All for love

If there is one word that describes yesterday, it's 'warmth' as a good friend succinctly put it. Overlooking the fact that I am an idiot and was clueless to the war-like plans hatched under my very eyes, the fact of the matter remains. This could not have been done without herculean efforts and dedication, especially by my amazing love. Words cannot begin to express how truly wonderful she is; my respect and love for her have reached unattainable heights. To quote from another friend last night - 'I don't think I would do something like this for anyone in my life'. That pretty much sums it all....

The day started innocuously enough. A lazy Sunday afternoon I thought and looked forward to a good lunch and a nice long afternoon siesta. But something was amiss. I was being pressurized to go bowling at 4 p.m. with my cousins. While there's nothing wrong with that, I just didn't want to get out at that time and was raising a big fuss to change the status quo of my lethargy. Vaish was to go shopping with my nieces and she said she felt guilty leaving me alone at home, as the kids were with my parents. I should have smelt a rat right then as this guilty feeling of leaving me alone at home has never occurred in the last 14 years! But, as I said, I'm an idiot and let things go.

Sure enough, around 4 p.m, my cousin and his wife show up to take me bowling! Their daughters are going to stay back at our place and go shopping with the wife. Nothing out of the ordinary I thought.

We picked up another cousin and his son and headed out to M.G. Road. As I had been rudely awakened from a fitful afternoon slumber, I was still a bit groggy and sorely needed some caffeine to come to grips with this afternoon outing. We hung out at Barista and then on to Amoeba. Looked like it would be a long haul to get a lane so we decided to go towards Bowring Institute where we were to meet with the wife and the kids who were supposedly done with their shopping.

Still in the dark, I tagged along, having peanuts and paani puri on the way, loitering around and taking things easy, unsuspecting of the deep dark plots churning in my wake.

We finally got to Bowring around 6:30 or so and my cousin said we'll wait in the lounge till the others show up. Again, no raised eyebrows from me as I am quite content in going with the flow. A discussion ensued on gyms and my cousin tells his wife that he wants to show her the new gym in Bowring. Apparently, they had redone it. Obediently, I got up and followed like a puppy. We got to the pool and more small talk occurred on swimming pools, gyms and other important matters which undoubtedly were time delaying tactics. As the gym was obviously closed, my cousin said he would take us through the side and up the stairs. Like a lamb to the slaughter, I continued walking....

At first I saw nothing, just darkness. A second later I could see a few flash cameras menacingly hidden in the night. I could distinctly make out figures in the shadows. My cousin nonchalantly says that there seem to be some people there....

Still uncomprehending, I walked on and all of a sudden, the lights go on, cameras start flashing and there are a 100 people in the open hall shouting and yelling "SURPRISE!!!!". My brain couldn't process anything at this point. I see family members, colleagues, ex-colleagues, friends all at the same place and I am in a dream.

I don't think I'll ever get over my 40th birthday surprise party. Vaish is a stupendously talented and amazingly resourceful girl. WOW!! What a woman!! And how in the world did I get so lucky?? I can't even imagine how tough the last month must have been for her; to do all this without letting me know. Just outstanding....

My surprise didn't end there. There was an emotion filled slide show of my life in pictures, from my early years to current day and the nostalgia just got to me. In addition, my most wonderful friends from the US had recorded a video clipping of their wishes and this was more than I could take. As another friend said 'When I turn 40, if there is 1 person who can talk well about me, I consider myself a success, and to have so many talk about you, shows how well you are doing in life'. So true, so true! I am truly blessed with the best family and friends any human can hope for. My life can only get better from here and believe me it's been a great 40 years.

I don't want to get into the Oscar Award mode of thanking everyone. You know who you are and how much you've done for me and how much you mean to me. It was the most loving gathering I've ever been a part of and years from now, when I look back, this will hands down be the most memorable moment of my life.

As for my old woman, I will deal with her in due course of time! Didn't think she could keep even a small secret and she successfully planned an entire event without even giving me an inkling of the goings on! My wife, my love, my life....
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