Monday, December 28, 2009

Birthday Girl

Sitting before my laptop, I am reminising the wonderful birthdays during my early childhood.

This one is still fresh in my mind... My third birthday...  I opened my eyes early in the morning and noticed my dad hanging balloons and colour paper decorations in the hall. I rubbed my eyes and tried to read out the words he had pasted using glitter papers on the wall. It said "Happy Birthday Dear Nandhini". My dad didn't realize that I was awake and watching him quietly. When he saw me, he laughed and screamed "Happy Birthday". My mom who was making gulab jamuns in the kitchen heard this and came running to join my dad. Then they gave me a new dress and a cute simple gift. Warm, loving hugs and kisses followed. I still remember gawking at the decorations in the hall. It was a BIG DEAL to me. Every birthday used to be like that for a few years.

At that time, we (dad, mom and me) used to live in a small one-bedroom apartment at Eldams road, Teynampet. We didn't actually have the so-called comforts of life, like proper furniture (we only had floor mats) or a television (my dad bought a second-hand black and white tv when I was about 5 or 6, after my younger brother was born) or even a vehicle (dad bought a second-hand mini-bullet when I was about 8). We used to have nothing... But we were really happy :)

My dad was then an LIC agent and mom was an English lecturer. They both had to work really hard for everything... from scratch. As years went by, the hardships of life took over... constant work pressures, financial pressures, family problems, fights, complications, deaths of loved ones and many more such tribulations started stealing the happy moments. When I was a teenager, we finally had all the comforts... own house, car, clothes, gadgets but... my parents never had the time for decorations or special plans... They did buy me gifts though.

December 27th falls on winter vacations. So no celebrations at school either. I started getting depressed during my birthdays. Either the disappointments of the past year or the hopelessness of the following year used to bring me down. I used to go over the top to make other people's birthdays very special... but noone used to do anything special for me. I am not saying that my family or friends didn't do anything. They all did. I used to get lovely wishes and nice gifts from them but that's about it. Everything got over in a few minutes. I used to feel happier getting a thoughtful personalized greeting card rather than a costly gift because I never wanted anyone to spend money for me. I wanted them to spend quality time with me. I wanted their 'thought' invested on making it a memorable day. Some great friends did visit/call/cheer me up, to make some birthdays really really nice. I cannot deny that. But unfortunately, something bad used to happen before the day ended... bad arguments, more failures, new problems, new worries... something or the other. I used to tell myself "Stop expecting this day to be so special or out-of-the ordinary... stop complaining... I am sure everyone's birthdays are like this". But when I go back to bed at night, I used to feel sad... on EVERY SINGLE BIRTHDAY. (Come on, don't expect this to be mature... I was a teenager). Then years went by, I became numb towards the whole thing. My birthdays never affected me positively or negatively. They were just like all the other days.

Last year (2008), my birthday fell on one of our shooting days on the sets of "Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru". It was the police station scene. Everything was ready. I yelled "Start camera... Action".... no one moved for a second... I yelled again "Action". The crew passed some naughty looks and giggles... then started singing "Happy Birthday to you". In the monitor, I saw someone bring in a big cake. I was embarrassed and overjoyed at the same time. The crew of 40 odd people sang as I cut the cake. It was a great few minutes, thanks to my wonderful assistant directors and friends who planned it all. Then we went back to shooting. We finished one scene (we were planning to shoot two more) when a swarm of nasty winged termites (Eesal) started disturbing the place. Thousands of them flying all over. The actors couldn't act or even open their mouths. I was more worried about the flies getting into the baby's ears or nose. I had new actors waiting for the two pending scenes. I knew that if I chose to cancel the shoot, the production loses a lot of money. Re-scheduling is always a headache considering the complex callsheets of actors and locations. We waited for a while... then realized that the insects had no intention of leaving... so called off the rest of the shoot. The actors who wasted their call sheets got a bit bugged (forgive the pun). You think the production was happy with the extra costs?... Hmph! Bad day. (Wait... yes... yes... I appreciate what the crew did. Honestly. Love you guys)

Today (27th Dec 2009) Sunday... I received loads of birthday wishes on my Facebook, Orkut and Gmail, thanks to the success of T4. Many friends and well-wishers called. My direction teammates Guru, Sabrish, Mani and Logu paid a visit home. Then during the day some very important friends who said they would come home to meet me, started cancelling due to 'unavoidable' work. All that just to gang up on me in the evening and give a wonderful birthday surprise. My hubby Shuku, 'thuru thuru' Rupa, Anusha, Biju and my brother Muruga spent hours talking and laughing with me. My heart felt full. (Have you ever felt like that?). At night, I went to visit my parents for their warmest hugs and kisses. Both are retired now and have all the time to spend with me. At 9pm, though it was late, my cousins took the effort to visit me with their whole family. Kids running around... More talking and laughing...

I come back home and see more wishes on my Facebook, Orkut and Gmail. I realize that the past year had been good, inspite of all the trials and tribulations. I saw success because of all the hardwork and sincerity and got the love of so many people. The future is full of hope and positive ambitions.

It's way past midnight. The day is over and I am still smiling...


Parth said...

Greatness of an artist inevitably sprouts from those difficult periods of time.
As a fan should i feel sad or happy about it? complicated! :)

Arun Karthik said...


Wonderful art, hats off ...... To say personally , It Reflected my life & specially my character. Thank You for giving a nice film. The Title it was awesome work.Saluting the Post production Team. It was an art according to me.Expressions and Dialogue made me to go inside the screen while watching the film. Wish u a great success in your career Nadhini. Arun Karthik.
DBB Interactive Mar com

Priya Mathan said...

My Birthday is the next day to yours. Somehow, the last week of December is such a beautiful week to spend a birthday. Everyone across the globe is set in to the celebration mood. I'm sure you know what I mean \m/

You are beautifully expressive, all success to you in the years to come!

Priya Mathan said...

In case you wanna read what I wrote last December on December:

Nandhini JS said...

Hi guys,

Thanks so much for the lovely comments. Keep it coming. Your encouragement means a lot to me.

@Parth - It is complicated in the beginning... in the end, you smile :)

@Arun Karthik - So glad that someone somewhere can still connect to the characters. Thanks.

@Priya Mathan - December is indeed a beautiful month. Will check out your blog soon. Thanks :)

Sricharan said...

Very well written. I had called you the day after and did not realise that it was your birthday, so here goes the belated wishes! :)

I could sense the "girl" in you when I was reading about your reactions in your teenage days and I was starting to think that Ive had my good friend feel this way about how simple things rather than costly gifts meant more (in my teens). You actually remember your third birthday? :)Wow!

One bedroom flat, eldams road...:)great memories am sure. I am always in awe of the previous generation, the way they grew in life right in front of us to take us to the next stage of comfort! Very well written, especially that part!

My mom started off as primary school teacher n dad a bank employee.

Have a great 2010!

butterfly Surya said...

பழைய நினைவுகளின் சுவையே அலாதி.


Nandhini JS said...

@Sricharan - Thanks for the wishes :) Sometimes when we think about the sacrifices and struggles our parents went through for us, our own struggles seem like nothing... Do send my regards to your parents. Happy Pongal :)

@Surya - Nanri... Iniya Pongal Nalvaazthukkal :)

Sricharan said...

My regards to your parents. A very happy Pongal to you too. Have a great time with friends and family.

tusilya said...

It feels so weird, reading this is like reading part of my life! hahah. well...Birthdays are special to me too. And I do get upset when no one wishes on my bday...leave aside the gifts..i always end up getting belated wishes. On the day it is like any other day as usual.

Well... I hope someday Ill get a wonderful bday again. :)

Im kinda too late for a belated ill wish u this year end!

Take care. Keep Smilling.

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