It was a great day, as all days are great these days.
Birthday greetings started pouring in from 4 am Finnish time starting from Toronto (59er Hasnain Chinwalla) and Australia (nephew Chacko Kovoor, son of Malli and Thamban) and reverberated around the globe - Chennai (Anand & Shalu), Mumbai (56er Ubi, 59ers Ashok Kapur, Ramesh Mirchandani, Piloo Tata, Percy Mistri, Nihal Kaviratne, Naubir Mohindar, Elijah Elias (Ooky), etc.), Billinghay (Susanna, Chris and Asha), Hewcastle (Joanna, Tony, Samuel and Daniel), New York (59er Ellis Hayeem), Milano (69er Barbara Mont Ros), Washington D. C. (59er Arvind Thadhani), Serbia (62er Ranko Ivancevic), and ended ending back in Toronto when 59er Viney Sethi, in the company of our Physics Teacher, Willie Shiri and his wife Pushpa, and 59er Hasnain regaled me with the happy birthday serenade.
The quartet thought I would not recognise their voices after so so many years. But Viney's was so identifiable and crystal clear (but not quite the old Elvis-like) as also the rich tenor-bass voice of Willie was easily identified, as he had sung behind me in the choir stalls of St. Thomas's Cathedral in the 50s.
These greetings were combined with hundreds of well-wishers from all across Scandinavia.
Such beautiful messages, such beautiful cards, such beautiful email greetings.
I felt awed by such an outpouring of love and friendship - that makes living one more year waiting for the next birthday, really something to look forward to!
The first to wish me was Annikki, who stayed up till 4 am, just so that she could show her appreciation of our ageing together as I woke up.
And the last to greet ME was again Annikki, who prepared a delicious cake - fruit salad and cream, which was being watched over by our most hawkish cat, Iitu! She (the cat) licked the platter clean. (I was out most of the day attending various public events and only got home around half past nine in the evening for our evening together!)
Michelle, the Chinese Calcutta Restaurateur opened her new Indian Restaurant (The Royal Garden) today. I enjoyed my super spicy Madras Curry for lunch and later brought home a Rogan Josh for Annikki and Mika.
In between, the many Thai families who have adopted me as their father and grandfather, celebrated my birthday with Pailin carving a beautiful watermelon as one of their many gifts to me.
The organisers of the UN Anti Racism Week helped celebrate the public occasion by toasting the successful week with a closure meeting with a raspberry cream cake!
Old and young friends kept my mobile phone ringing, making it a day that I will remember for many years ahead.
Thank you to all of you, many whom have gone unmentioned in this blog entry - but I do remember all of you and your good wishes.