Poet and thinker-extraordinaire Javed Akhtar’s 73rd birthday on 17 January was brought in with cosy family dinner organized by his wife Shabana Azmi.
And no , there was no cake- cutting. Not until the next night.
Says Shabana, “I’m dead against the colonial hangover of cutting cake. Traditionally hamare yahan ladoo bante jaate thay. Javedtucked into mishti doi which was specially flown down for him fromKolkata. To bring in his birthday there were only 10 people for dinner. The next night it’s about 30 -35 odd friends and he will have to cut the inevitable cakes that friends bring. Lots of youngsters who adore him. All the food he likes: biryani ,paya ,kabab, nihari, lamb chops. Ours is a pure non veg table.To the vegetarians we can only offer mirchi kasalan ,palak paneer and dahi wada with our condolences!! Jadu lives for meetha vanilla icecream makes him believe there must be a heaven, gulab jamun, qubani ka meetha, moong dal ka halwa and gilefirdaus .. so he will get all of that today.”
Adds Javed with a chuckle, “Shabana can’t cook. But she is very good at organizing parties and tucking into the food after it is ready. But on a serious note, I want to thank all those friends and well-wishers who have been with me all these years.The time has just flown by. I don’t feel my age until someone points it out to me.”
Javed saab reveals the secret of staying young. “I surround myself with young people. They bring a freshness and enthusiasm with them that I find very encouraging. The future of our nation is in safe hands.”