Off the shore 3
Weekend Long Awaited
Life is Good
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
This was the weekend long awaited but had not thought in my dream even that we would be there again with Nevi and Bipin for their son’s birthday like the last time. It was around May Rachna told us of their plans to celebrate in a grandiose manner as Vidit completes 16 years in August and she was asked to mark the calendar to be with the family at Woodbridge, Virginia. With validity of our passports lapsed in January itself, we were waiting the Passport Laghu Sewa Kendra, Gangtok to be opened and start functioning to get the necessary done to get them reissued. It was only a month back on 15th July these were in our hands and on the next 15th we were at JFK New York after much anxious moments for Rachna all these five years getting us here to be with them at last!
Soon a mail was received, Dai, Very happy to hear you are arriving August 15. Hope you can make it to Vidit birthday. He will be blessed. - Bipin - Life is good and my reply the same day the 1st of August Thanks a lot, Jwain Saheb! Yes we will be there soon and to be with you all to celebrate Babu’s Happy Birthday and our blessings are always with him. Life is good to realize and enjoy – more so when with near and dear ones. Love and Best Wishes… They all were with us the very evening of our arrival here to make sure that we were there on the occasion a few days in advance as it was a birthday bash going to be organized in a grand way that Nevi needed help and support with more ideas to further plan and prepare the menu the best. She had been in touch with Ranjana over Viber all the while and Bipin had been reminding Rachna all these months. She was not sure if the trip could be made with Vimal so busy in his work and we yet to decide of the visit due to the reason mentioned above. She made her mind to be there even by driving the car herself in case it was not possible for Vimal to be with us all on this get together. With most of the family members and friends invited we could not miss this rare opportunity either meeting them all at one place that evening full of fun and joy. In fact birthday for Vimal too coincided with Vidit’s that we celebrated together during our previous visit and it was time again such an occasion we looked forward all these days.
We did not wish to leave behind Vimal with the workload all alone and better he took his work too along just to be with us together. Rachna also felt it would be comfortable with him on the driving seat though she had made up her mind to be there anyhow after the persistence we could not and should not ignore. Moreover, rarely does an event like this come our way and it was about dear nephew. Rachna too had seen Vidit all these years a nice kid growing up as a Lego fan, Hot Wheels collector and auto-freak turned into a young man well informed and alert driver as she availed every occasion to be with the family whenever an opportunity came her way. We did not know till the last moment if would Vimal make it – such decided much to our joy though it was late evening to start and reaching the destination past 10 at night. We found them waiting with their neighbor Ashiq-Kopila helping them through the day to have our dinner together. Thereafter, we said it a day as our ladies had to get up next day early morning to cook some more items mother and daughter were assigned with besides Nevi working till last moments if something could be added to the show. With years of work perfecting the art with the Giant, Nevi kept her famous Tres Leches (three milk) Cake as Birthday Cake to be made that morning as she did not take any chance of getting it spoiled if made in advance. Bipin with his new job just a week old, it was not desirable to start with any leave or off day, so went to work as usual that Friday. Back from work while trying to move a huge dining table all by himself that made him seek help getting it repaired quickly that turned out better and stronger. Saturday he was rushing out for collecting food items outsourced from their neighbor Miss Eva and for some more last minute purchases as he thought that the quantity prepared would not be sufficient enough as usual while arranging functions of such a scale with guest list increasing with some more names they could not forget.
With guests arriving the evening warmed up soon with Bipin busy helping the guests with the hospitality. The big surprise was there when all gathered for the main event of the day was the lavish enormous spread of the huge Birthday Cake double the size Nevi had prepared last time. Even larger was his father’s love to give the surprise announcing, Boy, you are a grown-up man now and here is the gift for you, Vidit! With the midnight Vidit has indeed turned up a grown up man out of a good boy throughout and what more could a father think of he deserved than some latest version of the gadget Samsung Edge with curved screen along with a 42” screen LED television. What a father could give more than the wishes to make best out of his son in the years to come. Nearer is his next two years in High School most vital to shape up and get prepared for the future ahead to face the world before him. With the guests departing Nevi’s friend Sunita (they met first in their maiden flight US-bound some two decades back) with Anil, daughter Gauri and aunty stayed to have more fun - Ashiq singing karaoke past 2 in the night and Anil asking jovially if the one he just sang was for his sweetheart Kopila. It was me but to excuse myself as it was beyond my capacity to keep myself awake that late. One or two songs later aunty also trying as I heard from my room by the time I went asleep. They had dispersed around 3 as it was usual for Sunita-Anil working late night in the business they own and run and such occasions gave them unwind thus the best way possible. Next morning celebrations continued with birthday being observed fully with Newar customary Sagan with eggs and all complete to both the birthday boys and Rakhi by Rachna to Vidit and his mother tying me with love and affection. Lunch followed and we wanted to leave the earliest but Vimal could get free off his work on the laptop late evening to start our journey around 530 to reach Chester Springs by 9.
Back home, something more was in store as our ladies wanted to give a surprise party for Vimal with friends and some preparations in advance stealthily done and as per Nepali calendar the day fell on Tuesday. All friends were informed accordingly and Karthik was requested to pick up the birthday cake from Wegman nearby and some Kaju Katli from Sukhadia’s at Edison NJ. It was belated celebration along with Rakhi function when Rachna tied to Karthik while Bindiya to him and Vimal both. Bindiya-Prasad with Rinay, Vimal’s friend since college days Vipin-Priya with Reha, Tejas-Urvi with Trisha, Mahesh-Madhu with Arav made all the fun with Tina complemented to make the show perfect. We had met most of them except their kids born and Vipin married while Mahesh moved here later. We all missed Sheshadri with Nisha in Texas and Pravin-Rashmi with kid moved to Singapore. By 10 they all had gone, next day being a working day with some kids going to school. Though there were other families around, we found that people do not get friendly or the other way round no one intrudes into other’s privacy unless some bond to unite like this group here.
To conclude a riddle much to bemuse me - kids enjoy more on their elder’s birthday or we elders enjoy more on our children’s as I found that it was the elders who enjoyed most at Vidit’s while at Vimal’s it was the kids enjoying a lot. Many do, however, believe that it is the elders who get the most out of both the situation if we simply care to enjoy and find Life is Good! Next week: Celebrating Indrajatra with the NOA ~~~
This is author’s personal account of memories updated to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share multiplying the joy of the journey called life while in the US. Some names, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice or otherwise whatsoever intended. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org