30 November, 2010

Happy Birthday, Aparna :-)

(Image Courtesy : zazzle.com via Google)

“Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.”  — Menachem Mendel Schneerson

My dear Saggi dot, ;-)

As I drum up this post, there are just a few hours to midnight and never have I been more aware of the fact than at this very moment that you will soon turn twelve. Eleven years ago, you made your grand entrance into our lives and changed it totally – all beginning with that one loud, indignant, belligerent bawl. Eleven years somehow, at this moment, seems like a very short span of time :-).

Funnily enough, I now realize that as children grow up, the images that parents cling to are the ones from their baby days, their early childhood. I am no exception to that rule. Even now, at this given moment, I just have to close my eyes and images float as though they have a life of their own, as though they have a will of their own, as though they have a mind of their own.

Even though I’m only too aware of the fact that you stand almost as tall as me today (almost – you’re not there yet !!) the images in my head are of that little baby who used to chew on our shoes, that little baby who used to give us hell and leave us clinging on the edge of pure insanity before going off to sleep, that little baby who used to frighten the lives out of us by walking around the house at night believing that she was a TeleTubby, that little baby who used to revolve and swivel so gracefully to the tunes of Maine payal hai jhankayi, that little baby whose laugh used to sound like a whole chorus of tinkling stars. That is a sound I still hear when I close my eyes, that is a sound that never failed to lift my spirits then and that is a sound that never fails to lift my spirits now.

Twelve – does that officially make you a pre-teen ? :-))

I haven’t really told you this over the past few months but now is as good a time as any to tell you that I’m simply loving watching you change. When you hit your teens, I might, in all probability, use different adjectives to describe my feelings towards the changes in you but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now, I’m loving watching you change and metamorphose into a confident young lady. Yes, young lady !! :-)

We saw you take your first steps into secondary school just a few months back. Little did we know that it would make you evolve so quickly. The changes that were rather uncertain over the first few weeks are now so palpable, so blatantly visible. Those first hesitant steps into secondary school have now turned into sounds of confident footsteps – footsteps which speak volumes, footsteps which say they know where they are going.

I love that confidence you exhibit in yourself - that confidence, which had taken a beating in the last three years of primary school. You’ve seen shades of life, shades of pain rather early in life. I know that some of your friends hurt you in a multitude of ways and we hurt for you then. We also watched warily as you struggled to find your footing amidst what had turned into a very slippery slope. We watched it erode your self-confidence, your self-worth and your self-esteem. We did all we could to shore up your defences mentally and emotionally but end of the day, we knew within our heart of hearts that those final few steps had to be taken by you. You had to restore that faith in yourself, within your heart. You had to find the strength to believe in friendship again. I know that was how badly you had been left scarred by all that emotional and social bullying you endured.

And you did. In the process, we saw you grow, we saw you mature further in your thoughts and actions.

All along, many people have told us how lucky we are to have you as our daughter. I’ve had many people point out to me that you are such a sweet child, a very responsible child, a very caring child. Many people, many different people have pointed this out to me. There have been many instances where we’ve seen these and much more for ourselves. That ability which you have in you – that ability to empathise – is indeed very precious in the world of today. I don’t need to tell you to hold on to that quality in you – because I know you will. Simply put, that’s how you are, that’s who you are.

There’s been another thing I’ve been wanting to tell you all along. But I’ve always felt that the timing was not be right. Now, somehow, I know you can handle what I’m about to tell you. I know that you are sensible and mature enough to understand it in depth now. Through my growing years, I had never been a risk taker. Never ever. If my school years were quiet, my college years were dead silent. Now, looking back, I can recall numerous instances when I wanted to be a part of something but I never did actually take that one final step – simply because I was afraid to take risks, simply because I feared failure. I feared the pain that failure would bring alongwith it. Today, I regret not having had the gumption to take risks then. For, I have realized that failure brings with it pain that is brief whereas that feeling of regret, of not having taken that one final step, of not having gone that one extra mile, stays lifelong.

Don’t do that to yourself. Go ahead, take risks, be a risk taker. If you don’t take that bend around the corner, you will probably never know what awaits you beyond that bend. It could be a venture that brings success, it could be a venture that brings failure. But trust me when I say that even if taking a risk along the way brings you face to face with failure, that pain is short-lived, it is momentary. That feeling of lamenting over not having taken a chance then, lasts a long long time.

I know it is scary to step into the unknown. There will be a part of you that says “Go get that. The opportunity awaits” while there will be another part of you that says “Don’t chance it. You might get hurt”. But if there is one thing I have noticed in you over these past few years, if there is one quality in you that has made itself evident, it is tenacity, persistence, resolve. As of now, you need anger to spur you on in a project that evades you. Once that anger gets its grip on you, you push yourself to test your own limits and always come out on top. I admire that obstinacy in you, that streak of “I will not stop until I do this”. As is the case with anything new, you are bound to make mistakes. That is the way we learn. Making mistakes is perfectly normal. What is important is to try your hand at your dream.

I have told you this before but I do feel the need to say it again. I love the way you write. The way you play around with words, the way you build up your stories, your descriptive narratives. I know that there are a lot of other things which demand your time and attention, now that you’re in middle school. But, to be honest, I do hope that you will nurture that talent in yourself. If, at any point of time, your heart says “Write”, do indulge in your heart’s whims and fancies. I, for one, would love to read what you pen.

To be honest, it is so bittersweet to watch you grow up. At the same time, I am thankful for the fact that we are the only ones who are still privy to watch that little child in you, even now. I know those times when you indulge that inner child in you are becoming more and more infrequent. Where I used to see a little girl about a year back, I now see shades of a young lady. While part of me puffs with pride at what I see, a part of me does turn rather reflective. I know, that this is a part of the “growing up” process – for you, as well as for us, as parents.

I do see quite a bit of “attitude” in you now. I know it is a part and parcel of growing up. But it is that very attitude that tells my instincts time and again that we are probably going to see quite a few of those fireworks at home in the coming few years. You know what tickles me pink ?? The fact that nature possesses an awesome sense of humor. How else would you explain the fact that I am, in all probability, going to be hitting menopause around the same time that you hit your teens :-)))). Forget stepping on each others’ toes – we are, in all probability, going to be dancing on each others’ feet !!! The real fun part lies in the fact that the boys at home won’t know what hit them then. They won’t have a clue !!!! Did I not say that Mother Nature does have an awesome sense of humor ??

On that note, young lady, here’s to you, here’s to that laughter in you which livens up an entire room, here’s to the inner beauty which you possess in abundance, here’s to that streak of mental strength that runs through you, here’s to those “rabbit” smiles, here’s to your dreams, here’s to the faith that you have invested in us, here’s to a lifetime of experiences with you.

If you want to know exactly how and what I’m feeling right now .... here goes ....

You are a part of me, you are a part of me
And that you will always be, that you will always be.
As you grow up, just as your own life is about to start
No matter how old you get, you’ll always be a part of my heart

All of a sudden, Oh ! All of a sudden
You’re growing so fast that it almost seems brazen
The way I see the changes in you unfurl
Make me ask myself “Where’s my little girl ?”

Time will fly, years will pass by so quickly
For the next few years, growth will seemingly have no boundary
There will be lots of laughter and joy with your peers
And quite possibly a small measure of tears

As you step into life, as a young lady, there is something you should know
You will always be our core of pride, whatever you do, wherever you go
So hold your head up high, be proud of what you are
The future beckons, with its doors ajar

When in doubt, remember to turn to that light which guides the Universe
No matter how diverse, into The Creator, things always converge
With our love in your heart and God’s hand on your head
Take things as they come, give it your best, no matter what lies ahead.

Here’s wishing you a very Happy Birthday, precious and here’s to a lifetime of growing together.

Love, hugs and then some,


4 voice(s) said so:

Sumana said...

Wonderful poem and a very happy birthday to the pre-teen. May all her wishes and dreams be fulfilled.

Rohini said...

Lovely post. Happy birthday, Aparna!

Neera said...

A very very HAppy Birthday dear Aparna! What a post Gauri - I wish ALL ur wishes for her come true. She is such an incredible child! Lots of love for her and for you!

Just Like That said...

I missed this post and her B'day. :-(
May God bless her with all she needs and help her attain all she wants, Gauri. And if she writes well, then that talent she gets from her Mom.:-) Lovely post.