As we ushered in the New Year 2023, it was evident that I am no longer going to be young but soon a Senior Citizen. My wife, Deepika and son, Ayush wanted to celebrate my Sixtieth with pomp and show but I resisted fiercely. I wanted to remain young (at least in my heart) forever and moreover who on earth would like to tell the world that one has gone 60-IYA??? On the surface, they seem to accede to my views and did not press the matter further but asked for the contact details of 2 of my buddies which I reluctantly gave away but warned those two anyways.

Both, Deepika and Ayush kept things under wrap for quite a while but women can’t keep secret for long as was evident in case of Deepika. One day while we were sitting and fiddling with our phones, suddenly a voice, quite familiar, boomed from her phone and I could hear someone calling out my nickname. I asked her what that was. Her reply was cryptic nonchalant, “Nothing” as she switched on some music on her phone. The second episode was quite revealing and she had no way out when her niece (the Chef) Vidhu called her to discuss the menu for the evening. She then revealed that she had reached out to my buddies and requested for contact details of my close friends and invited them at home. She said as a compromise, the affair would be small gathering of close friends (individual and family). Since the invitation has already gone out, I had to accept it. I asked her for the invitee list and added one missing name to it.

Meanwhile, my friend Indrajit, the expat in Baghdad was due for his Iraqi visa renewal for which he was supposed to leave the country for few days and collect his visa to re-enter the country and continue with his banking job as if he wasn’t absent even for a day. As the B-day dawned closer, I casually asked him the status of his visa renewal and whether he’s coming home for few days… he replied with one word, “Both”. He deftly evaded my further pressing of the subject but I had a strong intuition that he would be there for the party…he simply can’t miss to see how much 60-iya I have gone!!

I appreciated how much my friends wanted to surprise me… even though 4 of them knew individually of his presence on that day, none spoke or discuss it amongst each other, keeping it tightly closed in the box. Only the day before the event, at around 9 pm I casually remarked on our whatsapp group that Indrajit seems to off radar for quite some time maintain a complete radio silence. There was an immediate comment from Topshe who said,”He’s probably on way to see you on your 60-eth”… he was told to shut up!! But it was too late for I knew the truth. I would have loved to have one of my outstation friends to join us but he wasn’t physically well and also had some domestic issues that did not allow him to come to Delhi.

On the B-Day which happens to be Deepika’s birthday as well, both our phones kept ringing since morning… the most common frequently asked question was “How I am feeling being 60 and Senior Citizen”? Frankly, I had no good answer… as far as I am concerned it was just another day like the previous day, there’s no paradigm change overnight.

The day started with a homemade south Indian breakfast of Masala Dosa with coconut chutney. This was followed by shared pizza in the afternoon lunch leaving room for the sumptuous spread from Cosmo Palate…

The first ones to arrive were Gutloo, Pelu and Babua expectantly looking at me to see the “surprise look”, I did my best to not disappoint them but then I am a poor actor. Anyways, all those who were invited by Deepika came to see how much 60-iya (Satiya or senile) I have gone in one day!! Two of them needs special mention, Santanu Basu and Indrajit who deferred their respective journeys by a day to join me on that evening… have no word to express my gratitude.

The food from Cosmo Palate was amazingly yummy… 3 Starters each of vegetarian and non-vegetarian, followed by Asian Main Course and finishing with Tiramisu and Gulab Jamun. Unfortunately, it did not cross anyone’s mind, including the Chefs Vidhu & Rajesh to take the pictures of the dishes. Ayush, my son had sponsored the Single Malt Whiskeys which were welcomed by the guests.   

It was also the birthday of my brother-in-law, Abhay who graciously joined the merriment and cut the cake along with Deepika and myself. My sister regaled the audience with tales of my childhood much of which I have conveniently forgotten. But I still remember my three imaginary friends Olik, Onness and Ashok Gupta who were my constant companions in my daily adventures in our tiny premises.

The evening came to an end with a video show of my near and dear ones speaking of my virtues… going through it for the second time somehow felt as if I am a dead person…no one talks ill about the dead. I can understand that being the youngest my siblings as well as my immediate family (wife & son) would speak about the positive aspects only… but my close buddies who are part of my life for over 5 decades could have been more frank and talked about my fallacies. I personally don’t think I am such a virtuous person; in fact, I am quite the other way around. I am not compassionate to everyone but only to those who I have a bond. No one talked about my hot temper which only I know that it can trigger to murderous rage. None reflected on the foul language that I use every day to belittle the others. It is not that they haven’t seen my dark side but they refrained from pointing it out, perhaps because they all are wiser than me and understood that it was my insecurities that bring out the devil in me.

I have come a long way from the near slum living to the decent surroundings of the South Delhi locality. We were a large family with a small income… the priority was food for all, everything else was luxury including clothing…being the youngest I had the privilege of receiving hand-me-down clothes which would only be discarded once they are beyond any repair. I was not a very healthy child and often got afflicted with all possible diseases growing up, be it whooping cough, mumps, chicken pox, malaria… you name it. I was not supposed to live but here I am reaching the milestone year of SIXTY. I am overwhelmed by the affection shown by my friends, brothers and sisters.

I was asked what my vision is going forward… I had a hearty laugh (ROFL)… Frankly, I have no vision, no desire left. I have achieved beyond my capabilities. Going forward I will write down my thoughts, experiment with foods and cook up finger licking dishes and perhaps visit some kennels to cuddle with the fluffy inmates once my sweety-pie Rolf Adenauer Bhattacharya (aged almost 14) attains Moksha.    

5 thoughts on “60-IYA

  1. Nice…that evening was very special. We refrained from speaking about your dark sides, for we knew that the videos will be watched by your close family members…hahaha. But wait…if time permits, very soon I will show you a clipping of 17 minutes that I recorded in my first attempt. Your patience is at the risk of an acid test…


  2. Happy 60-th birthday, Aro! It was my privilege to be with you when you celebrated your 60-th birthday. Why don’t you embed the YouTube link of the video that was specially prepared by Deepika & Ayush. Cheers, buddy enjoy a long healthy life with many more blogging.


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