These days I stay up late writing my thesis which is pretty much engrossing but every night at the stroke of 12 as if by some inner programming I start thinking whether it’s someone’s birthday and I ought to wish them. I never quite care to stay up late in order to wish someone but since anyway I am staying up late, I start to think about birthdays. Sadly none this far!
Now this trigger of thought had me meandering about birthdays and their significance as one grows steadily older.
As a kid birthdays are anticipated with much gusto right from the day the New Year dawns and I being somewhere in the last months have to wait a bit longer. The wait makes it all the more delightful. The joy of a new dress plus the cake plus the gifts used to be the highlight of the year and I actually looked forward to getting older. I remember proudly announcing: “I am five today!” Whoa, so much for aging.
Then came the teens -- the days of falling-in-love and out-of-love. Birthdays were special but not so much as when one was four or five. Teens were times for friends and only friends. This was the time of greeting-cards and presents like nail-polish, stationery, etc.
The first few years of the twenties were full of fiery idealism. Birthdays were only celebrated by the bourgeoisie, I argued. It was just an adding of years, so what the big fuss. In fact I used to condemn anyone who chided me for not wishing on their birthday. I wished only a couple of them and would never utter “Happy Birthday.” I just muttered a “Have a great year ahead.” The wishing at 12 was there sometimes and not there most of the times. I personally did not like to be wished for I thought it was just a formality people adhere to.
The last of the twenties, I struck a balance. Relationships were indeed important and so wishing on a birthday made the other person feel nice and good. I started thinking about the others. Finally.
And today standing at thirty, I am much the same as the last of the twenties. I do wish people at 12, if I remember and am awake. I take time to count my years and feel that in this world where tomorrow is not sure, it feels lovely to add another year to one’s life. Birthdays are no long bourgeoisie, it’s a reason to feel gratitude and warm about the milestones crossed.
And all this began when the clock struck 12!!!
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