I still so vividly remember the first time I laid my eyes on you. Despite the fact that I was way too exhausted even to sit up then, each and every single day after you made your appearance into this world, right until this day – I just need to close my eyes and that snapshot in my mind is as clear as ever. A little bald baby, tightfisted, yet one who chose to open her eyes and absorb new stimuli rather than just bawl her throat out.
Now looking back, it all seems a rushed blur – your journey in this voyage called life. These eight years have quite literally flown past. Even as individual images blur, there are some which stand out with distinct clarity. All I need to do is close my eyes and let the film reel inside my mind play.
The time you chewed on my new shoes from Marks & Spencer and the way you laughed with glee and clapped those little hands which still had folds of baby fat in them as you looked at my horrified face.
The times when you would roll over onto your tummy and refuse to turn over onto your back until and unless someone helped you to.
The way you took those first wobbly, tentative steps inside the house and that look on your face when you realized that your legs could actually walk.
The way you used to dance with total abandon (but so gracefully even then) to Falguni Pathak’s rendition of “Meri Chunar Udd Udd Jaye”.
The times when you used to wake up in the middle of the night saying “Enna Acchhu ?” (what happened ?) with tears pouring down your face.
The time when you first sat on a motorized scooter and landed on your backside as the scooter moved away without you.
The time when you started kindergarten and knocked off your glass of milk (albeit by mistake) all over your teacher’s foot. And to top that, the way you hopped all over the class saying “ouch ouch”.
Your first day at Primary School when I was a mass of quivering jelly and pounding heartbeats while you handled the whole thing with such courage and panache. A beatific smile on your face and a couple of waves of your little hand as you walked away with your teacher, taking those first steps towards independence. Those first steps of lots many more to come as time progressed.
All these and many many more are images of your life which are branded in my mind.
But honestly, never have the changes been more marked in you than what we’ve seen through the last year.
The past year has seen you evolve and change in a lot many ways. And when I look at you today, I cannot help but wonder whether this is the same child who had a completely different persona through the first six-odd years of her life.
When I see you monkeying around now, I cannot help but wonder if this is the same child who used to be so sedate earlier on.
When I see you laughing your heart out now, I cannot help but wonder if this is the same child who used to stifle her laughter and all that used to be seen on the outside was a smile or a giggle – definitely not the raucous laughter that gurgles and explodes in you now :-)
When I see you mingling with your friends, interacting with them and going out and making more friends on your own, I cannot help but wonder if this is the same child who used to totally refuse to even say Hello to another familiar face from the kindergarten.
When I see you playing pranks now, I cannot help but wonder if this is the same child who used to consider tomfoolery and high jinks totally unacceptable.
When I see the camaraderie and the rapport and of course, the affection between you and your little brother, I cannot help but wonder if this is the same child who initially had a tough time accepting and coming to terms with the fact that there was indeed someone else too to share her parents’ time, attention and affection.
When I see independence and confidence brimming in you now, I cannot help but wonder if this is the same child who used to hesitate and dilly dally on something as simple as buying a school hat from the school PTA shop. You once wanted me to go along with you all the way to school to buy your PE hat and now, present times see you going and buying your own uniforms from the PTA shop.
During your Primary Three year at school, during the Special Assembly, as you stood on the dais and spoke – thanking your teacher, your friends and your family for the award that you received –for the first time in your life, you caught me on the wrong foot and had me in tears in front of a whole bunch of Primary Two and Primary Three children who looked at me as if I had a hole in my head. Oh Yeah – you made me cry. Hallelujah !!! But please sweetheart, don’t make that a habit OK ??!! :-)
Now, when I look back on that Special Assembly, I cannot help but wonder if this is the same child who used to hesitate to even raise her hand in class to volunteer towards answering a question.
And now, as you complete eight years of life and move onto the ninth year sweetheart, I wish for you all the joy, all the laughter, all the cheer, all the wisdom that life brings along with it and all the good luck, determination, perseverance,confidence, courage and optimism that is needed to tackle life.
And as you stand at the threshold of yet another year which is sure to herald more
changes for you in life's own unique ways, I would like to quote to you the poem “Dare To” by Meiji Stuart.
Ask For What You Want.
Believe in Yourself.
Change Your Mind.
Do What You Love.
Enjoy Each And Every Day.
Follow Your Heart's Desire.
Give More Than You Receive.
Have a Sense of Humor.
Insist On Being Yourself.
Join In More.
Know when you are wrong and Make up.
Love and Be Loved.
Make New Friends.
Nurture Your Spirit.
Reach for the Stars.
Speak Your Truth.
Take Personal Responsibility.
Understand More, Judge Less.
Volunteer Your Time.
Walk Through Fear.
X-perience The Moment.
Yearn for Grace.
Happy Birthday Appu and here’s to many many more !!
With All my Love Sweetheart,
Aparna's yummy birthday card filled with oodles and oodles of love from Daddy, Mummy, Tathi and Abhay