Another birthday went by and all I could think of was those sweet, innocent kiddie days…. drinking milk and eating just the cream out of orange cream biscuits ….. playing saanp-seedi and ludo and fighting over the blue and red pegs ….. telling Mummy to buy a dress with many colors because it would make me win Crocodile crocodile! which color do you want?…. fighting with my sister for pink and yellow handkerchiefs and marking them with “M”s and “D”s …… covering my books in brown paper with fancy flowery labels….. feeling I’m the best on getting good marks …… feeling I’m even better when Mummy had proclaimed to the world that I came first …… learning how to ride my bicycle with Didi and screaming at her not just for the handkerchiefs but for the big ugly bruise on my knees ……. going to my bestest friend’s house to eat the world’s best idli sambhar … making excuses at home of stomach ache to get to eat more idli sambhar later ….. sharing secrets with all my friends and telling all of them not to tell anyone else …… planning to become an air hostess …… decorating that Christmas tree that was nothing but a creeper plant …… practicing dances for the cultural hour and crossing fingers to hear applauses in the end….. feeling proud on hearing them and not being able to do anything else the rest of the day …… participating in the singing competition and hating it on coming down with a cold …… yelling out my friend’s name to see if she wanted to play and running away when the neighbor screamed at us being too noisy …… bringing compass boxes as everyone’s birthday gifts and not liking getting 10 of the same for my own birthday…… watching Chitrahaar religiously on Wednesday nights ….. and the one hindi movie of the week on Doordarshan …… watching even the news for hearing impaired on Sunday afternoons and knowing that pointing to the forehead meant India ……. waiting eagerly for annual holidays and lazing around on those summer afternoons …… running along side my brother as he plucked those yummy raw mangoes and devouring them and those pink almonds…… eating sugar cubes from that rich aunty’s house and being scared of her dog at the same time ……. making paper boats swim on those huge puddles and hoping the monsoon never gets over …….. getting wet in the rain and listening to Mummy scream as she hung more dresses on that never ending line of clothes running in the gallery, the bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, everywhere! ……. getting a cold the same day and hating it coz that meant no icecream, but not feeling so bad coz there was still a lot more bhuttaa …… buying those 5 paise orange toffee from the paan wala and not opening my mouth in front of Mummy to hide my equally orange tongue ……. getting my hair cut from Didi and crying all day when she made me look like a chimp ……. writing long never ending letters ……. blaming the teacher for giving equally long never ending homeworks and yet very fondly doing them coz I had to be the best ……. watching Fauji and adding “I say chaps” to every sentence ….. watching Ramayan and being fascinated with their udan-khatola (flying ride) ….. listening to Papa explain Mahabharat and asking him if he could lift a mountain too, coz Papa could do everything …… standing in front of Papa’s Bajaj scooter as he took me to the market and feeling like a princess…. feeling like an even bigger princess the day he bought that Fiat ….. and proudly helping him clean it on Sunday mornings and singing “Hai Apna dil to awara….” with him ……. hating eggs, feeding them to the stray dog and hence making myself his best friend ….. going for picnics to the museum, the lake and the caves and not being able to sleep the night before due to all the excitement…… singing some more “Hai Apna dil to awara” and “Naani teri morni ko mor le gaye” on the way…… screaming on the phone and talking to Naani on that trunk call for just 30 seconds …. wondering if she was Snow White coz of her white hair, white skin, white sari and very white teeth……. and loving the GulKand she gave us to eat …… hence confirming she really was snow white!