On 11th of March, 2020, our son Aryan turns 1. Possibly the most joyful few words I typed ever in my life. I kept reading what I just wrote now again and again so that it really sinks in, so that my mind can really believe that our boy is a year old now and so that my heart can make some joyful beats to absorb the fact that 12 months have already passed in this unparallel journey called “parenthood”. To mark Aryan’s 1st birthday, we have planned a few ways to celebrate, precisely in three different ways which we named as Parents, Paris & the (un)Privileged.
Rest assured, this milestone post to celebrate our son’s 1st birthday will not be overshadowed by pangs or pride of parenting. So many times we fall prey to the allure to share our own plights and delights as first time parents instead of celebrating the wonderful one year the boy is turning to. Series of posts on our experience as new parents without any help from nannies or grannies – is long overdue. But today’s limelight will remain deservingly on our bundle of joy, Aryan Baba – who has made us experience possibly the most joyful, exciting, yet uncertain, confusing and draining experiences of our lives. So many layers of experience and so much flurry of exuberance for his 1st birthday certainly cannot be celebrated only once, that on his actual birthday. Instead, the small family of three of us will make merry three times to mark this momentous occasion of our lives as Aryan’s parents.
The 1st celebration of the 1st birthday of our son is spent only with us, the parents at our home in London. Ever wondered who actually were present when our child was conceived? If the answer is two and possibly those two persons being the mother and the father, then who else do we actually need to celebrate this moment of his 1st birthday to marvel at what we could give birth to? For this, we had planned for an English garden party themed cosy family time to really keep this precious moment among the three of us.
Away from the usual fanfare of inviting the entire village and raucous relatives, we preferred to spend this special time reflecting on this unimaginable journey that started when we met first in 1999, our marriage, then the numerous travels together and then finally embarking upon this voyage of pregnancy, leading to Aryan’s birth and very importantly on what ensued in the 1st year following his arrival in our lives. Possibly the fastest year we ever saw passing away in the blink of an eye, there is only one sentence to sum it up, “its so difficult, but its worth it”. I think that is the paradox of parenting, that there is no easy way out, no pain no gain the idiom must have been phrased keeping new parents in mind. Such a physically, mentally, emotionally, financially volatile episode from all corners – no wonder, we as parents have all the rights to reserve the 1st birthday of our boy only for ourselves. What a journey.
Well its not that doom and gloom that we will limit our joy to a cosy little garden party to celebrate such a big occasion in our lives. Hence, we are exposing our baby boy to the love of our lives – travelling. We have preferred to travel on important occasions of our lives such as on birthdays and anniversaries. Instead of exchanging gifts that money could buy, we preferred to buy experiences of a lifetime in the form of travelling. So as the 2nd part of Aryan’s birthday celebrations, we are taking him for his first ever trip outside his home country – over to Paris in France!
Oui, Paris je t’aime! Such a special place we have in our hearts for France that goes back to our early courtship days in Delhi, India when we used to learn French together. No wonder, the City of Love Paris, is the obvious location to relish the labour of our love – our boy Aryan. Not to overshadow the important fact that its also going to be our 12th anniversary of wedding two days right after Aryan’s 1st birthday. So this City of Love Paris is where we will take Aryan to celebrate his birthday for the 2nd time, so that he also loves to travel when he grows up, so that we could make him feel the special love we have for him for the rest of our lives and so that we also get to mark the 12th year of our union as a couple as well.
The 3rd and final aspect of celebrating Aryan’s turning a year old will take us to the city where we met in 1999, where we fell in love, with each other and with travelling and that is how we decided to embark on a journey of our own. Delhi, the Indian capital is where we intend to travel after such a long time and this time with our boy to celebrate his 1st birthday with those children who probably don’t have the privilege to celebrate their birthdays with their own families. We want to spend some time with children from the slums in an NGO and have them cheer for Aryan as we would cut another cake together with hundred children.
We acknowledge that we will not be able to be this idealist parents always celebrating Aryan’s birthday with underprivileged children. That time is not far when Aryan will come home from school and demand his next birthday party to be in a certain theme because his friends did this and did that and we as parents may have to oblige happily to make him happy. While we await that time in future, we would gladly take the liberty to celebrate his 1st birthday in a way which will hopefully inculcate a sense of gratitude in his heart when he is able to understand why we did it in a certain way. That he, being born in the UK, with all the first world facilities is very much a privileged child. Whereas, there are thousands of children like him, who were not that fortunate for a variety of reasons. As such, we want to be able to explain to him that the true joy of celebrating such personal milestones such as birthdays are multiplied when its shared with those who would have loved to have their own parents with them.
So its literally a three cheers for Aryan, hip hip hooray and happy happy birthday, not one but three times! One with the parents, one in Paris and one with the children who are less than privileged. Hope is what shapes our lives and dreams we have for Aryan which we see with our eyes open, which doesn’t let us fall asleep or feel fatigued. Whatever is possible for us to mark his 1st birthday, we will always feel to have fallen short of not doing that little bit more. When it comes to showering our unconditional love, it will be three times fold. Just like the 3 events to mark his 1st birthday, in a count of three, we shall be there by his side whenever he needs us. Happy 1st birthday son, happy 1st birthday Aryan Baba.1