Birthdays tend not to become too important an event especially when the figures get too big and the candles too many on the cake, posing a fire hazard. I remember my first few birthday celebrations, and oh that was so long ago. I remember Mak and her agar-agar bunga batu which was always a hit with my friends. Then there’s the kek kukus and noodles galore. All these served in her latest collection of Pyrex and syrup in those Tupperware tumblers in various shapes and colours. My school friends would turn up in their best frocks, their mode of transport being mini bikes neatly parked outside our gates.
And how we enjoyed the games of musical chairs and passing the parcel. Such simple pleasures.
I remember too some birthday surprises, one in particular that nearly gave my husband a heart attack. It was the day we were supposed to go for an important parent teachers’ meeting and he suddenly refused to go. Clearly upset, I made a unilateral decision to go by myself when a close friend called me up for tea at Whiteleys. We had tea and a bit of a rant about the strange behaviour of my other half. My daughter then phoned to say that the meeting was cancelled. So we decided to go to this friend’s place instead and drown my sorrows in a game of scrabble. I was certainly in no mood to go home.
When the door to her apartment opened, there stood my husband slaving over several legs of lamb roasting in the oven. The children and some friends were also there for the birthday surprise which nearly turned into a disaster, and one friend even came with a birthday cake the shape of a pair of voluptuous boobs that still gives me nightmares and an inferiority complex.
One year it was a drive to the countryside for lunch at a friend’s country house hotel by the Thames. It was lunch in style with some close friends and after the afternoon walk in the vast 100 year old listed garden, we settled down for tea before the long drive back into London. It was then that the French Chef walked in with a birthday cake, my name correctly spelt on the icing. What a day it was.
Anyway, this year’s quiet celebration wasn’t too bad at all. The children decided that a tomyam steamboat at Holiday Villa would be a good idea as the day was cold and there were snow flurries too. They invited some friends and Hafiz called up Uncle Jimmy and family.
It was the night after Raihan performed at the Royal Albert Hall. I was there to see their performance for Islamic Relief and what a performance they gave. And because I couldn’t have enough of their acapella, I invited them over for a bit of Tom Yam too.
Dato J was in charge of the steamboat and that was only the starters. Then we had nasi goreng kampong and mee goreng mamak. You wouldn’t believe what was served for dessert! Raihan kindly performed Assolatuwassalam - a favourite of mine!
And the family presented me with this new laptop that I am typing on.
Thank you Raihan! And thank you my sayang mamas!