Thursday, January 21, 2010

Birthdays, just another day?

Another birthday came, and went.

During those few days before the birthday arrives, I invariably feel a gradual ascent of this inexplicable uneasiness in me; some sort of fear that puffs up from a usually unnoticed corner of the mind. What if this birthday is as ordinary as many of the other birthdays which came and went? Heart hopes something special will happen, while the head negates it. And, as it happens, the head wins - well, most of the times! As the day begins, moves through the hours and finally makes way for the evening, I realize with a tinge of sadness and some relief that this birthday will also be lost in the crowd of so many similar birthdays; I will have nothing special to remember it by.

Perhaps it is better that way. Those outnumbered instances of 'extraordinary' birthdays bring back lovely memories, but leaves the saddening realization that those cannot be brought back. They are held in some kind of suspended animation, never to be put into motion any more. Special birthdays are frozen in the backdrop of time, along with the inanimate objects and living beings who surrounded me on those particular days. Many of those objects don't exist any more; many from people who were around me have either departed or had been lost in the alleyways of life. But, the mind - by some unknown mechanism of its own - freezes them in snapshots of time, which are wonderfully vivid. I search for an old 'me' in those snapshots. A little thinner, less paunchier, more innocent and more excitable me! I try to make out if that 'me' in the snapshot was any happier than the 'me' of today. Perhaps he was, perhaps he was not. Difficult to say, really.

But one thing is sure: a birthday reminds me that for one whole year since its predecessor came and went, life hasn't deserted me. It brought happiness to me; it threw unhappiness to me; it excited me; it despaired me; it gave me what I didn't expect; it deprived me of what I thought was rightfully mine; it made me cry, it made me smile; but it didn't leave me.

Now, isn't that a wonderful feeling? Here, looking forward to the next birthday!

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