50/100. Goals. And achievements. Milestones. And markers. Ordinary, everyday ones. Moments that define us, minutes that defy us, and the months that drift by us.

My son turning eight and me hitting the halfway mark for the pact – both ordinary, everyday events yet both milestones and achievements and cause for celebration. And celebrate we did.

I’ll take you back six months to a day when my son asked me about the Virgo birthstone – peridot – and how many peridot earrings I had. To my surprise, he was visibly hurt that I had only one peridot earring in my quite sizeable collection… Striving quite unsuccessfully for nonchalance, he asked me why I did not like peridot. I told him that I liked it very much indeed. Just that it was one of the rarer semi-precious stones and not always available. He didn’t quite believe me and a few minutes later, asked if I would get a peridot something for myself on my birthday… I said I would – but for his birthday, not mine. We looked up what peridot stands for and we found that it is a stone of protection and cleansing, supposed to help one stay clear of people with negative energy or influence and believed to increase assertiveness and independence. Well, there was no doubt that we need as much peridot power as we could get. This started the hunt for a peridot earring within my very modest budget.

This proved elusive. In the course of my forays online, I came upon this apple-green/peridot coloured tee with an ‘8’ design on it which seemed the perfect one for his birthday. Then, about two months later, I chanced upon this Balarampuram cotton saree in an unusual, bright green. I had no idea what a Balarampuram saree was but the colour was perfectly peridot – a fall-back option if I did not find that earring. A little research told me that Balarampuram cottons are another name for Kasavu sarees since Balarampuram is the main hub where these ivory-and-gold beauties are woven. And the saree I had ordered was a rare kind indeed – a dyed Kasavu. Most probably, it had been dyed because it was flawed in some way but that didn’t matter – it served my purpose.

So, mummy’s saree was delivered and matched sonny boy’s tee beautifully. But the hunt for the peridot earring wasn’t abandoned. Then I found it – THE earring. A golden hoop with an elephant swinging from it – and peridots encrusted on the elephant’s howdah. And it was perfect – not just because of the peridot but because of the elephant.

You see, this year, my promise to myself and to my son was to try and be more of an elephant mom than a lioness mom. To not just fend for him and fight for him but frolic with him as well. To take the time out to play with him. Like elephant moms do.

So here we are. He in his peridot tee and me in my peridot saree. With the peridot elephant bearing witness to my promise to him. And to round it all off with beautiful aptness – the fact that his birthday coincided with the last hours of Onam – a perfect day to wear a Kerala saree.

So, here’s wishing my baby a happy birthday. And just so you all know, I am working hard at polishing up my Scrabble skills. And my chess and my Ludo and my Mastermind ones. After all, I only promised to play with him, not to lose to him, did I? 😊

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