This year was supposed to be the end of the world. So technically there was every possibility that we wouldn’t have had the 20th of February and I was banking on this little glimmer of hope. I did not want this day – this year. I’ve cherished and welcomed this day almost every year of my life, but this year, I’d rather wait for the Mayan prediction to come true a wee bit early. I did not want to turn thirty. Thirty is too big a number for me. I could do without it. So I was hoping the apocalyptic prediction would come true before we reached the middle of the first quarter. I was disappointed. Yes, I know I know, I am not a person who believes in prophecies and auguries, but what did I have to lose? I had specifically instructed my husband that I did not want to acknowledge the day. That it would be just another day and we should be as gloomy as we are on every Monday, since the ‘happening’ weekend has just passed us by. I could’ve as well blown the trumpet in a deaf man’s ear. “Not happening. You’re finally growing up. You’re going to join the club of the ‘been there done that’” he said, his chest all puffed up. Was he really very proud of being known as a 30+ North Indian male? Could he? Or was it because there was no way out? “We are going to celebrate in style, with vintage wine…” At this point I broke into tears. “Vintage... that’s what… I’m going to be called” I lamented between my sobs. “No silly”, reassured the scared husband. “You’re going to be counted as wise” “You’re not helping” I cried louder. “Ok... no... That’s not what I meant. People will start to take you seriously now. And now, you are actually going to enjoy life, because you don’t have to worry about your finances, you don’t have to think about retirement. You’re at the right age, where you’re meant to enjoy and live life without fears” He was, as he was trying to speak a language I might understand. And he was pretty close. “Ok... what about we celebrate in a very small way?” “Yes. Only those who care” I said, mentally calculating who I wanted to know I turned 30. “Just Ma, Pa, you and the little one”. This was a safe crowd, just my parents, daughter and the husband. I left for work in between being gloomy and disappointed that the Armageddon let me down to being ‘wise and vintage’. I was glad I had changed jobs only a couple of months ago, and the colleagues singing me the song, weren’t sure how old I was. I don’t ‘look thirty’ (I am sure), so it didn’t really matter humoring their good wishes. Just before I was packing my electronic box that they call laptop, I got a call from husband dearest. “Hey, I’m waiting down. You’re done for the day right?” “Ady, I told you, no surprises. I don’t want to celebrate….” “Can you please pause? It is not a surprise” I paused. “We decided we’d go for dinner with Ma and Pa right? They eat early” That was true. “Ok. Am coming down” I yielded.
Now, I am not good at topography and I admit it, but the route Ady was taking was diagonally opposite. There WAS going to be a surprise. 5 years of marriage and 8 years of knowing each other and he still has the audacity to disregard my demand! I was fuming. Maybe some of the years did have an impact, or the smoke coming out of my ears were really irritating his nose, ‘cause he quickly added “No. No more people. I swear. I’m just taking you to collect your new dress”. Ok... so he knew what would cheer me. “My dress?” “Yes. I ordered for a party gown, the one that you really liked.” Now, I have never openly ogled at gowns. There was no way he’d known of my longing for an evening gown unless, he had just bought it as a happy coincidence. Whatever it was, this was not the time to complain. I was looking forward to it. It was well worth the wait. I looooooved the dress. I loved everything about it. The feel, the color, the texture the work – it was amazing. And it also had my husband’s endorsement. I couldn’t have been more touched. He somehow knew what I wanted. I quickly changed into my dress. He had even bought matching jewelry.
He led me by hand me to the roof top restaurant in the same building and as soon as we reached the terrace, he winked at the waiter. I heard my father speaking. “She’s been a treasured child. We’re very proud of the person she has become….” He was speaking from the projector screen. Tears rolled down my eyes. This time, tears of joy. I was amazed to actually hear my father speak about me. He has never done that. Well, I haven’t asked him to especially give me feedback per se…. but this was something which was so new, so… Bollywood! Then Mom flashed on the screen, and Ady spoke “She is the smartest and most intelligent woman I’ve ever known”. I looked at him and tugged at his shirt. I noticed that my valentine’s gift to him had finally arrived. He was looking quite the handsome guy I had fallen in love with not so long ago. I noticed how he’d rolled the sleeves upside down, the way I liked it. I gave him the tightest hug ever. Even our two year old made some noises to express her appreciation. Ady hugged me back and whispered. “Now are you ready for the surprise?” He winked again, this time at me and waved somebody in; my parents and my little princess. It couldn’t have been a better evening. It couldn’t have been a better day to turn old. It couldn’t have been a better day to be wise. I will still treasure that yellow stain on my new gown – it will always remind me of my toddler’s soup mishap on my thirtieth. It will remind me of the day I was no longer ‘some twenty-year old’.