Two days from now I will turn a year older. I am not quite happy. This was not so when I was a child. Back in time, birthdays was the best time. You were made to feel so special. I always felt that my usually strict parents went out of their way to make my day memorable one. The day would begin with Ma waking me up with birthday wishes and kisses. I would touch the feet of Baba after he hugged and gave me his blessings for a happy birthday. The phone would ring a lot that day. I would look forward to my brother’s call who was away from home. Both of us had a shared love for alu posto, a Bengali delicacy prepared out of poppy seeds. I took vicious joy in narrating out the special lunch Ma had prepared for me. As soon as his groans would convince me that I had succeeded in irritating him, I was a happy soul. Somehow that day he never put up a fight. I had the birthday benefit.
After I joined college, it became difficult to be back home for birthday. Internal tests for the first semester were scheduled in the month of August making it difficult to make any travel plans. Phone call was the only connection to home. There was no celebration, just the weekend trip to Naga Richu with my friends where we gorged on momos, thukpa and mokthuk. There was always a hope that it would change as soon as I started work; I could plan my leave, apply well in advance and be home for the day. My plan did work out quite well; I spent a few birthdays at home in the company of my parents who were thrilled to have me back. It was always a short trip on a long weekend, for which I was ever ready to brave the back-breaking 16 hour journey in a bus from Chennai. It was like a sacred rule, birthdays were meant to be spent with family.
The picture has changed quite a bit since last year. I got married and among other new things have a new address. This one is a lot more than 16 hours away from home. In fact, we don’t even have same time zone anymore. That far. Somehow the idea of celebrating my birthday doesn’t seem to exciting anymore.