Those who celebrated their birthdays during the lockdown tell you how they made sure that a national crisis didn't ruin their favourite time of the year
Famous affair, Aarav Kochgave, 10, student
When I woke up in the morning, I saw that there was a poster of my favourite sport —cricket — on the wall above me, and there were birthday cards that my parents and younger brother, Ayansh, had made for me. Ayansh's said, "You are the best bro in the world." The house was decorated with balloons, and my mother made lovely mushroom on toast and hot dog for breakfast. There were 10 gifts waiting for me, including a Famous Five book and a bee-catcher game. Later, at 7 pm, my father invited all my family members on the Zoom app, with people joining in from the US, Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Pune and, of course, Mumbai. The best part was when my relatives saw me cut my favourite red velvet and vanilla sponge cake. Apart from this, I spent the day eating my favourite food, playing board games and cricket, and watching only a little TV, just for 15 minutes.
Eggs in a nest made by Sara's daughter, Tara
A global bash, Sara Adhikari, 62, social worker
I live by myself and have two daughters — Maya and Tara — who had managed to get here just before the lockdown began. It was a Sunday, and they spoilt me. Tara, my younger one, made me a special breakfast of eggs in a nest, while Maya decided to give me a pedicure, which I haven't had in a year and a half. They then threw a surprise for me on the Houseparty app. They connected me to my family in Melbourne, Washington, Goa, Kolkata and the UK. It was 8.30 pm and I had been busy talking to another friend earlier, clueless about the surprise. The [video] conversation went on for two hours, with everyone raising a glass for me. It was obviously a one-of-a-kind situation, and a birthday I will never forget.
A screenshot of her video chat
In the shadows, Nathan Patra, 28, musician
Nathan making shadows on the terrace wall to entertain himself
It is literally my birthday as we speak. Around 12 of my friends called me on Zoom at midnight and it was strange because there were a lot of technical glitches. So it felt more like a comic experience, but it was fun, nonetheless. What has also been happening is that because of my extreme bad luck, my phone has stopped working and I am using one of those old models. I am sending texts instead of WhatsApp messages, and using my parents' gadgets to get on video calls. My morning involved a cardio workout and a roast chicken brunch. But in the evenings, there is a strange thing that happens on my terrace. Of late, people from neighbouring buildings have started putting up halogen lamps, with the light reaching our terrace walls. And I am so unbelievably bored that I start making shadows on them. In fact, that's my next plan of action for the day. I had thought of doing all these amazing things on my birthday, but I guess making shadows is what it will have to be.
Having his cake, Siddhartha Nuni, 37, filmmaker
Siddhartha's vegan cake
I had made a lot of plans for this birthday since it was to be my first one in Mumbai, but of course, it turned out to be something else. I think that more than anything else, the day was spent connecting with people from different times and parts of my life. There were also these videos that friends had sent me of people celebrating their birthdays during quarantine, and one had a person drinking wine in a room full of mirrors, with him saying cheers to his own reflection on every side. That gave me the idea of baking my own birthday cake, which was vegan since I am trying to turn into one. Late in the evening, I decided to walk over to a friend's house who lives only a few metres away, and who I know is safe because she is as self-isolated as I am. She had made some biryani, and we also drank a bit of wine and watched the movie Qarib Qarib Singlle. So overall, I felt good about the day.
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