Dear Mom, Happy giving-birth day! I know that I was the longest labour of the three and I arrived at a time when you knew your marriage was ending, but thanks for always insisting on telling the "ray of sunshine/grandma Rose story" rather than "the marriage is ending and I have more kids than I know what to do with" version. And sorry for taking so long to make my entrance.
After my aging rant, sister Lisa sent me this story: "I had a great masseuse in Thailand, named Doh. She was in her mid-forties, warm and sweet. We used to talk sometimes at night, sitting outside as the mosquitoes buzzed around us. I noticed, and commented on, the fact that she brushed the mosquitoes away rather than slapping at them. She told me that she had spent some time meditating in a Buddhist monastery, and that since then she tried not to kill any living thing. And about aging, she smiled serenely and said, "I own this face."
So I went to Old Delhi today, planning on getting environmentally sound kitsch-factor shopping bags for my friends (burlap with bamboo handles with prints of ganesh on them), but got lost smelling 1000 different types of perfume (lime, cinnamon, etc.) and wandering around the mosque. I ate yummy chicken tikka at Karim's and bought some material to make a dress and loved just floating with my own agenda and no one to meet at 'x' location in however much time. Saw men taking the petals off of roses (for puja) in front of shelves of packages of fireworks for sale. Every schoolkid wanted to shake my hand and say how do you do.
Last night, Sasha and I had some Kerala green stuff that we got in Puri and got beautifully sleepy. I drifted off, only to be woken by Bindu at midnight who wanted to give me a card and tell me that now I was 30. I was completely confused about what was happening, and not a little bit inebriated, but managed a hug and a bewildered smile.
Today I got to work before setting off for the old city and Sasha arranged a cake and balloon moment with the BGVS staff (who knew how difficult it would be to explain the concept of cake and balloon birthday surprise to an office in Delhi? John Lawton, are you coming to India?)
The men in the office promptly insisted on bursting all the balloons with their bare hands. Perhaps this is an Indian tradition? It was noisy.
I am now at an internet bar at Connaught Place, drinking a kingfisher, munching on what seems to be massala bran flakes. And reading all my gorgeous emails. Sasha just showed up. Soon we will go for dinner and then for drinks with sister Lisa's friend Anisha at Bacchus.
As for the who am I/where am I/what I am doing thoughts? I am here. I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I am indescribably lucky. I own this face.