Nonsensical Notion of Celebrating Your Birthday
When I was grade 7, we had a science teacher by the name of Mr. LRP [Our school preferred to use the initials for instance Ganesh Prasad Sharma used to be called GPS lol] who had this really cool vibe around him. He had absolutely no problem making fun of his peers and he used to bring out these hilarious stories of Mr.DLJ aka dhobi (Head of Annapurna House at that time) on to the table and we would graciously gobble up the whole thing in one swing. There were even times when he used to invite us over to his apartment and lay out some his stories while we relaxed on his sofa. Pretty rare thing for 13 year olds.
So when we realized that a certain day was his birthday, we all went to wish him well. While we had a hidden agenda in doing so (of course, we wanted the stories to keep flowing), we also genuinely felt a need to do so. After all, he was the coolest amongst a very boring line of science educators.
When we did so though, we realized that he wasn’t particularly happy about the whole deal. His first reaction was “How the f**k did you find out?” Ok he didn’t exactly use the f word but I am sure he meant it.
We had our sources, we said. He looked at us with his bored eyes and sighed. “One thing you will notice kids,” he said, “when you grow up to be someone older, you wish someone wouldn’t remind you that you are one step closer to your end.” How philosophical, we thought. It didn’t make sense to us at all. Birthdays were a time when everyone got to cheer and jeer for you, got you presents you had always dreamt of and most of all, the cakes. Lots and lots of them. Oh well, we thought, we might just have to wait and see.
Well, it took some time but I do see the logic behind it now. Birthdays are dull as hell and it keeps reminding you that you did absolutely nothing productive throughout the year and the year ahead is not going to be any different. That you are going to be old, and sad and indifferent to the world around you, that every bone in the world will crumble and perish back into earth where the floras and faunas are going to feast upon you as you did throughout your life.
I feel bad about stealing the line from Neil Degrasse Tyson but there you go, my paranoid self.
Pass me the drink, will you?