On the eve of my birthday, my uncle arrived with his family. Initially Mantam were acting all shy in front of them. But soon, the initial inhibitions vanished into thin air and they began entertaining with song, dance, puzzles, talks etc. All of them had a great time interacting with Mantam. I worked from home that day and was glued to the laptop even when they entered home at around 5:30 pm. The dinner preparations began only after 6:30pm. My aunts helped a lot in the kitchen and we rustled up Rice, Dal, fulkas, Brinjal Fry, Bengali Chicken Curry, Pan grilled Basa fillets, Carrot-Mung dal salad and brownies with ice-cream. We were awake chatting till 1AM and Mantam refused to sleep too. They began combing my uncle’s hair and when he appreciated their work, they were flattered. They got their dabba of hair clips and started decorating uncle’s head with all the clips. We had a great laugh while uncle enjoyed all the attention from Mantam as they brought a mirror to show him the end result.
Next morning, uncle’s bro and family, who stay in Bangalore, arrived at around 11 AM. Their presence only added to the fun and laughter. This aunt brought a home-baked yummilicious Coffee-Vanilla walnut cake. Mantam took the cousins to the park and walked them around the apartment building. Abbas was supposed to work that day but was unable to step out amidst all the hullabaloo. For lunch we had previous night’s chicken curry, rice, fulkas, Bengali khichuri, fried eggs and fish fry. After lunch, we had the cake cutting ceremony. The cake was scrumptious. I had never made a coffee cake and I instantly fell in love with it. As soon as we all hogged on the dessert, the door bell rang and guess what? Another cake arrived! It was ordered online by Bhaiyya and Bhabi. Just the previous night, Tammu was cribbing that “Mumma bakes cakess on everybody’s birthday. Who will bake on Mumma’s birthday?” Her miseries were wiped out with not one but two delicious cakes.
After the evening tea, the entire family left. There was eerie silence at home and we were all gloomy after the merry time. It was one of the most memorable birthday ever for me. On each of my birthday post wedding, I would not feel like celebrating thinking about my parents. But this time, I was so occupied that there was no scope to grieve. I was elated from the moment they came home. All of us, specially Mantam had a ball.
As the night advances, Tammu made a dull face. When I asked her what made her sad, she replied “Mumma’s birthday is going away… I want to celebrate even more” We had a family huddle hug and went to sleep thanking God for blessing us to be a close-knit unit.
A few pics of the cake: