I think birthdays are just overrated crap.
I mean they do make a difference in our lives (yeah right! Listen to the Loser speak) but only on the extreme ends of the X-axis. I think I have crossed the one on the left hand side and I am now cruising along towards the phase where birthdays are just numbers you need to fill up in immigration forms and type in when you forget the password to the email account you abandoned long back so that Spam could take over.
When we look at the open sky with a million shimmering stars at night, it kind of makes us realize that this whole thing about getting older is all hogwash. It is another thing that it is a bit difficult to find an open starry sky in July so the process becomes tough to execute.
When I was about five, I used to start marking the calendar with a red sketch pen from the 1st of July and irritate Aai with the same questions everyday. “ Have you invited all my friends?” “ Are we going to get the Mickey Mouse cake?” “ Did you tell your boss that you need a day off?”
On my birthday, my mom used to make me learn how to tell my age.
“ I am five complete and running six” and I used to repeat that line to people who didn’t even ask me my age.
We used to trudge a few sludgy, slushy miles looking for the perfect birthday dress while all along my mother stifled my Fantasies with her rainy Realities.
Then there was a time when all of us in school desperately wanted to turn sixteen and get a two-wheeler license. I remember how we envied people who were born in April and May back then, for they got their license before the first day of junior college and could ride to college as “cool freshers” on brand new bikes.
Just two years later we had our “I-am-eighteen-now-I-know-what-I-am-doing” birthdays. I still remember how mad my best friend Ameya had been when she realized that I used my first vote ever for the Congress and to her dismay, my vote really did turn into the Government!
I made it through a lot of war stories as a teenager just because I happen to share my birthday with Earnest Hemingway. I must confess I am not yet grown up enough to understand Hemingway. So there is still hope. ;)
My granddad is on the right hand extreme now. He is eighty-five and has ambitions of making it to the other side of a century. So every year on 7th June, my bright, intelligent and witty grandfather cuts the cake with a booming, all encompassing laughter! Then there comes an elaborate lecture on everything he does to stay so young at eighty-five. It covers everything from Yoga to practicing detachment from the world. I have actually learnt Detachment trying to detach myself from these lectures and still look really interested on the outside!
I guess henceforth I will just deny my birthday. That is an easier option.
I know for sure that I wont grow old into one of those deceptively aging women. When you ask them their age (yeah after having swallowed all the chivalry and politeness you ever possessed) they raise only one of their artistically carved eyebrows and ask you back, “ How old do you think I am?” and when you go off about ten years on the wrong side, they hit you with a frying pan!
I will probably turn into the kinds that my mom is. Every time anyone asks her how old she is, her eyeballs go up against her forehead and she mutters, “ Hmmph! September 1958” and begins to count. Most of the times she ends up adding a couple of years to her actual age and finally answers, “ I am about fifty now” and gets on with her business. :)
I tried telling myself that it’s not so bad after all. You cannot be 23 all your life!
There are so many people who are much older and happier than you are! Some of the trees on our farm back in Kolhapur are older than me. The Earth is so old and yet so young! Some of the stars are so old and faraway that they are already dead but we still see them!
It doesn’t work.
So from now on it is my strategy to ignore my birthday. Like a typically henpecked husband can see through his nagging wife and watch football in the same room, I will see through my birthday. I will keep a low profile all month long, so people don’t pay much attention to me and eventually forget to ask me how it feels to be thirty or forty-two. So that even I forget it and do not feel bad about the fact that I haven’t as yet rode on even one of those really wild and scary rides they have in Disney Land!