Miles(50)& beyond…

I noticed that I had not put out a blog in the month of July. I was wondering what was missing in July. One of my friends asked my wife, ” Is Vinod not writing these days?”. It seems I was missing in action just like the way tomatoes have vanished from burgers, chaats, and even salads in some places.

Today morning when I was having Upma from Udupi I saw pieces of Tomato. It was a lightning rod moment. Enough has been written about how tomatoes the humble but vital kitchen staple are unaffordable. But to me July became unforgettable. It made me special as it was my birthday month and I received messages and calls from friends and relatives. It was also special for other reasons as one of my friends mentioned, ” Milestone birthday right”!

I had very different plans for my birthday. I wanted to celebrate it on a low key. Over the last few years, I have seen how people have been celebrating their special (50th, 60th, 84th, 90th). Had a chance to attend a couple of 50s as well. I enjoyed being with them and making them feel “aged”. I also had a chance to dance on one such occasion with my close friends and we had a lot of fun particularly when the dance steps were taught and tutored by my daughter and her friend. I dare not see those videos. In fact, I remember how we had to make up our speeches and say something nice about the birthday person. In fact, the person also felt spellbound after such speeches as I have seen how much tequila one person downed after hearing the same. The best part of the ceremonies also has been the presence of their parents and for some lucky ones their grandparents. Those groups of people have reached a stage in life where they know that the next day everything will be back to normal. To compare such celebration is to that class of flower the┬áNight-Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum). Its star power will draw dedicated, adoring, champagne-wielding fans to gather in remote desert locales to celebrate its one-night-a-year appearance.

My family was also encouraging me a couple of years back that I should be doing something similar as well. I was imagining myself dancing in the night and all my well-wishers saying some nice things and DJ playing my favourite playlists. In fact, I had made a list of dance songs that I need to move my body in my journal. But then one day I decided to dump all these ideas and move in the opposite direction. My family was surprised how on earth I had decided to give such an important so to speak milestone go without smiles. I am known in my family as the one who takes last minutes decisions and in their words play spoilsport on their plans which they had planned with me in mind. My contention was that since it falls on a weekday we will give it a miss. The Big question I asked myself was, ” What is so special about a 50th birthday?

So I had a very special birthday this time. I became sick thanks to the food I had consumed the previous night which brought a set of challenges. I was having a fever, stomach pain, nausea, and headache. I tried Allopathy and Ayurvedic medicines to bring my health under control. Finally, I was feeling like a night owl completely sleepless. That made me sit up in the night and go through my blue journal which interestingly I have been keeping and checking my progress for the last 12 years. It was interesting how some things which I had wished had already come true. There were still some dreams I have written at that point which were no longer interesting.

That day I ventured out briefly for a short meeting and I had very simple food that happened to be “Khichri”, call it simple living. Maybe the shape of the things to come in the future. In fact, I have already started noticing how we can do that in the last week. I noticed that we spend extra bucks for convenience. I noticed this when I had to travel to the hospital a couple of times. Instead of taking an auto, I traveled a couple of times by bus. One, it is lighter on the pocket, the second I got to see how people are interacting with the conductor these days. One person even went to the extent of asking for a free ride as that was possible in another state as the Government has waived off the tickets. Another gentleman soon jumped in a clarified the rules in the state. I was amazed at the content that people were watching and hearing as you know it is all on public display. Finally, I am sure if I follow this route of train and metro I am sure I can resurrect my micro stories blogging counts. Another thing I did out of inquisitiveness was to see how I look wearing earrings and a bandana wrapped around the head. My family had a good time taking pictures and I was happy that we had some entertainment around that time.

As we all know, tomatoes are back on the market and I particularly love the cherry tomatoes. I thank all my 62 FB friends who had taken the time to wish me on my birthday. The single most important thing I have understood after my birthday and beyond my milestone birthday was this simple message…

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