Good evening, kind ladies and gents
We hope your evening so far has been well-spent.
For today, we celebrate a dear one through laughter, dance and song
As we revisit her unique journey, 60 years long.
What do we know the year 1962 for?
Wikipedia tells me it’s for the first Sino-Indian war!
Skirmishes over the border in late September, flared up and led to fighting,
In the midst of the national drama, however, the day of October 7 saw an angel alighting.
Beautiful little baby Harleen was born to overjoyed parents Jasbir and Daljit,
With a gentle disposition, cute looks and different eye colours – making her truly unique!
Older brother Mandeep, Abu to some, was only a year and a half then
Which is perhaps why these siblings became steadfast friends.
“She is Cookie…” he said, naming her after their next-door neighbour,
And by this moniker she came to be known, living up to its sweetness without much labour
Baby Ruby completed the family and from the start, both sisters were prone to laughing fits,
The smallest things, which others may not find special, often had them falling to bits
Age, time and the demands of life may have forged separate paths for all three,
But they have been each other’s rock-solid support through the toughest times undoubtedly.
Though siblings are important, cousins too play a big role in one’s early years,
They are the keepers of secrets and willing partners in giggles and tears
Madhu echoes the rest when she calls Cookie more friend than sister,
Caring, sensitive, compassionate, and always full of positivity, is how she describes her
Ripu puts it best – a cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost,
And little Cookie was blessed in this department with over thirty cousins in her lot!
Her amiable personality also meant she attracted plenty of friends,
Those from Springdales School especially have stuck around through life’s bends
Her school years were fun, easy for the most part, till her mother’s untimely demise,
Yet her quick acceptance of responsibility only proved that adversity makes one rise
Before long, it was time for college, and this beauty with brains easily made it to LSR,
History was her chosen subject, but her flair for fashion was evident to all near and far
Her friends from college – Ruhi and the gang – remember her for her style and elegance
And her presence in the ups and downs of their lives as a beacon, sturdy and steadfast.
Romance came calling soon after college, when a young suitor dropped in for tea
From the word go, Hardeep was smitten with the ‘charismatic’ Cookie
A whirlwind courtship – complete with songs sung in parks – led to a fairy-tale wedding,
She was the first to marry among her peers – as always, the one leading!
A relationship based on love and attraction is likely to succeed,
But one based on commitment and companionship stands the test of time indeed
That is something Harleen and Hardeep have proved well
In over 36 years of marriage, with many a story to tell
Where he loves to travel, she’s a bit of a homebird,
Where she has multiple groups, he prefers to stick with his own herd
She is creative and stylish, he is logical and practical,
Yet they complete each other in a way that is rare and magical
But as we all know, marriage isn’t only a bond between two
It is a communion between families and friend circles too
When Harleen got married, she gained new parents, sisters, and many a niece,
Who, in Chutki’s words, are still as much in awe of her now as they were at age six!
Along with a loving new family, she also made new friends,
Young couples who together learnt to navigate marriage and early parenthood trends
From Neelu who admires her knack for all things art and design,
to bestie Roohi who calls her their group’s glamorous and oh-so-proper Lady Di!
Punita says Harleen is like part of her family,
A caring, thoughtful human who on occasion, can also be fun and naughty!
Perhaps the biggest change in life however, came with the children,
First Noor, then Anhad, propelling Harleen to a new phase – intimidating but also fun
She led them through childhood, teenage angst and the demands of adulthood
Innately sensing their needs, offering a helping hand, shoulder to cry on or just yum food!
With time, her family grew to include her son-in-law and now grandchild,
New roles she took on as if she was made for them all the while.
As a tireless matriarch, she offers her opinions with abandon,
Even in some cases, to the chagrin of her loved ones
Yet this also makes her the first person we turn to for advice
On every issue, whether trivial, life-changing, long-winded or needed in a trice
In fact, when Anhad calls her a true-blue Punjabi mother, he hits the nail on the head,
She dotes on her close ones with all her heart, unconditionally with inhibitions shed.
Her nieces agree, Ragini applauds her for being happy in other peoples’ happiness
And Mallika credits her with helping to raise her to be the best version of herself.
Dedicated to her family she certainly is, yet she is also a talented designer of couture
With nearly 35 years in the profession, label Harleen Anand is one to reckon with for sure!
She is also known as a brilliant cook, especially of her own type of Khao Suey
And a generous hostess par excellence whose doors are always open, if I may so say
Stylish, gorgeous at every age with never a hair out of place,
Harleen certainly is the very epitome of grace.
And now as we celebrate her 60th birthday,
A long, healthy and happy life for her is what we pray
Because dearest Mumma, Cookie, Harleen, Nani, no words (or rhymes!) are enough to
Describe how much we all truly LOVE YOU!!
For my mother’s 60th birthday, I requested her loved ones – family and friends – to send in messages for her. With those messages, I pieced together and wrote this poem on her life. The poem and all the messages were also included in a book, which was then gifted to her. I do hope you enjoyed reading this little creative writing exercise of mine!
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