatedly saying that the sambhar was awesome & the Dosa was superb.

From somewhere my sister appeared and smeared some icing on my face. And I was like :O.

After a few more sessions of pulling legs (mine!) and some laughters and chit-chats, they left.

When I checked my phone, I had a voice message waiting. My friend Sharu and her parents (Yes, her parents :D) sang the birthday song for me and wished me!!! 😀 Isn’t that lovely?

That was one of my special days folks. Whether it is typing that message, ringing me up and telling me how much I mean to you, appearing out of the blue and ringing the doorbell, recording a birthday wish with the entire family, singing the birthday song while handing me the coffee, ringing me up at 11.30 PM with an intention to talk until 12 AM and be the first one to wish me, cooking my favorite dishes or getting a custom-made gift for me. Love you all for this love. 🙂 :*

 

20140823_150645Once again, Happy Birthday to me. 😛 Love myself too for this love! 😀

PS: Next time you’re planning to come home unannounced, let me warn you in advance. All the snack items here, finish in a jiffy. So ensure that you’re sufficiently loaded. 😛

Birthday of my personal diary :)

Gift… Check!
Cake… Check!
List of closest friends… Check!
Chits… Check!

My personal diary. Rather, more advanced. One who knows my next sentence. Reads my mind from my face. Interprets my sentences the way they have to be. One who knows everything about me. Who somehow knows how I feel at times. And has got the right words to console me. During those lowest and most depressing moments of my life, he simply says the right things. And all my happiest moments have his support. I, being a person in need of that initial push, always gets it from him. When I venture into something new, he is there by my side, cheering me on.

A friend who goes not just that extra mile. But who would go around the world thrice for his friends. Ask any of his friends and this would be the general opinion anyone would get about him. I haven’t mentioned him before in any of my posts. But through the years, like ASB, GT happened to become one of my best friends.

I had been thinking of it for quiet some time. And around 3 weeks back, I started contacting his closest friends and forming a plan for his big day. I wanted it to be special, memorable with just his closest ones around. After a lot of research, I finally formed a plan.

Today is his birthday. I made it sure that he was reminded every hour of how special he was. I wanted to keep him in the birthday mood all day. I wanted to compensate for all the birthdays I couldn’t celebrate with him.

In the evening, all of us had everything planned perfectly. He has a bunch of handpicked friends (including me :P) who, like him, are willing to go that extra mile. And so, all of us equally rocked the show. His mother was overwhelmed seeing all this.

When he came home with a friend – who was playing his part well – he was shocked to find some infrequent visitors there. We, the frequent visitors were hiding. Soon we showed ourselves and he stood there speechless. He cut the cake, we gave him the gift, had dinner, had payasam which his mother prepared and yet, he was speechless. It was evident from his face that it touched him. That was our intention.

Special friends don’t spring up at every corner, every day. They happen very rarely. Such small surprises let them know that they are special and valued. I may not be able to do similar favors for him. I may not be able to be there at any hour. But I can let him know through such tiny gestures how valuable his friendship is. For a forever friendship. 🙂