And suddenly, or so it seems, it is the second birthday we’re looking at, after Mom passed on. Every birthday of hers would be preceded by a week of breaking our heads over what to get her – and we’d conference over it and end up getting something for the kitchen, some nighties for her and of course, something for Vidur at her insistence. She’d say, “I hardly have any needs!”. And how often could one get new spectacles? Since she was not as mobile as she wanted to be, we tried to make her surroundings as pleasant as possible and stocked up on the things she used. Even a three-pack of Dove soap thrilled her, as she loved it. If we got a new ladle, she’d keep using it and admiring it each time she held it in her hand. A new bed spread, a new sheet – all evoked a child-like gratefulness from her. Years ago, she’d get very excited about buying her horoscope book for the year, much to my amusement. Oh, what fun times we used to have reading the “raasi palan” from the Bhakti or Aalayam magazine. She especially liked Mangaiyar Malar.
Each year, we’d have a birthday cake, mandated by Vidur – and we would cut it together and of course, enjoy it together. I’d get lots of flowers – she loved champa very much, and jasmine too. In the last months, when she couldn’t wear the flowers, she’d keep them by her pillow to enjoy their fragrance. 
We’ve arranged for lunch at Seva Sadan today in her memory. 
Happy Birthday, Mi.
April always seemed like multiple celebrations for us with New Year usually on 13th or 14th and Mom’s birthday on 15th. She’d get all worked up about various things to make for Sury and Vidur. Sweets, special requests by Vidur – the two of them watched a lot of cooking programs and were quite keen on trying out many of the recipes they saw. We had a quiet New Year yesterday with our family paruppu payasam, paneer manchurian instead of the traditional vadais, Rama Navami salad and the usual samayal with curry, rasam and rice. The payasam came out just the way my Mom would have approved. 
I appreciated how much I have learned from my Mom and Granma…..festival cooking without getting flustered – and being quick about it. I also appreciate my lovely family.
And we wish my Mom had been here to enjoy life with us.