It comes once a year for everyone and passes by in a flash. I have always wondered about this day and its significance in our lives. It’s the day we were all born, our Birthdays.
What’s it about Birthdays that makes the world go round? Do we really care about Birthdays or has the pressure of society made this occasion bigger than what it should be? More so, why was Happy even added as a permanent pre-fix. Why not Wise Birthday? Sexy Birthday? Or Vintage Single Malt Birthday? Elusive as she is, happiness is too much of an expectation. Why put this extra pressure on day by declaring to all and sundry that this day cannot be anything except “Happy” !!
For some it’s a day they look forward to; for some it’s a day that brings back melancholic memories apart from the fact that you’re growing older, balder et al. For some it’s a day of partying and for some it’s a day of no fuss. For me it has always been a day where I have wanted to give partying a miss, just sit back and be myself. However, seldom have I succeeded. Call it peer pressure or the inability to say no to loved ones, I have always ended up either throwing a party or going out for one, the only exception being my 40th when I took off alone to Istanbul to bring it in.And at these parties that I have thrown the question is ask is ..how is actually celebrating ??.. Me for being alive another year ..or everyone around for the fact that I was born J ..in a nutshell ,who is paying for it !!
Birthdays get more and more complex as we grow older. The more years that we have been here the more memories we collect, all varying in intensity and enormity. These memories, mostly of people who’ve entered and exited our lives, are carefully stacked away. Birthdays do the honors of pulling open the floodgates to this deluge. All it takes is a message, a call or a birthday wish from someone to trigger off this downpour of memories you’d prefer to keep away from on any given day. These people who were once an integral part of your life are more often than not no longer around.
It’s sweet that for me and I’m sure most of us, our mothers still believe that we wake up at 7 in the morning because that’s the time she calls to wish me a happy birthday. The calls don’t stop. The messages keep coming one after the other. It was easier when there was just one form of communication, which was the telephone. People called you, you thanked them for the wishes, bantered on for a few wasted minutes and that was the end of it. But in this world of social media, you are bombarded with wishes from every possible line of communication. God help you if you feel obligated to reply to all of them personally. You’d spend your entire day doing only that.
Its not about who all wished, but sometimes its about those who didn’t and the questions on why they didn’t. Did they forget MY birthday? Are they upset? When day gets over and in our mental excel sheet we make a list of who called and who didn’t ..is it true that the pleasure of people calling and wishing us is overtaken by the dampner that envelopes us when we make a list of those who didn’t ??
Every year you will have some new people, seasonal friends if I may call them, who will join the party that wishes you and then go away the next year. If you are doing well and life has been kind to you, strangers will wish you on your birthday and if things are not going well, that list will diminish. As a famous film maker told me once, the measure of your success in Bollywood can be measured by the amount of flowers you get on your Birthday until the day the flowers will stop coming. Another fday when we are smacked right in the face with our professional standing in life J
For some people I know, as for myself, birthdays are also a time to get in touch with your mortality. In your youth you never question it. But once you get older its almost like the clock is ticking backwards and not forward, a year less, like a countdown. And every year you knock off another year
So whats the big deal about Birthdays ??
I don’t know the answers, but as I get older, more questions will arise. I guess it’s a way of justifying my resistance to this futile practice of counting years. Everyday should be a re-birth, friends shouldn’t be seasonal and hey ..who ever needed a reason to party?
So Happy Birthday to me J