Birthday in India

Madurai Travel Blog

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March 2, 2008:


Well, I’m officially 34 years-old!  Wow that sounds old, but I don’t feel it, I still feel young, in my twenties.  Turning 34 was signaled by a midnight phone call from the Interns.  Riskhan, Yoshodora, Anitha, Ananth, and Pradeep all called and sang me happy birthday.  I was chatting on Skype, and so had an impromptu mini-celebration that evening.


I look forward to my Birthday and dread it.  It always is a mix of anticipation �" who will come and fear, what if no one comes.  But I love when my friends come together.  It’s a rare time when I get the people I care about together and spend a nice block of time.

So, this year, so far away from my family and friends, I enter my mid-thirties.  After getting off the internet at around 2:30 a.m., slipped into my Dhoti, under my mosquito net, and onto my bed.  The fan spun above me, cooling the warm evening.  Damien Rice on the ipod.  And I laid there, mind swirling, thinking how the last year came and went, where I found myself, where I lost myself, and how I now found myself in India.  What a strange circle of events….  Pulled to a law firm, career, newly decorated apartment, sipping salt-tinged martinis, as beautifully dyed blonds float around laughing in low cut shirts in cheesy Marina Bars, feeling out of place.  Then, separating from a 6 year relationship, leaving the job, the Marina, my friends, my family ~ heeding some call that I want to believe is destiny.
  Something inside simply saying GO!  So many times people say, “I hope it’s all you wanted it to be.”  I cannot say it is all I hoped it would be, desired it to be.  But could it ever be all that I wanted it to be?  Couldn’t it always be better?  Couldn’t it always be worse?  All I know, is more than anytime in my life, when I stop and think, “Where else would I want to be?”, I feel I’m exactly where I’m “supposed to be.”  And maybe that is good enough for now.  Not always happy, not always sad.  Sometimes lonely and sad, sometimes filled with so much joy, inspiration, love.  Sometimes deep in meditation, sometimes monkey brained.  But for whatever reason, here I am, turning 34, beneath a fan in India, lost in thoughts, letting the year rise up, and pass away.
  Remembering the moments I felt present, the moments I felt lost, the people I loved and hurt, the people I loved and helped. 


I only slept a few hours that night.   I tried to sleep until 9:00, but mostly in vain.  So I got up and went with Ananth and Riskhan to buy sweets.  It’s customary to buy sweets for everyone on your birthday.  Many “happy returns” I received.  I fought off sleep until about 4:30, and then headed home for a nap.  So exhausted, I napped until 6:30.


At about 7:00 pm, Riskhan picked me up in an auto, and took me to Henri’s house.  It was a mini-surprise party.

  I wasn’t sure who would be there or what was happening, though I knew something was up.  Entering the room, the lights off, candle lit, I saw in the flickering shadows the interns, Henri and Cynthia, Anita and Alina, all smiling.  There was a cake, already lit, and the room smelt sweet of perfumed candles.  I blew out the candles to Happy Birthday and cut the cake.  Two gifts I received for my 34th birthday.  The first a beautiful gold and silver Sonata watch from the interns; the second a stuffed little dog.  It was humorous to receive a stuffed animal at 34, but still SO sweet.  I’m working on names still.  And yes I do sleep with it, why not?  That night I ate so heartily.  The interns cooked me a feast of chicken, fish, rice, vegetables.  We drank a little beer and danced to 50Cent in the living room.  I have few moves!  The boys all danced together, the girls together, Alina tore it up, and we all laughed!  That night, I sleepily bid everyone goodnight and went to bed feeling warm, loved, and enjoying new friendships.

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photo by: Stevie_Wes