Many dear friends had gathered in Vyas Kuteer to wish me on my birthday that was imminent. Around 11 pm on the 21st of September this year, I decided to oil my hair and shampoo them. As soon as I announced this, there was a sudden frenzy of action that started around me.
I watched bemused as someone walked in with candles, someone else with matches, yet another asking if I had “soothing” music. Turned out that their surprise birthday gift for me was giving me a full salon treatment right in my own bedroom, in my own lounging chair! Only it was supposed to happen the next day. When the night before I said I was going to shampoo my hair, Project Hair Spa was instantly preponed by a few hours.
Tanu made up a heavenly smelling concoction of honey, vanilla, cinnamon, banana, milk and olive oil. It was good enough to eat. Ankita had a bite and said if there is any left over, she would have it as dessert. The goo was put in my hair, rubbed into my scalp and I was asked to sit quietly and pretend to listen to music. They couldn’t find any spa music so they decided on ambient sounds that are plentiful and really relaxing at night in the ashram. Besides, you don’t need a music system or a play list.
I sat smelling deliciously of cupcakes, slowly getting cravings for pastries and cinnamon bread. Meanwhile I was given a pedicure by Ankita. She said my feet were softer than her hands and went thru the motions of putting whatever foot cream she could lay her hands on.
The real drama began once the 45 minutes were up. I was ceremoniously escorted into the bathroom, made to sit on a stool, asked to bend over and warm water was gently sloshed on my head with the aim of washing out the cake mix.
A bit of it came out. A lot of it didn’t.
The gentle sloshing intensified.
Some more of the goo reluctantly left my tresses. Quite a bit of it resolutely stuck on. The banana bits had got well and truly tangled into my hair. No amount of water was dislodging them.
I was told to relax and close my eyes, as a distressed whispered conference happened a few inches above my head. They all decided that next time, they would whirr the bananas in a mixie before putting it into the hair. Meanwhile, I was still hunched over with someone pouring water and trying to tease stubborn bits of banana out.
We should put lemon. Dandruff comes out with lemon, surely so will the banana.
Shall we put in some curd and see what happens?
Let’s just put a lot of shampoo…
In a few minutes, I had soapy banana bits, soaking in luxurious lather. Water managed to get the lather out. The banana bits just got well shampooed.
Then some of Upasana’s neurons made a few wild connections with some half forgotten dendrites, and she suddenly exclaimed let’s use conditioner and a comb. Conditioner was liberally massaged into the hair. Then slowly and carefully, my hair was combed down with a fine toothed comb and the banana bits finally bid adieu to my head. After this, they left me to shave and shower which I did and came out feeling gloriously warm and cuddly.
Amazingly, I lost hardly any hair and when everything was done, my hair felt like a dream. Soft and wavy and smooth and silky. The spa succeeded beyond all expectations! It was really a fantastic birthday gift!!
Dinesh was with Gurudev and I refused to start my birthday without him. He came back from Gurudev around 1 am. Then we did Guru Pooja. A lovely meditative Pooja, followed by Ganesha’s aarti, followed by the Devi Kavacham that Bhanu didi has sung so melodiously in her CD Cosmic Resonance. We all slipped into a twilight of meditation and sleep, enveloped in the warm glow of love that everyone was feeling for everyone.
Then as we came out of that scrumptious state of Being, Kamesh said there was cake on the terrace. And so, everyone trooped put onto the terrace, and I cut my birthday cake which was incidentally made right before me and stored in the fridge as I was having dinner that night at Café Vishala. Loud singing, even louder laughter happened as everyone tucked into that really tasty cake and soon just one piece was left.
Gowri points to a huge carton and says bau open your birthday gift. I said why have you guys got such a HUGE box for an iPad Pro? (Hint, Hint!) … I cut the tape open and out jumped Abhi! He had a party popper in his hand that refused to pop as he shouted Happy Birthday BAUUUUUU!!!!
What a fantastic surprise!! The popper finally popped showering all of us with confetti and good wishes. Then I realized that abhi had been taped into the carton for over 2 hours. He had a pillow with him and said he even went to sleep for a while. The loud singing was to wake him up. He had the last piece of cake.
What a fabulous start to a year. This is precisely how birthdays should be. Full of crazy surprises, wonderful food, heartfelt love and the best of friends!! Thank you very much to everyone who planned this wild and whacky birthday for me, and to all of you who wished me and made my day so very special!! You guys totally rock!
PS Dinesh wrote a poem for me – It’s on his facebook page – Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/dineshghodke