Story of first...

For the first 10 years of my life, my Nani (maternal grandmother) and my mom made all my clothes. My Nani was a master seamstress. She could make magic happen. And my mom was gifted in embroidery. She also made magic happen. My Nani would sew my dresses and my mom would embroider them. I never felt the need to have a new store-bought dress. And when I did feel that way, I had three older girl cousins whose clothes would be handed down to me. And as was the culture in India, you would wear hand-me-down clothes from your sisters (we didn't call them cousins then) because why waste a perfectly good dress when someone else could wear it. This continued for many years but for my 10th birthday, I asked my parents for a new dress from a store. Like a dress purchased just for me. 

My father was visiting his sister in Bombay (we lived in Delhi) and he bought me a dress from there. I still remember it because it was the prettiest dress I had seen. I had never seen a dress like that. It was blue and silver, shiny with little glittery things stitched into it. It was so pretty that I wondered if I would dirty it just by wearing it. Well, I wore it to school (on birthdays we could wear home clothes to school instead of the uniform) and I remember not sitting in the playground because my dress would spoil. I remember cleaning the chair in class before I sat. I was so careful because I knew how expensive that dress was and it was a stretch for my parents, so I had to preserve the dress for many many years. I was not sure when I would get a store-bought dress next. 

Now, I don't remember what happened to that dress but I do know that just like that dress, my parents made sure all my wishes were fulfilled, irrespective of their financial position. As I get ready to celebrate my 40th birthday this week, the blue dress and the countless things my parents did to celebrate my birthdays flashed before my eyes. This year, I am blessed to be able to celebrate my birthday with my parents and my brother and sister-in-law, and my niece and nephew. This is the best gift I could ask for - a week full of love, laughter, happiness, arguments, fights, hugs, kisses, and smiles!

What is your favourite birthday memory?