Time to Be

16 Jul

Today is my Roj birthday. And I am home alone. My first birthday present was my cleaning lady. She landed at my doorstep earlier than scheduled, ensured my home is gleaming, and watched with interest as I stamped chowk patterns outside my doorway and filled them in with dots of color. I looked up at this perennially smiling Mexican lady with her limited English vocabulary and giggled in my head as I wondered how I would explain Parsis and their customs.

It is a windy day and my drapes are billowing. My off-white and beige living room, with pops of Kashmiri design and color, is scented with temple incense. Calming and cleansing, it leaves me feeling more pious than I am. I proceed to the kitchen to make a traditional birthday lunch: dhan dar and kolmi no patio. Generations of Parsis have conjured up and consumed this divinity and I thank the lord for landing us on Indian shores, for Persian food, sans heady desi spices, is not to my taste.

This is always a special time for me, between the birthdays of the Parsi calendar and the Gregorian one. Typically not one to scrutinize my existence to within an inch of its….well, existence, this is the span of time I permit myself to reflect on the year that was. (Okay, I lied. I do it right after Christmas too.) Invariably, I am flooded with gratitude. A lot of which has to do with my loved ones. Recently, though, I have begun noticing subtle shifts in perspective and priorities. I’d much rather spend quality time with those I cherish than gad about town doing Things To Do. I enjoy solitude, even seek it. And I like taking myself on adventures. Experiences matter more than possessions. Establishing connections with our community wins over rubbing shoulders with people at a one-off party. I can easily identify and better support the causes I value and feel strongly about. My life doesn’t have a bucket list because impending death doesn’t form a backdrop. Instead, it has a checklist. Take a solo road trip, check. Paint my nails mint green, check. Swim with dolphins, check. Be part of a flash mob, check. Meditate regularly with my gentle friends, check. Talk about writing instead of just doing it, check. Witness redwood trees soar to the sky, a big happy swoosh. Learn to dance without falling on my face, oh my god, CHECK!

I was a fairly reluctant bride, because I didn’t want my life to follow the age-old beaten path of marriage-babies-mind-numbing-domesticity, but I realize so much of my freedom to drive off on a whim, count squirrels in trees, contemplate a shift in career and get to know daily living on first name terms comes from my anchor-with-dimples and the wonderful support system around me when he is away. I live each day richly. Deeply. In joy. And gratitude. With mild cuss words thrown in when things don’t go as planned. Even as I strive to better so many parts of me, there is basic contentment about who I am that goes way deeper than the bags and baubles I like to acquire. Not for one second do I believe that any of the items on my lust list are critical. They’re fun, sure, and I adore surrounding myself with aesthetically pleasing things, but it’s only my karma that’s getting me an upgrade to the specific Godiva-drenched realm of heaven I aspire to retire to. So permit me this indulgence of navel-gazing, life-mapping and blessing-counting. This mid-30s wisdom is so precious, my jammies are shining brighter than ever. Come, join the glow worm gig. Interesting times await.

11 Responses to “Time to Be”

  1. Pallavi July 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Wow, happy birthday! May your pyjamas shine on brightly 🙂

  2. RS July 17, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    Happy Parsi Birthday, OJ. Loved the items on your birthday wish list – the silver antique teapot is to die for. 🙂
    Have a fantastic year.

  3. Dee July 17, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Lovely post!

    Happy Birthday jammies 🙂

  4. ittakestime July 17, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Apppppy Buddday . You are indeed a beautiful soul!! The content that you feel in your life is oozing out in this post. Let me put a kaala tikka !!

    Here’s to many more wishful , wonderful and content buddays 🙂

    Luv , luv the post!!

  5. Roxana July 18, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Happy birthday, OJ. Here’s my favorite wish, especially for you.

    ‘May happiness pursue you, catch you often, and, should it lose you, be waiting ahead, making a clearing for you.’

    I am in love with your wishlist. The silverware and the planter’s chair and the clutch – love, love, love.

  6. Orange Jammies July 18, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Pallavi: Thank you, Pallu dear. 🙂

    RS: Thanks girl! How’s your summer going?

    Dee: Glad you liked it. I fought with myself pretty viciously before finally relenting and putting it up.

    ittakestime: Aww, thank you. I feel so mothered. In a good way. 😀 (Except, come to think of it, my mum’s never put a kala tikka on anything in her life. :lol:)

    Roxana: I love that wish! It’s awfully kind of you, thanks.

  7. alice July 18, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Ooh.. happy birthday OJ.

  8. girlfriend-in-rainy-bombay July 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    happy parsi birthday darling- I’m reading this flanked by a cup of ginger chai and pouring rain outside, and was suddenly transported to your beautiful zen home. So so glad I got to see your little piece of happy, balanced bliss. Enjoy the contentment and peace and here’s wishing you many more mad adventures, wonderful ideas and laughter in the year ahead… love and hugs from your other city xoxox

  9. Orange Jammies July 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    alice: Thank you. 🙂

    girlfriend: Thank you darling, it was such fun to have you over. And there is only one city. Always will be. 🙂

  10. dipali55 July 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    So much joy and contentment and personal growth shines through, OJ! May each birthday add to your shine! God bless.

  11. Orange Jammies July 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    dipali55: As long as it’s not the oil on my face that’s contributing to it! 😆

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