“Yes, mam.”

April 09 2011

I was born on June 15, it is the 166th day of the year (167th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 199 days remaining until the end of the year. A bad time to be born. That ISRO  was to announce Sky Lab is falling on India on 15th June, 1980…but my mother beat her to it by a couple of hrs and delivered me at the Hospital, Tiruppur on 15 June 1980.
I say a bad time to be born, because 15 June always fell during the end of summer vacations. As a result I never got the privilege of celebrating birthday in school. My birthdays were either celebrated in trains, with a plate of bread omelette's or upma-vada (depending on which state the train was passing by) or in our relatives house where nobody cared.

As a result I have always been envious of people born during regular school days.

Not just my classmates, but the whole school would wear colored clothes to school on their birthdays. Guess, this helped the teacher identify whose birthday it was and remark as soon as she was finished taking attendance: “Ohh…Deepa, it is your birthday today!”

The sheepish, shy yet proud classmate would then give the stock reply: “Yes, mam.”

I gather, the only time when any of my classmates said “No, mam” was when they were asked if they did the homework. For everything else, it was “yes, mam.”

The class teacher would then respond with her stock second question: “So, how old are you now?”

Gosh! You should be in the class to note the pride in the boy’s or girl’s voice when he/she mentioned the age.

I detested all of this, because I never got a chance to express my pride of being one year older than the previous day.

After the formal talk, the classmate would say: “Mam, I have got chocolates.”

The distribution started with the teachers and those with lucky kids took handfuls to take home.

Depending on how rich their parents were, my classmates would fill their lunch boxes with either Orange, Mango Bite or Eclairs and go around the class distributing.

I vividly remember, spending a whole period wondering if it would be morally right to pick up two Orange chocolates instead of one when the guy/girl came around. But I always picked one, promising myself that next time I would definitely pick up two.

The best part of celebrating one’s birthday in school was that you never got scolded by the teachers. For somebody like me who got scolded everyday, this meant a lot.

So, why are we talking of celebrating birthdays? That’s because, today my sisy reminded me that her daughter’s birthday was fast approaching and we needed to prepare for the D-day on 15 April shall we bro?!.

and my answer was "Yes, mam" 

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