An odd scrambling outside our door at an unearthly hour of morning alerted my mum to the fact that my favourite cousin Pri was outside. It turned out the silly girl had decided she would wait in the stairwell until later in order to let us sleep longer. Only a fellow sleep-lover could be that sensitive.

I was actually desperate to sleep more, so I did give it  shot while Pri gamely hunkered down in the dark on the sofa but I soon gave up trying. We then proceeded to catch up in earnest.

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Eat first, take photo later

This being the actual day of my grandmother’s 100th birthday, the day was spent ferrying furniture to our neighbour’s apartment to free up space in our flat for the party which though restricted to immediate family only had a guest list of 40. Having done our fair of heavy lifting Pri and I then proceeded to Hill Road where I went a little bonkers at a roadside stall with kids clothes of incredible quality and incredible cheapness (though inflated from two years ago, but hasn’t?) I also bought a pair of lovely slippers and a pair of pink mocassins, a style of shoes I have grown to like in my dotage. I am at peace with the fact that these stalls do not bargain nor did I want to, but Pri wasn’t so I made a token effort.

We then halted for lunch at a Udipi place on that street which I thought was air-conditioned on top but turned out to have plastic sheets as a roof! The idli and dosa was good but they didn’t serve filter coffee! How is that possible?

Defeated by the heat, we returned home for another of those short naps before we woke up to get ready for my grandmother’s party. I helped my gran get dressed, putting on her jewellery (because she wanted it) as gently as possible, and then as people traipsed in to wish her, I found myself having a delayed meltdown.

The fact is that my gran is in a state. From a cheeky, lively, perfectly groomed, impeccable looking 99-year-old who looked 80, she had turned into a stick figure, who rocks herself back and forth and communicates in sounds and painfully executed sentences. She cuts such a pathetic figure that even I of the heart of stone finally lost it and bawled (in privacy, but there can be no privacy when there are 20 people in your house for a party).

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Nevertheless, she enjoyed her party. She loved the attention. She grabbed passing trays of food even though she cannot eat regular food anymore. Finally icecream was fed to her. She refused to go to bed till 11.30 pm. Her nephew from the US reviewed her medication and cut down a tablet that seems to have blurred her mind the most. Many of us grandchildren spoke up in tribute of her. It was lovely.

And finally, I enjoyed catching up with my extended family. I chatted briefly with all the aunts and uncles. The cousins got together in the bedroom and there was much hilarity, that continued after at a cousin’s house. Pri and I were thinking of skipping the afterparty to sleep but we were dragged there and in the end, we were glad.

Unfortunately, there was a conversation on religion in which I said I think it’s baloney and there was shocked silence from my very Catholic older cousins. It’s where you can see the generational thing at work. The oldest generation of cousins are liberal minded but stick to the path of organised religion. The middle ones are mostly confused and despite their own choices, willing to excuse the choices of others. The opinions of the youngest we don’t know because they were out partying.

I went to bed perturbed that my heathen tendencies were going to reach the ears of every aunt and uncle and bring hell down on my head right here on earth, and while that thought should have kept me up at night, I was asleep in a minute.

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