What is it with men and birthdays. They hate celebrating their own special day. At least, the ones in my family do. They think it’s just another ordinary day. They don’t like to indulge in shopping or cakes or throwing a party. They love going to work even on birthdays and a simple Kande Pohe with added peanuts for a birthday breakfast is enough to make them fall in love with you all over again; I mean don’t you have a life guys? Anyone with me on this? Men are pure boring.

The girls on the other hand love birthdays. They are thrilled to say the least. And I say this from experience. Well not just my own, but from that of every other girl I know; doesn’t matter whether she is 8 or 80. Every girl loves to celebrate that one day when she is queen. And my family in particular takes celebrations seriously. For both my girls, it is the single most important event of the year. It’s like film stars waiting for the Oscars or Filmfare Awards(Indian Oscar). And planning begins months in advance; rather it begins on party night of the previous birthday. The younger one is still upset birthdays don’t show up every month. On bad days, we get to hear things like, “I have waited a 100 years for my birthday. Why does it take so long?”

Closer to some forthcoming D-days, we occasionally spend days and nights talking solely about birthday and birth..day and even more bir..th…day. So, last week as we started planning for my younger one’s special day, the older goes out of turn, habitually, to ask which birthday is really special to me. And like one old school Mom, caught totally off-guard, I tell her it’s their 10th. In my mind, I rewind the last decade and ready myself to receive the Nobel Prize for surviving motherhood, not once but twice in the same decade and still declaring myself sane. I am all set to play Nirupa Roy pouring buckets full of tears over the slides and speed breakers of this journey called motherhood.

And there we go again. Time to be clean bowled over every single cliché in life. My angel is quick to respond “11th is going to be my favourite one”. A little puzzled and with pressure building up over getting the reason right in my first guess, I give it a shot. “So is it because your date of birth is 11th?”, I ask. She responds excitedly, “Yes that’s obvious but I have one more reason.”

Now I have no clue – absolutely. It’s like some question that gets the better of you on the IIT entrance. I tax my dead brain to add up all digits on her birth date; try and apply some numerical logic, forming patterns between the younger one and her dates; think of all the money she amassed from me over the past year(that is an entirely different episode); think it is a warm welcome to the Tweens and finally see this image of ‘Error 404: Page not found’ in the Chrome of my mind.

That’s when she lets it out, “Harry Potter discovered on his eleventh birthday that he was a wizard!!” Pow wow wow!! Where did that come from? J.K. Rowling has cast a permanent spell on the brain of this little tyke for sure. The look on her face is priceless. Eyes beaming with pride and cheeks shinning in the evening sun about this umpteenth resemblance she shares with her favourite protagonist – Mr.Potter. It’s a moment of joy for the sheer innocence she displays despite her constant usage of big, fancy vocabulary  and statements like “I am an adult now”. Makes me wonder, ‘What have I been feeding her!’.

Secretly, she would love to get into Hogwarts and study all about magic potions and spells and play Quidditch as compared to what we Muggles learn – English, Math, Science and Mother Tongue Language. At the bird park, I find her all excited to visit the Darkness Section looking for an owl that resembles Hedwig. At the zoo, she visits the Reptile section, catches hold of a long corner and tells me it was some space like this where Duddley got caught in the snake act. One evening, she squeals with delight at the sight of some random cloud that resembles the cloud formation appearing before the entry of  You Know Who(Lord Voldermort) and is quick to grab my phone to take a picture. She has numerous stories like these. Harry Potter and all the books that bring him alive are now officially a part of life of my little princess. It’s about time we planned a trip to The Warner Brothers Studio in London. That’s the closest she can get to Nine Three Quarters.

In an entirely different world, one of mortals, the only other soul that speaks of quarters is the man of the house. And no, we aren’t talking about Jack Daniels here. While a part of me wants to break into laughter on this universe inside the being of a 9 year old, I resist the urge lest I hurt the fragile sentiments of a young girl who is turning into a gorgeous young woman – full of imagination; fuming with rage when offended by the younger sister and plain silly at most other times. But absolutely adorable always.