It feels awesome when your friends, family and acquaintances joins you to celebrate your birthday or send their wishes/cards on your day. Although it’s not common in the society where I grew up, yet I have been lucky enough to celebrate my day with different type of people at different places; especially during past few years since I’m serving in development sector.

I still remember my first amazing birthday celebration, when I joined Plan International on my birthday in 2011 and after a tiring day of project orientation my friends took me to a restaurant and gave me the surprise and year after year I celebrated it during working in the field with communities, traveling from one part to another to celebrate with my loved one and at field offices with my workmates.

2016 has been more than a lucky year for me, when I’m not only blessed with a world’s prestigious fellowship @ Atlas Corps but I’m also blessed with countless, amazing friends from all over the world and I have also had an extra blessing by God, which is a kind relation of a beautiful couple from Washington DC named Robert Morris and his wife Susanne; they both met me at Atlas Corps during my welcome dinner. Soon they sent me an invitation for dinner at their beautiful house and I never knew that I will be welcomed like a VIP until I saw the dinner table full of delicious food; decorated like a candle light dinner.

BirthdayThese both guys are kind enough that they treated me as if they are my parents, so that I feel like I’m their son. Their story is very interesting as they both served in Pakistan for few years during 1960s and they both met there and got married back in Washington DC. When they invited me for the second dinner at their house, I was in Pakistan on a short trip during my fellowship and I told them that I will be more than happy to be at their house for dinner because it was on October 24th which is my birthday and when they knew it, they told me they will arrange my birthday celebration as well.

Whenever someone visits us especially in Sindh (my beloved province in Pakistan) we have to give traditional Ajrak (shawl) to the guest as a gift, but at that time I was traveling from Sindh back to United States so fulfilling my traditional promise I brought beautiful traditional Ajrak (shawl), Sindhi Topi (cap) and a Chunri (famous scarf for women) for my beloved American parents.

I arrived just 2 days prior to my “Birthday Candle Light Dinner”, although I was jetlagged but I could never miss the great and unforgettable moment of my life so I went to my parent’s house and met them. My mom (Susanne) served us the delicious organic food that she always preferred and dad (Bob) helped her organize the “Birthday Candle Light Dinner”. I felt really honored while we celebrated my birthday and I still can feel the beautiful voices saying “Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to you, Happpppy Birthday Dear Abid, Happpppy Birthday to you”.

This wasn’t just a dinner, nor just a birthday celebration but it was an emotional and loving moment for me that will be reminded at every birthday I will celebrate.

I just have few words for their company, kindness and love that they gave me, “Dear Mom and Dad I love you and I will miss you and would love to celebrate your birthdays and wedding anniversary, no matter where we live, our relation is beyond borders and beyond any differences, stay blessed, happy, healthy and young always”.