Happy Birthday to Me

 

Today is my birthday….happy or not. Considering that , effectively,  one is just inching closer to the inevitable end, whether one should celebrate one’s birthday or not, has been the subject of much intellectual debate. Many of these debates I too have been a part of. In fact, in the good old days of youth, some inexplicable existential angst used to grip me around my birthday. Those were the days when I was quite sure that I had life all figured out and had consequently come to the conclusion that the only logical thoughts on one’s birthday had to be an existential urgency. I remember scribbling one such thought from Bridget Jones on the title page of that very book on my 27th birthday – “Fear of dying alone and being found 3 weeks later , half eaten by an Alsatian”. That Bridget herself is by no means anywhere near sane should be enough of a comment on my mental state at 27.Now that I’m quite certain of just the opposite , that no matter what, life cannot be figured out, I have taken a bathetic plunge from morose contemplation to chaotic revelry.

happy-birthday-to-me-wallpapers-9.jpgSo here I am,  on my 42nd birthday, with my self bought gifts and cake and flowers , ready to celebrate , happily having bid adieu to the angst that plagued me in my 20s. Is life more sorted out now ? Am I no longer scared of being found half eaten by an Alsatian because I’m married ? Not quite. On the contrary life is as chaotic as it gets and if I’m not worried about not being half eaten by an Alsatian it’s simply because I’d trust my pet not to eat me up ! The fear on the contrary is of being left half buried by my better- bitter half 😉

On a more serious note if there is one thing that I’ve realised about life it’s  simply that life is for the living. Pretty obvious one would think but very often such apparent truths are lost on us. Rather than moan on our birthdays about getting old,  let us acknowledge that growing old is a privilege denied to many and be grateful for whatever time we have, especially with our health and other such things that we take for granted ,  intact.  Moreover, why do we wait for others to celebrate our birthday or make special efforts for our special day? Buying gifts, flowers, cake for oneself is generally looked down upon, as signs of  being so lonely and alone that no one will get you these. For a long time I have myself fallen prey to such self defeating thoughts, waiting for others to make my day special. And now I wonder why? I am blessed with lovely friends and family but if I don’t want to celebrate my life myself, why do I expect others to? My birthday for me is today nothing short of an exclusive national holiday that I celebrate fully. It’s a week, if not more, of fun and revelry in the most basic ways…shopping, cooking, movies…anything that I enjoy..with sonny dear and whoever, if anyone, is around at that point of time. But celebrate I must and celebrate I will.

I have often spoken of lack of self love that we, especially, women exhibit. Everything in life is overrated, except love of the self and an affirmation of life as we know it. Can there be a better day to celebrate one’s life than one’s birthday? So here’s to many more such days…such birthdays and a life of loving and living. Let’s not take life too seriously..no one gets out alive. Let’s rock it while we can…Happy Birthday to Me!!

Twinkling Mrs Funnybones

 

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Reading a book by someone whose name “rhymes with sprinkle and wrinkle”? I don’t think so. That, by the way, is not me taking a jab at the author Twinkle Khanna, but one of the very candid digs at herself that Mrs Funnybones makes during the course of the book. And this is what made me pick up the book. Honestly, despite all their chic poise and impeccable dressing sense, I don’t have a particularly great opinion of our Bollywood starlets. Jokes on Alia Bhatt’s intellect are by now stale and have you ever heard the style diva Sonam talk? My point simply is that when it comes to matters of the brain, even our new age leading ladies leave plenty to be desired.

So, it was with a lot of scepticism that I had read Twinkle Khanna’s column a while ago. In fact a friend sent me the link and I was pleasantly surprised. Not that I became her avid reader. I would read it whenever she sent me the link, have a good laugh and that was it. Purchasing the book was more a matter of necessity rather than choice- on my flight from Bangalore to Chandigarh, I didn’t have too many options to kill time. It was then that the Twinkling Mrs Funnybones came to my rescue. And truth be told, I enjoyed every bit of it.

First things first, the book isn’t going to go down annals of Indian writing in English as a trailblazer or anything of the sort and it’s not meant to either. What it in fact does do is give you few good laughs as Twinkle Khanna takes you on a roller coaster ride through the trials and tribulations of a working mother. If you are expecting any voyeurish peeps into the life of the rich and famous Bollywood couple, you’ll be sorely disappointed.Quite to the contrary, it is this very down to earth, easy to relate tone and setting that makes the book immensely readable and likeable. The Bollywood superstar husband, like most husbands, makes fleeting appearances in his wife’s life and is given due tongue in cheek deference as the “man of the house”. The only peep you get into this 5 star life is the rather infamous incident of her unbuttoning her husband’s jeans at a fashion show. And that too sans any drama but with all of her trademark humour. Yesteryears sexy Bobby is just another annoying yet lovable mother, who, like all mothers, has done innumerable things down the years to traumatize her daughter at different stages in her life, starting with naming her “Twinkle”!! Her 11 something year old boy is rightly referred to as the “prodigal son” and the little baby, as, well, the baby. Like most married women, her life involves juggling around work, family and numerous other chores as well that were until late taken care of by men but are now dumped, among other things, on women. With a battery of “domestic wonders” and likes of Mansukh Bhai, the internet man, at her disposal, her life is definitely better than most women but at the end of the day it’s the same universal issues that she’s dealing with – growing up children, recalcitrant mom in law etc etc.

Her style is rather like that of Bridget Jones novels- perhaps it’s the chronological narration of the day and events that give this impression or the overall nonchalant air, but Bridget Jones is what came to mind as I started reading the book. Lucid, easy going, it carries the reader through. Since it is a collection of her columns, one can leave it anywhere and pick up any chapter randomly and start reading. Funny and light as the book is, she often touches a nerve and makes you sit back and think…as she reflects while saying good bye to her son, who is going on a school trip – “ One day he will be in my place and what he will learn is that trying and holding on are complicated and challenging things, but the most difficult thing in life is to love fiercely  and then let go”.

Yes, so it is. Life is a myriad blend of the lofty and the banal and the more you can laugh and carry on, easier it is. Mrs Funnybones does exactly that making it a worthwhile read.

Bridget is coming back

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So I’ve heard…that the third book in the Bridget Jones series, tentatively titled “Bridget Jones : Mad About the Boy” will be out by October or latest by the year end. The first time I read Bridget Jones was sometime around 1999-2000 and my instinctive reaction was – “Gawd! I can identify with this woman more than what can be considered healthy, sane or safe”. Every time since that I have re-read the book or it’s equally outrageous sequel “ The Edge of Reason”, this feeling has just got strengthened. I may no longer have Bridget’s fear of dying alone and being found 3 weeks later, half eaten by an Alsatian at best or a hyena at worst, but till date she strikes a familiar chord – measuring her life in the weight she gained or lost, calories she consumed or the number of Christmases she has spent in her parent’s house. Bridget is the quintessential woman of today!!

Bridget, rendered perfectly on screen by Renee Zellweger, till date is a class unto herself. With a plot that follows, and at the same time subverts that of the classic “Pride and Prejudice”, this book never fails to cheer me up. Probably one of the first of the so-called “chick-lits”, written in the form of Bridget’s personal diary, these series, with some variations, could very well be the diary of any woman struggling with universal issues that plague us all- career, weight, boyfriend (or the lack thereof), nosey relatives, crazy friends, search for inner poise….. and the list can go on. Armed with self-help books and New Year resolutions, Bridget is ready to take on the world or so she thinks. Only that the world is constantly becoming so much more difficult to handle. Be it her fluctuating weight, flirty cum cheating boss- boyfriend, Daniel Cleaver, her mother’s escapades or as in “The Edge of Reason”, her own, there is never a dull moment in Bridget’s life. Though she may not see it, her life after all does turn out to be quite alright what with her picture perfect boyfriend Darcy, who, like his namesake in Pride and Prejudice, is every woman’s dream come true. And so Bridget bungles through life.

What new can we expect in the third part? Well Helen Fielding says that her life has moved on and Bridget’s will too and the third in the series “represents a totally new phase in Bridget’s life. A statement from publishers said: Bridget is older, she is still keeping a diary, but she is also immersed in texting and experimenting with social media, with an emphasis on ‘social’! If I might hazard a guess, beneath this facade of change and moving on, it will still be our good old hapless Bridget traumatised by a world where Facebook and Twitter reign supreme. When she could land herself in impossible situations in the days gone by where we all lived in relative isolation, what she is capable of doing to herself when the entire world (including ex and current boyfriends; ex, current and probable bosses) are just a flick of a finger away, I cannot wait to find out. And for those of you who are as restless to meet the older and wiser Bridget, I leave you with an excerpt released by the Publisher-

'BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON'

“Wednesday 24 October 2012

11.27 p.m. Just presss d SEND. Iss fineisn’t it?

You see, this is the trouble with the modern world. If it was the days of letter-writing, I would never even have started to find his address, a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope, a stamp, and gone outside at 11.30p.m. to find a postbox. A text is gone at the brush of a fingertip, like a nuclear bomb or exocet missile.

DATING RULE NO:1

DO NOT TEXT WHEN DRUNK”

 

Oh boy oh boy!! Have I missed you Bridget!!