Thursday, August 17, 2006
I used to love this day of the year. It was more exciting than Christmas morning when I could let out a sigh of relief knowing that I had been in Santa’s good books. There is nothing like Christmas but there is a totally different anticipation when your birthday approaches. I used to look forward to my birthday. I am sure everyone did when they were young and without worries but I think the whole idea of birthdays change, as you grow old. Every kid loves that day, because that day you become the cynosure of all eyes. The most coveted piece of the cake was the big pink sugar rose that would make every kids salivate as you paraded around sucking it slowly. I remember once when my brother got a Nintendo Gameboy on my birthday. I was devastated. My brand-new “frock” with pink ribbons and lace, the big pink sugar rose on my cake and my presents did not interest me any more. All I could do was stare at that Nintendo that my brother was holding and playing Contra. I cried my little heart out until I could not resist cutting my cake and opening my presents. It used to be so easy to soothe one’s tears away with simple things like “My First” Barbie. But over the years nothing has really changed. Birthdays are still a day of anticipation but in a different way. It no longer has a child’s excitement. You realise you are getting older, and that things are not getting any simpler. Birthdays do get spoilt but it’s harder to wipe away the betrayal and tears. Why, I have nursed some of my friends’ heart on their birthdays because they got dumped or that nobody remembered their birthdays. There are no longer grape juice and innocent games of passing the parcel or musical chairs. It seems to be an excuse to get drunk so that you can forget the fact that you are getting closer to your first grey hair or the first wrinkle or both. Or so that you can bear some of the people in your party that you detest but had to invite them because of some random reason that made sense to invite them. Children are so easy to appease with some balloons, streamers and party hats that could make all the children play with each other but as you get older things get more complicated. There will definitely be at least three to four cliques in each corner of the room; there will be tepid conversations being dropped here and there. Nobody will arrive on time, and they would leave after freeloading on your drinks and food to go to another event. Even though you have worn all your new clothes and feel really good in them, that confidence will slowly deteriorate. Skinnier girls will fuss about how fat they are and then you start to feel really uncomfortable in your own skin and party. Sometimes I forget how old I am and I have to do some addition and subtraction in my head. When I was younger and some aunt or uncle would say, “So, you’re six now,” I would answer back in my most adult voice and correct them saying, “I am seven.” You would want to make your list as long as possible because that meant you would get more presents but there is now inverse relationship between the length of the list and your age. As you grow older you want your list to be as short as possible, with people that you actually want to be with and not because of some social etiquettes so that you don’t affront anyone. Birthdays are a day of mixed emotions, somewhere the little kid inside of you still love the whole notion of cakes, balloons and being the belle of the party. Maybe the next birthday I will do that. Make it an intimate affair and just do silly things and be uninhibited to celebrate how a birthday should be. To come in terms with another beginning and celebrate life.